Variety Critics Pick Their Oscar Nominees

Film critics, we’re often told, don’t vote for the Oscars — but if they did, here’s what at least three of their nomination ballots might look like. We listed our top five choices for best director, actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, original/adapted screenplay and cinematography. For best picture, we allowed ourselves 10 choices, based on the unlikely but theoretically possible outcome of 10 nominees in that category.

Because we chose from the full spectrum of studio, independent and foreign-language films released in the U.S. in 2015, it’s exceedingly unlikely that our selections will match or even resemble whatever the Academy comes up with on Jan. 15. And a good thing, too. Quality doesn’t limit itself to those movies with the marketing dollars to support a full-fledged Oscar campaign, and there are any number of worthy films and performances that Academy members — who are in the business of making movies, not watching and evaluating them — simply don’t have the time or the inclination to see. Where awards-giving bodies seek consensus, it’s our hope that these choices will instead spark your curiosity.

JUSTIN CHANG

BEST PICTURE
“The Assassin”
“Brooklyn”
Carol
“Girlhood”
“Inside Out”
“The Look of Silence”
Mad Max: Fury Road
“Phoenix”
Spotlight
“The Tribe”

BEST DIRECTOR
Todd Haynes, “Carol
Hou Hsiao-hsien, “The Assassin”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road
Celine Sciamma, “Girlhood”
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, “The Tribe”

BEST ACTOR
Jason Bateman, “The Gift”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Mississippi Grind”
Geza Rohrig, “Son of Saul”

BEST ACTRESS
Nina Hoss, “Phoenix”
Shu Qi, “The Assassin”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
Oscar Isaac, “Ex Machina”
Liev Schreiber, “Spotlight
Jason Segel, “The End of the Tour”
Ben Vereen, “Time Out of Mind”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rose Byrne, “Spy”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Cynthia Nixon, “James White”
Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
Mya Taylor, “Tangerine”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Asghar Farhadi, “About Elly”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, “Inside Out”
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America”
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn”
Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott, “Chi-Raq”
Donald Margulies, “The End of the Tour”
Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Mark Lee Ping-bing, “The Assassin”
Ed Lachman, “Carol”
Dan Laustsen, “Crimson Peak”
John Seale, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Sean Baker and Radium Cheung, “Tangerine”

PETER DEBRUGE

BEST PICTURE
“The Duke of Burgundy”
“Inside Out”
“The Martian”
“Mustang”
“Son of Saul”
“Spotlight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Steve Jobs”
“Tangerine”
“While We’re Young”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “Tangerine”
Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen, “Inside Out”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Laszlo Nemes, “Son of Saul”
Ridley Scott, “The Martian”

BEST ACTOR
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Ian McKellen, “Mr. Holmes”
Ben Mendelsohn, “Mississippi Grind”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”
Geza Rohrig, “Son of Saul”

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis, “Lila & Eve”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Bel Powley, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, “Tangerine”
Lily Tomlin, “Grandma”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jonny Beauchamp, “Stonewall”
Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
Bernard Pruvost, “Li’l Quinquin”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Jacob Tremblay, “Room”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, “Cinderella”
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “Anomalisa”
Samantha Morton, “The Harvest”
Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
Julie Walters, “Brooklyn”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley, “Inside Out”
Laszlo Nemes and Clara Royer, “Son of Saul”
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, “Spotlight”
Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch, “Tangerine”
Noah Baumbach, “While We’re Young”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Charlie Kaufman, “Anomalisa”
Marielle Heller, “The Diary of a Teenage Girl”
Drew Goddard, “The Martian”
Jesse Andrews, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
Emma Donoghue, “Room”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nicholas D. Knowland, “The Duke of Burgundy”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”
Roger Deakins, “Sicario”
Matyas Erdely, “Son of Saul”
Sean Baker and Radium Cheung, “Tangerine”

GUY LODGE

BEST PICTURE
“Carol”
“Eden”
“45 Years”
“Girlhood”
“Joy”
“The Look of Silence”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Magic Mike XXL”
“’71”
“The Tribe”

BEST DIRECTOR
Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Celine Sciamma, “Girlhood”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Kornel Mundruczo, “White God”

BEST ACTOR
Jason Bateman, “The Gift”
Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
Tom Courtenay, “45 Years”
Felix de Givry, “Eden”
Tom Hardy, “Legend”

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Dakota Johnson, “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Alicia Vikander, “Testament of Youth”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Pierre-Yves Cardinal, “Tom at the Farm”
Bradley Cooper, “Joy”
Oscar Isaac, “Ex Machina”
Richard Jenkins, “Bone Tomahawk”
Peter Sarsgaard, “Black Mass”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rose Byrne, “Spy”
Marion Cotillard, “Macbeth”
Viola Davis, “Blackhat”
Andie MacDowell, “Magic Mike XXL”
Jada Pinkett Smith, “Magic Mike XXL”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
S. Craig Zahler, “Bone Tomahawk”
Mia Hansen-Love and Sven Hansen-Love, “Eden”
Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America”
Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, “The Tribe”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Charlie Kaufman, “Anomalisa”
Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
Andrew Haigh, “45 Years”
Juliette Towhidi, “Testament of Youth”
Xavier Dolan and Michel Marc Bouchard, “Tom at the Farm”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ed Lachman, “Carol”
Ali Olay Gozkaya, “Futuro Beach”
Steven Soderbergh (as Peter Andrews), “Magic Mike XXL”
Tat Radcliffe, “’71”
Sturla Brandth-Grovlen, “Victoria”

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