Well, the nominations actually held few outside the box choices in the end, but there was the usual amount of grumbling to contend with. We'll start with outrageous snubs first.
- The return of #OscarSoWhite. Yup, for the second year in a row, the Academy put out a list of zero non-white acting nominations. And it's not like they had no options- Idris Elba had been a strong contender for Beasts of No Nation, Straight Outta Compton had a fine ensemble cast that boasted a great supporting performance from newcomer Jason Mitchell, and then there was Michael B. Jordan in Creed, who was snubbed two years ago for Fruitvale Station. He could have replaced Eddie Redmayne or Bryan Cranston, come on, guys. Not to mention Will Smith, who failed to get in for Concussion, and Benicio Del Toro, who was so amazing in Sicario. What to make of this? Well, the demographics of the Academy remain impossible to break through apparently- over 90 percent of them are old, white and male, and they just don't seem to think outside their own worldview, probably not even seeing many of these films. But I'm gonna say here that critics should not be left off the hook- they rallied around Mad Max this year and their efforts paid off big time, but no such group effort took off to put some minority contenders in voter's faces, from films like what I mentioned, and indies like Tangerine. The whole industry is to blame here, along with a system that routinely offers hardly any roles for people of color at all and especially women. It remains a sad situation that sees no real change, year after year.
- Ridley Scott getting skunked for The Martian. Not sure what to make of that, really- many thought he had a chance to win, but now the veteran slot belongs to George Miller, who can maybe pull off an upset. I guess the directors just don't like Scott that much?
- Aaron Sorkin snubbed for his Steve Jobs screenplay- that was a real shocker to me. I expected Tarantino to be rejected this year, but Steve Jobs had pretty much gotten in everywhere except the Scripter, which foretold this I guess. It's too bad- definitely one of the best scripts of the year, but at least they didn't kick out the female screenwriters this time, like they did last year with Gillian Flynn and Gone Girl.
- Since they liked Room so much, I'm surprised they didn't nominate Jacob Tremblay, who really carried that movie, one of the strongest child performances in film history, in my opinion. I wonder if they just couldn't bring themselves to place him in lead, since he really was never a supporting performance at the end of the day.
- Carol left out of Picture/Director, but gets six below the line nominations. This is another problem with the Academy demographics- they've never responded to Todd Haynes movies, no matter what, aside from the performances. He probably will not be recognized from them unless he makes a movie someday about straight, white men, which...yeah. Don't count on it. He's no sellout.
- Charlotte Rampling makes it into Best Actress! Woo-hoo! She was so great in 45 Years and received nothing except some key critics wins- the Academy paid attention though, just like they did with Marion Cotillard last year. Good choice,but seriously- does Jennifer Lawrence really deserve a fourth nomination in Best Actress for a mixed-negatively reviewed movie? Is she Meryl Streep now, just gets her name checked off by default? They could have gone with Lily Tomlin, Charlize Theron...
- Room's Lenny Abrahamson getting a Best Director nomination out of nowhere- he really didn't get any precursor love at all for that film, and it's just like the Academy director's branch to pluck out someone like that for recognition. That's a huge boost for the Irish filmmaker's career.
- Straight Outta Compton gets a Screenplay nomination- of course, that's cool and all, but couldn't they have nominated the movie too?
- Sly Stallone! Many had hoped, but since it was the sole nomination for Creed, and he's, you know, Stallone, it was never a sure thing. But now, and especially after that heartfelt and immediate standing ovation from the Golden Globes crowd the other day, I think he's winning this, don't you? It's the John Wayne in True Grit, "thank you for being you" award. And honestly, I loved him in Creed, so I don't really have a problem with it.
- The Academy does not ignore two female led films and nominates both Brooklyn, my second fave of the year, and Room, which also made my top ten list. Awesome.
- Fun fact: the Razzie nominated 50 Shades of Grey is also an Oscar nominated film now, and why the hell do these people keep nominating that god awful Sam Smith Bond song? Does the music branch not hear their own ears bleeding from the sounds of that mess? And now we have to hear it performed on the telecast? No, academy. Just no.