The Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards

Mad Max vs the world poster
It sure is.
Well, my heart was pounding for a minute there.

And now that the dust is settling, there’s a strange set of nominees to sift through. Because they didn’t quite do what I expected. And in a couple of cases…they did what no one expected.

Best Picture:

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

First off–IT’S IN! MAD MAX IS IN!

I knew it was happening, but I am so fucking relieved. This is the first time since…at least 2010 (with Inception) that my straight-up #1 film of the year was nominated. 12 Years a Slave came very close on my list in 2013, but this year…Max is #1 by a mile.

Now, as for this list…8 nominees again. I figured they’d go for 9. Too bad. I got 7 right, but I figured Carol would beat out Brooklyn. And I thought Sicario or Straight Outta Compton would be the 9th film. But I guess not. I figured Inside Out was iffy. And most of my long-shots remained just that.

Also–I knew Room was happening. That was one that most people seemed to have given up on.

I’ll say it right now–they need to go back to a fixed 10 nominees. Or a fixed 5, but really now. When it was 9 films it was one thing, but 8 is a weird number. And I feel like it’s the films which could use the Oscar boost the most which pay the price.

For fun, let’s rank the nominees based on my current rankings of the year’s films:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road (#1)
  • The Big Short (#3 – might bump this up to #2)
  • Bridge of Spies (#6)
  • The Revenant (#8)
  • The Martian (#10)
  • Brooklyn (#12)
  • Room (#17)
  • Spotlight (#31)

All told, not too bad. 4 **** films, 4 ***½ films, and only one I score below an 84 (the average score of these 8–86.125). Given the year, I’m not too upset.

My Score: 7/9

Best Director:

  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Pardon me whilst I shit myself.



Let me clear: I didn’t think this was the best direction of Scott’s career. And Abrahamson got in my good graces last year with Frank. But Scott made his best film in years, a film they liked enough to nominate for…quite a few awards. And Room is not as well-directed as Frank (though…I really should see it again)–or The Martian, for that matter. I rank Scott #8 and Abrahamson #18.

Pretty much every prognosticator on the planet got shafted there.

I also fucked up by not predicting McKay. I figured they’d overlook him in favor of Spielberg (who, in my opinion, did the slightly better directing job). But good for him. The man who made Anchorman is now an Oscar nominee.

So much for Todd Haynes. And Tom McCarthy’s TV-movie level craftsmanship reigns supreme (the Razzies didn’t nominate him for The Cobbler. Missed opportunity there).

But at least George Miller is here! And that’s all I really needed.

My Score: 3/5 (did anyone get 5/5?)

Best Actor:

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

I got this one perfectly. But I think everyone did. There wasn’t anyone else who had enough traction going in. I’d have liked to see Johnny Depp make a play for it, since I thought he was better than…everyone but Fassbender, actually. Strictly based on performance. Ian McKellen would’ve been even better, but that ship sailed long ago.

That said, no one here gets lower than #10 on my list. And it wasn’t a banner year for the category. So I can live with it.

My Score: 5/5

Best Actress:

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

So Charlotte Rampling got in after all. That’s nice. I was hoping Charlize would sneak on, but I think that was just because I love the film so much.

I knew Jennifer Lawrence was going to happen. And I knew they were bumping Vikander to Supporting (which, again, is bullshit). So…goody. They still have 4 of my top 6 on this list.

Assuming I can catch 45 Years, I’ll have actually seen all the Best Actress nominees going into the ceremony. Which would be nice, since I still haven’t seen the last two winners!

My Score: 4/5

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

No Idris Elba? Fuck you, too. #OscarsSoWhiteMarkII

And no Paul Dano. Which doesn’t really surprise me, but it disappoints me.

Also, Michael Shannon missed out, which fucks me over, but given the obscurity of his film, I’m not totally shocked.

Bale, Rylance, and Stallone were all predicted. Hardy was looking more and more likely. Ruffalo (still a vastly overpraised performance) was happening if they had liked the film a lot. Which they did. Whatever. Michael Keaton was much better.

Poor Jacob Tremblay. You nominate the film for Picture and Director and snub him? That’s bullshit. I’m guessing category issues cost him just enough votes to miss out.

My Score: 3/5

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Another perfect score!

Vikander is still a lead. Fuck you all. (She was also just a bit better in Ex Machina, but that’s another matter.) Too bad about Kristen Stewart.

Spotlight is looking pretty good right about now.

My Score: 5/5

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina 
  • Inside Out 
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton 


You snub Compton in Picture but nominate it here? That’s…weird.

Ex Machina is really cool to see. They went pretty heavy for the science fiction this year, which I’m all for.

Hateful Eight getting snubbed sucks, though. I thought Compton was the iffy one. But c’est la vie.

My Score: 4/5

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn 
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

No Aaron Sorkin. That pissed a few people off, I’m sure. Messed up my score.

Still…4 scripts in my top 6 for Adapted, and my #1 in Factually-Based Screenplay. No real complaints here.

And at least they got Carol here. I’m rooting for The Big Short, but I’m glad it got some recognition.

Room I knew was happening. I think people were on the fence about that one.

It’s a little strange to see The Martian here but not in Director.

Score: 4/5

Best Cinematography:

  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant 
  • Sicario


knew The Hateful Eight was happening. I knew it.

And some more Carol love. Which is richly deserved.

All told, I’m very happy with how this one turned out. Sad The Assassin got fucked over, but I think it was ineligible.

My Score: 5/5

Best Editing:

  • The Big Short
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant 
  • Spotlight 
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

They left off The Martian in favor of Star Wars. Oh, well.

I was dumb to predict Straight Outta Compton over The Revenant. That one is on me.

Spotlight being here says a lot. I think you have to consider it the favorite to win the big one. For now.

Anyway, they nominated my two favorite editing jobs of the year, so I’m not complaining.

My Score: 3/5

Best Production Design:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant 

Woah. I figured it would be either Brooklyn or Carol here…and it was neither. I’m guessing they cancelled each other out?

The Revenant is an interesting pick. The production design there was actually quite good…when it was there. But there wasn’t a ton of it.

The Martian is nice to see. The Hab and the Ares were really well done. As were the NASA buildings, which were apparently built sets.

Kind of fucked up that they snubbed Crimson Peak yet had Guillermo Del Toro announce the first half of the nominations. Also kind of fucked up that they snubbed that production design.

But hey, more Mad Max.

Score: 3/5

Best Costume Design:

  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

I knew, from the minute I saw it, that Cinderella belonged here.

I predicted Crimson Peak, but that was a long shot. Didn’t expect they’d go for The Revenant here, but they went for it. And I figured Carol had this one over Brooklyn.

Also, I know at least one person who’s glad that the People Eater’s pierced-nipple suit got nominated.

Score: 4/5

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • The Revenant 


I WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called it. I knew the Academy would make an out-of-nowhere choice in this category, and I suspected–just suspected–it’d be The 100-Year-Old Man.

AND IT FUCKING WAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That, actually, might be the nicest surprise of the day. Playing the odds on that nomination and getting it right.

The makeup wasn’t even as good as Black Mass, but somehow, I knew they were going to trip everyone up.

But not me, you fuckers!

Score: 3/3

Best Original Score:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I missed Bridge of Spies in favor of The Danish Girl. Should’ve caught that one.

And Sicario got in instead of Mad Max, which I don’t agree with, but I probably should’ve seen coming. I actually did say Sicario had an outside chance, but I think I let my lack of love for it cloud my judgment. (I really need to see it again.) At least Spotlight didn’t get in. Thank God.

It’s really funny to me that Carol actually has more nominations than Brooklyn but missed Picture. It must’ve been close.

In any case–happy 50th nomination, John Williams!

My Score: 3/5

Best Original Song:

  • “Earned It”, Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray”, Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song No. 3”, Youth
  • “‘Til It Happens to You”, The Hunting Ground
  • “Writing’s on the Wall”, Spectre

I’ll save the vomiting for another time.

I got 3/5–the last 3–right. The first two I was way off base. Granted, this category is hard to call, but that wasn’t even the best-known song from fucking Fifty Shades! And Racing Extinction I don’t even know about.

Fifty Shades of Grey, Oscar nominee.

Lord have mercy.

My Score: 3/5

Best Sound Mixing:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant 
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I really thought they’d take Compton over Bridge. Silly me. (Again, though…that film having only a Screenplay nomination to its name is bizarre.)

Otherwise, I got this one right. No Everest, which is too bad, but not a surprise.

My Score: 4/5

Best Sound Editing:

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant 
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Same as Mixing, only they swapped out Bridge for Sicario, which makes sense. I said it was a threat.

Shame The Big Short didn’t get on here, since I thought it did more genuinely interesting things with sound than most of these. But at least they nominated the Hab’s toilet!

My Score: 4/5

Best Visual Effects:

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant 
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Since they loved The Revenant, that got on (which I thought could happen). And I’m really glad Ex Machina actually did make it, since they did a fine job with a tight budget. Too bad The Walk was snubbed, but it’s not really that surprising.

So much for the MCU this year. Ant-Man was looking good for a second there.

My Score: 3/5

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War

I predicted 4 of these, and Theeb got in over The Brand New Testament, which isn’t too shocking.

It’s pretty obvious what’s winning here.

My Score: 4/5

Best Animated Feature:

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie was There

I should’ve predicted at least one left-field nominee. This category is usually good for one of those. And we got two.

Granted, those two came at the expense of The Good Dinosaur (which was middling) and The Peanuts Movie (which looked pleasant but which will probably be forgotten). Instead we got a Brazilian film which was made for half a million dollars (Boy) and a Studio Ghibli film (Marnie). And I’m absolutely fine with that.

My Score: 3/5

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Another 3/5. Amy and Look were locks. Cartel Land had been doing very, very well. The other two came out of nowhere for me, but this is one of the most unpredictable categories, so I’m not really surprised.

I’m actually more surprised they didn’t fuck over one of the front-runners. Remember Life Itself?

My Score: 3/5

My Overall Score: 80/106 = 75.47%

I’m quite happy with that score. Given all those 3s I had, I was concerned.

I got four categories perfectly: Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, and Makeup & Hairstyling (I’m so fucking happy about that one).

I let my prejudices get in the way a couple of times, but all in all, I think I’m getting pretty good at this.




  • The Big Short and Spotlight are the only films to earn the “magic quartet” of nominations: Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Editing. But they combine for just 11 nominations–one fewer than The Revenant.
    • Spotlight actually has the exact same six nominations as Boyhood received. And look how that one turned out.
  • The Revenant has 12 nominations, but not Screenplay. So you can’t consider it the unequivocal front-runner. But the Tom Hardy nomination (He’s a nominee now! Yes!) is a very, very good sign.
  • Mad Max has 10 nominations–not too shabby at all. How many of those it can actually win is another matter, but I’ll say this: I don’t really care. Would I love for it to win it all? Absolutely. But it’s on the lists. It’s part of the Academy canon forever. And that’s honestly enough for me. The rest is gravy.
  • Brooklyn snuck on over Carol, but only got 3 nominations while Carol got 6. That’s amazing.
    • It also tells me Carol was this year’s Foxcatcher–the film that wasn’t quite beloved enough to get into Best Picture but which they respected enough to nominate in some big categories.
  • Room gets only four nominations, but that includes the biggest shocker of the day–Lenny Abrahamson beating out Ridley Scott for Best Director. I doubt it’s winning anything besides Best Actress, but the fact that it got Director at all might say something. (Which is probably “Tell Ridley Scott ‘Fuck you’.”)
  • The Martian, despite the Director snub, gets 7 nominations, including Actor and Adapted Screenplay. Which is nothing to be ashamed of. I am surprised it got left out of Editing in favor of Star Wars, but we have two SF films in the Best Picture race. I’m not going to complain too much.
  • Steve Jobs is snubbed in Screenplay–the first Globe winner to miss out since 2002. How that impacts Fassbender or Winslet’s chances remains to be seen.
  • The Hateful Eight is snubbed in Picture and Original Screenplay, after two consecutive films where Tarantino got nominated for both. But it opened late and got mixed reviews, so I’m not too surprised.
  • Bridge of Spies misses Director but gets 6 nominations anyway, and is still a strong contender for Supporting Actor. For a film that was starting to look pretty shaky as a major contender, this isn’t bad at all.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey is an Oscar-nominated film. You need to be reminded of this.
More Oscar nominations than Tangerine, Mr. Holmes, and Love & Mercy combined. And that’s just the ones I’ve seen.
  • The Danish Girl gets 5 nominations (one of them in the wrong category), but misses out on Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Score. I’m not terribly upset.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets five nominations, but not Picture. So cool your jets, everyone. That Editing nomination is a solid coup as it is.

There’s probably more I could say, but I’m going to try and get back to bed. I’ll say a lot more when I make my final predictions anyway.

For now, I’m just going to ride eternal, shiny and chrome.


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