We have never seen an Oscar season like this in decades. Not since 1982 when it was Gandhi versus E.T., versus Tootsie versus Missing versus The Verdict, have we seen an Oscar year that is completely unpredictable. This year’s Oscars could result in any direction and nobody can truly know where the academy will lean this year. This is an Oscar year poised for surprises and upsets in practically every category, as the nominations indicate. Below are some surprises, snubs and some initial thoughts regarding the nominations.
Surprise: Room Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Original Screenplay
After being horrendously ignored by most pundits, Room has stood victorious over others in a very competitive year, thus proving it is a genuine contender this year. Most notable is director Lenny Abrahamson’s nomination, whose nomination was grossly ignored by most precursors, including the DGAs. Side Note: It is still unfortunate Jacob Tremblay was not nominated for Supporting Actor. He was the heart and soul in Room and without him, the film never would have worked.
Snub: Ridley Scott for Best Director
Ridley Scott was supposedly the frontrunner in this category since July until he lost the Golden Globe this past Sunday. Yet he was still considered a frontrunner in this category, especially considering he is a Hollywood favorite and there has been the argument that he has earned his due regarding the award. Yet Ridley Scott was denied a nomination and this snub ought to be regarded as the most shocking Oscar snub of the year.
Surprise: Extra Love for Spotlight
It has been no secret that Spotlight has been the supposed frontrunner this Oscar season. That sentiment was shaken when the Golden Globes awarded The Revenant over Spotlight, causing many to wonder if the momentum for the ‘Spotlight’ journalism team had dwindled. The Oscar nominations have revived the momentum with Spotlight, even nominating both Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams in the supporting categories when both were barely getting any traction regarding the potential for being nominated. Spotlight should not be underestimated this year.
Snub: Aaron Sorkin for Best Adapted Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin won the Golden Globe last Sunday for his witty and dialogue-driven script about the Apple founder and creator. In a shocking snub, Sorkin’s script was denied a nomination in the Adapted Screenplay category. The last time a Golden Globe winning script didn’t get nominated for an Oscar was in 2002 when Alexander Payne was snubbed for his About Schmidt script.
Surprise: Tom Hardy Nominated for Supporting Actor for The Revenant
Despite a stunning performance from Tom Hardy, his Oscar traction was practically zero leading into the Oscar nominations. To his disadvantage, most of the Oscar traction was being focused on Leonardo DiCaprio. However, the Academy recognized the stunning performance from Hardy and finally nominated the amazingly underrated actor.
Snub: Carol not Nominated for Best Picture
It was one of the best reviewed movies of the year and a truly profound film regarding LGBT love in the repressive 1950s era. Precursor award ceremonies celebrated the film, but the Oscars gave Carol the bare minimum in nominations, nominating its actresses, the script, and a handful of technical awards.
Surprise: A Year of Comebacks
While 2016 can be called the most unpredictable Oscar year, it can also be called the year of career comebacks. Sylvester Stallone has gotten his first Oscar nomination since 1976, which incidentally coincides with the 40th anniversary of the film franchise that got him famous: Rocky. Jennifer Jason Leigh is the other comeback performance this year with her first Oscar nomination. Leigh hasn’t had much notice since her career plateaued in the mid 1990s, but her showy and scene-stealing performance in The Hateful Eight has reminded audiences that she is still relevant.
Snub: Straight Outta Compton for Best Picture
Straight Outta Compton was a fan-favorite leading into the Oscars, one whose chances were looking exceedingly good after its SAG nomination for its cast and its more recent PGA, declaring it one of the best films of the year according to the Producers Guild. However, Straight Outta Compton was snubbed in every major category except one: Screenplay.
Surprise: Lead Actresses now Nominated in the Supporting Category
Both Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Rooney Mara (Carol) were nominated in all other precusor awards as lead actresses in their respective films, and for just reason; They were, in fact, a LEAD actress. Yet it is clear for the both of these nominees that producers placed them in the supporting category to increase their chances of winning the Oscar. For Alicia Vikander, this caused her performance in Ex Machina to be snubbed when it was the better performance of the year for her. Additionally, Kate Winslet better watch out if she is hoping to ride the momentum from her Golden Globe win. Between Vikander and Mara now being in the supporting category and Rachel McAdams being the wild card nomination, supporting actress is officially a category that is utterly unpredictable.
Snub: Quentin Tarantino Doesn’t get his First Oscar Nomination in 12 Years
It was assumed Quentin Tarantino would be nominated for his latest film, The Hateful Eight, especially considering his recent Golden Globe nomination. Yet for the first time since his Kill Bill movies (not counting Death Proof), Tarantino has seen himself snubbed in the screenplay category, thus indicating The Hateful Eight was more of a flavor-of-the-week with critics and fans.