Oscars 2016 noms: diversity is biggest loser (again)

The Oscar nominations were released today. Naturally I’ve got some issues with some of the choices and more so the omissions (hint: OscarsSoWhite will rightfully be trending for another year). In pretty much every major category there was a serious head-scratcher so I’ll cover the shocking inclusion and what should have taken its place.

It’s another year, but the Oscars continue to play the same old tune in terms of sticking to a certain type of film and performer first and foremost when considering nominations. At this point the lack of diversity isn’t shocking or even disappointing. It’s just one of those things unlikely to ever change in the lifetime of most folks who go to the movies this or likely the next generation. But hey, Chris Rock is hosting so I suppose we’re supposed to just be happy to have some black actor at the show…

Best Picture

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..
Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

The Best Picture category can have 10 nominations so there’s room to simply toss in others. Beyond a deep obsession and love for all things Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies‘ nomination is a stretch. It was a really good movie, but not Best Picture good. Creed being snubbed is the most ludicrous of all, but it also seems like a perfect audience interest hook to include Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well. The Revenant is winning no matter what, but adding two films that feature and appeal to a more diverse demographic is yet another blown opportunity for the Oscars.

Best Actor

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

creed-movie-2015-michael-b-jordanNo issues at all with Cranston’s nomination. Again, this is another category that seems like a one man race as DiCaprio seems a lock to capture his first Oscar. I’d easily swap Creed’s Michael B. Jordan and Will Smith for Concussion — one of his better performances — for Damon or Redmayne.

Best Actress

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

mad-max-fury-road-tom-hardy-charlize-theronBlanchett has been better in the overrated Carol and Lawrence’s nomination just feels more like pandering. I’d swap Charlize Theron, the real star of Mad Max, to replace either.

Best Supporting Actor

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

idris elba beasts of no nationSylvester Stallone’s nomination for his supporting role in Creed was well-deserved, but it’s laughable that Oscar voters managed to single him out for recognition. It’s pretty lame the throw a bone nomination for one of last year’s best and most diverse films is to the lone prominent white performer. And how could anyone who saw Beasts of No Nation not make room in this category for Idris Elba, who gave one of 2015’s best performances? I’d swap everyone but Ruffalo and Hardy out for Elba.

Best Supporting Actress

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

creed - michael b jordan and tessa thompsonCreed’s Tessa Thompson wasn’t just the standard love interest, but had her own story arc and was fantastic. Also, Vikander’s performance in Ex Machina was more deserving of award recognition.

Best Directing

Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrhamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, SpotlightFilm Title: Straight Outta Compton

Broken record time again, but Creed’s Ryan Coogler getting ignored here is maddening and F. Gary Grey was criminally overlooked all awards season for his work on Straight Outta Compton. Like Creed, the Academy voters didn’t completely ignore it, but managed to recognize it by nominating the white contributors to the film — in this case, screenwriters Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff.