The nominations for 2016’s Oscars race have now been revealed, and while there weren’t too many shocks in some categories (was this the most obvious Best Actor race ever?) the absence of certain films and figures from the final list is bound to cause a few grumbles.
The total omission of Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation is a particular shocker, which is bound to only strengthen frequent accusations of the Academy ignoring black actors and filmmakers (and spur the return of last year’s hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, with this the second year in a row where no non-white actors were nominated).
Once again, all 20 Oscar-nominated actors are white.
— Sophie Gilbert (@sophieGG) January 14, 2016
Idris Elba looked to have a nomination for Best Supporting Actor locked down by most predictions, and Beasts had a shot at a Best Picture nod too. Instead, Netflix may have to wait for its first Oscar win – its only nomination this year is for Nina Simone documentary What happened, Miss Simone?
Other notable absences from the Best Picture category are Todd Haynes’ acclaimed Carol (which earned recognition in the acting and writing categories instead), Straight Outta Compton (again not helping the Academy’s records on diversity, though it did get an original screenplay nomination) and outside chance Tangerine, whose trans themes may have suffered due to the inclusion of the more mainstream The Danish Girl.
Fans will also be disappointed to see that Star Wars: The Force Awakens couldn’t sneak in a Best Picture nod alongside its technical nominations, but considering the franchise hasn’t been included in that category since 1977’s A New Hope it’s not exactly a surprise. In any case, the Academy’s appetite for “populist” fare was probably sated with the inclusion of Mad Max: Fury Road.
The acting categories, apart from Elba, offered fewer surprises. While it would have been nice to see Michael B. Jordan and Jacob Tremblay nominated for their roles in Creed and Room respectively, they haven’t gained much traction in other awards thus far, while the Best Actress category righted Bafta’s snub by including Charlotte Rampling for British dramas 45 Years.
Still, you could argue Alicia Vikander was snubbed by her own producers. While she played the co-lead in The Danish Girl alongside Best Actor nominee Eddie Redmayne, the studio instead campaigned for her to be nominated in the supporting actress category (presumably to give her a greater chance of success), which may have also knocked her chance of being nominated in the same category for sci-fi thriller Ex Machina on the head.
As for Best Director, there were a few no-shows – Steven Spielberg for Bridge of Spies, Todd Haynes for Carol and Ridley Scott for The Martian – that stood out a little considering how well-represented their films were in other categories, but the strength of the final shortlist means there were bound to be a few high-profile absences.
And finally it seems like this is the year for award-winning writers to be ignored, with both Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin excluded from their customary writing nominations (with the Hateful Eight and Steve Jobs left out of the Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations). There’ll be a few scratched heads over that one.
So that’s the excitement over for a few weeks until the ceremony takes place on 28th February, and there’s still everything to play for. Will Mad Max: Fury Road reap the success of its critical popularity, or will the Academy voters go for something more traditional? And will Leonardo DiCaprio finally get his hands on an Oscar, or is there a surprise waiting in the wings?
The 88th Academy Awards will take place on 28th February