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Oscar Nominations Skew to Big Budget Films, Hollywood Establishment

The  2016 Oscar nominations contained some surprises and some surprising snubs compared with Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards (Photo: NAMPAS)

The 2016 Oscar nominations contained some surprises and some surprising snubs compared with Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards (Photo: NAMPAS)

Oscar nominations cut their own course this awards season, departing from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild, and favoring big-budget, Hollywood establishment films and actors for its top categories–best picture, best actor and best director.

The contrast is starkest with SAG awards, but only a little less so with the scattershot Golden Globes.

Best Picture nominations went to eight films, one less than last year. Making the list were “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Mad Max Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Room” and “Spotlight.”

In contrast, SAG nominations went mostly to smart, arty films: “Beasts of No Nation,” “The Big Short,” “Spotlight,” “Straight Outta Compton” and “Trumo.”

87th Academy Award Top Nominees for 2016

Best Picture

The Big Short: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
Bridge of Spies: Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger
Brooklyn: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
Mad Max: Fury Road: Doug Mitchell, George Miller
The Martian: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam
The Revenant: Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon
Room: Ed Guiney
Spotlight: Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust

Best Actor

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

Best Actress

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

Best Supporting Actor

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

Best Supporting Actress

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

Best Director

Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrhamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

The Guild awards have always been considered a barometer of potential Oscar nominees. That’s because so many Guild members also belong to the National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Its members pick Oscar contenders.

But not this year. Three out of five SAG nominees were snubbed by Oscar.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, always a sketchy group, nominates films in comedy and drama categories, which tends to spread the marketing opportunities. Even so it eschewed big budget films for the most part.

It’s Best Picture drama contenders were “Carol,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant,” “Room” and “Spotlight.” Comedy nominees included “The Big Short,” “Joy.” “The Martian,” “Spy” and “Trainwreck.”

Out of that group, “Carol,” “Joy,” “Spy” and “Trainwreck” were overlooked by the Academy.

In the Best Actor category, Oscar nods wen to Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), Matt Damon, (“The Martian”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revneant”), Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), and Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)

Overlooked was SAG nominee Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”). Ouch! Depp needed a shot at redemption after a string of bombs.

Because the HFPA nominates 10 actors in Drama and Comedy categories, some actors were bound to be overlooked. They include Christian Bale and Steve Carrell, both in “The Big Short,” Al Pacino in “Danny Collins” and Mark Ruffalo in “Infinitely Polar Bear.”

Also missing in action from the HFPA drama category was Will Smith for his stellar role in “Concussion.” In fact, the Oscars have no minority nominees this year, a point of contention on social media.

Best Actress Oscar nominations followed a similar pattern. The Academy and SAG could only agree on three nominees, Cate Blanchett (Carol), Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”) and Brie Larson (“Room”).

SAG was far more adventurous with nominees Helen Mirren (“Woman in Gold”) and surprise pick, Sarah Silverman (“I Smile Back”). Getting Oscar nods instead were Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”), who is fast becoming the new Meryl Streep of award nominations.

HFPA nominees who missed the Best Actress Oscar cut are Rooney Mara (“Carol”) and surprise pick Alicia Vikander “The Danish Girl”). Missing the cut from the Comedy category are Melissa McCarthy (“Spy”), Amy Schumer (“Trainwreck”), Maggie Smith “(The Lady In The Van”) and Lily Tomlin (“Grandma”).

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But Mara and Viklander both received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations, so still count them in.

The Best Director Oscar nominees seem like a list of who’s hot at the moment, instead of heavy hitters. Ditto the Globes. Alejandro González Iñárritu (“The Revenant”), George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) and Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”) made both lists.

Lenny Abrhamson (“Room”) and Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) rounded out Oscar noms. Left out were Golden Globe nominees Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) and Todd Haynes, (“Carol”)

And what happened to Steven Spielberg for his taut drama “Bridge of Spies.” If it’s any consolation David O. Russell also failed to make the cut for “Joy.”

After breaking tradition over the past few years and giving more recognition to indie films, the Academy, which is reportedly dominated by older members, seemed to fall back on its old ways this year. The nominations skew to big budget, Hollywood establishment films.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, directors Guillermo Del Toro and Ang Lee and actor John Krasinski announced the nominations this morning.

The Oscars will be doled out on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center. ABC will televise the awards at 7 p.m. Eastern. Chris Rock will host the show for the second time.

Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest Oscar news.


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