#OscarsSoWhite.....sounds familiar eh?
Well, all the speculation has led to this. And, once again, the same story arises. All white nominees. Look, guys. I get that this year there was no big movie with an entirely African American cast that deserved some really obvious nominations like 2015's Selma. But after all the criticism you received last year for having an entirely white group of nominations for actor, actress, and director, (with the exception of Alejandro González Iñárritu, also the only exception this year) you went and did it again? Seriously? Is your memory that short??? While we do have a solid group of nominees in every category, it's impossible to deny that the main thing anyone will be talking about with these nominees is just how white they are. In fact, they're whiter this year than they were last year! Shame on you, Academy. (If you haven't seen the list, here it is by the way. Sorry I can't easily mesh this in to this but right now I'm angry so screw your wants and desires. I'm sorry I didn't mean that I love you....)
So let's just talk about this right away, because it was the first thing I thought when I saw the list. Look at those photos. Do you see a trend? I sure do. Everybody's white! Again! First off, I should mention I don't have a problem with anyone nominated on this list. I don't mean to sound like I'm taking anything away from this group. These actors and actresses put in some great performances this year. But. There were several very glaring oversights from both sides of the coin that left me scratching my head. First off, the Best Actor category. I really think this year is FINALLY DiCaprio's year, so pretty much every other nomination is irrelevant, but surely SURELY Michael B. Jordan was better than Matt Damon. Or Michael Fassbender. Or freaking Bryan Cranston! I mean if you're gonna give Sylvester Stallone a nomination and not Michael B. Jordan you better have a damn good reason for it. Do you? No? Didn't think so. Really it's kind of an insult that the only nomination for a film made by an almost entirely African American crew is for the one white person involved, but I digress. Speaking of Best Supporting Actor, there was another really big oversight that could've quelled the #OscarsSoWhite movement. Where's O'Shea Jackson Jr.?? I mean he had one of the best performances of the year in Straight Outta Compton, and that film did make a lot of money. Surely there was room for him among that group. But still. Nothing. What about Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation or Will Smith in Concussion? What about Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight? And what about directors? Both F. Gary Gray from Straight Outta Compton and Ryan Coogler from Creed were totally snubbed. I mean Creed doesn't happen AT ALL if it's not for Ryan Coogler. Why aren't either of these guys on the list? Oh, right. We need to nominate Alejandro González Iñárritu again. My mistake. Anyway, let's move on. Let's move on to a more traditional big winners, losers, surprises, and disappointments about this year's group of nominations, shall we? Because, for all my unnecessary complaining, I do actually like a lot of things about the nominees this year.
Big Winners: The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spotlight
Man. 12 nominations for The Revenant. I genuinely did not see that coming. Though, maybe I should have. After all this film is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who swept the Oscars last year for his work in Birdman. Likely to be (again) the undeserving favorite for Best Director, Iñárritu's film has received a whooping 12 nominations. While I don't know if it deserves that amount yet, it definitely makes me excited to go and see this film tomorrow. Look for my review of The Revenant relatively soon! Here's to hoping DiCaprio finally wins his long overdue Oscar!
EASILY my favorite part of the Oscar nominees this year is how much love Mad Max: Fury Road received. This film has been in my top 3 films the entire year, but I was worried that due to its early release date (May 15) it was going to be largely forgotten by the Academy. It was not, and it ultimately received 10 nominations. 10! Well done, guys. Seriously. If you haven't seen Mad Max by this point, DO IT. It is a freaking crazy-super-special-awesome movie!
Then there's Spotlight. I haven't seen this one yet, but it was definitely the favorite of many critics this year. However it really hasn't done much commercially, so I was impressed the Academy gave it 6 nominations, including one for Best Picture. This is definitely another film I look forward to seeing in the upcoming weeks!
Big Losers: Straight Outta Compton, Creed, Carol, Tom Hanks, Beasts of No Nation, Concussion
You know, I figured Straight Outta Compton was going to be overlooked. It came out at one of the worst times for a film to come out, (August) but it really made some headway there. And it was a phenomenal movie, too! However, in the final few weeks of 2015, the studio behind Straight Outta Compton, New Line Cinema, made a serious push to have this film be considered for several Oscars, and brought it to the forefront of many critic's and fans minds in the last few weeks. So, it's shocking to me that the Academy ignored all of that and gave the film....ummmm lemme see here.....one nomination. One? Are you serious? This film will likely be in my top 10 films of 2015, and it featured great an Oscar-worthy performance from both its director and at LEAST Ice Cube, Jr. But no. Bridge of Spies deserved 6 nominations instead of Straight Outta Compton. Whatever, guys. Whatever.
Another big loser is Creed and its ONE nomination. This film is being called by many as the BEST film of this ENTIRE franchise, which includes the original Rocky. For those who don't know, Rocky was nominated for 9 Oscars and won the award for Best Picture back in 1977. And yet not even a nomination for Best Picture here for Creed. But don't worry! Sylvester Stallone is great, so there's that, right?
I won't speak much on Carol other than the fact that it was an absolutely FANtastic film that definitely deserved a Best Picture nomination over The Martian. Other than that I mostly agree with the Academy on Carol. It received 5 worthy nominations. So not really a loser as much as it lost out on a deserving Best Picture nomination. Moving on!
Poor Tom Hanks can't catch a break. I was generally surprised at how many nominations Bridge of Spies received, but given how much press was created over the fact that Tom Hanks was the lead I was surprised to see him absent from this year's list. But I definitely would've wanted Idris Elba or Michael B. Jordan on this list before him. I'll touch on that in a bit.
Finally, Beasts of No Nation was easily the biggest loser this year. I have yet to see this film, (which is embarrassing since it's been sitting at the top of my Netflix queue for like 167 years) but it's easily the highest profile film for a streaming service this year, but it came out of Oscar nomination day with a whooping 0 nominations. Again, easy spot to nominate an African American for Best Actor, guys. Idris Elba. Much less anything else.
Oh ya! Another big loser! Concussion put up a big ol' goose egg at the nominations. Wow. Didn't see that one coming either. Will Smith would've been an easy nomination for Best Actor (after all basically the entire marketing campaign of that film was for Will Smith's performance) but again, nothing. I haven't seen this film yet, and it bombed commercially, so it may be put off my radar for the time being. But still. There was a HUGE marketing campaign for this film that resulted in absolutely nothing for these guys. Sucks to be Sony/Columbia pictures. Actually what a terrible year for Columbia Pictures. Check out their list of films that were released in 2015 if you want a good lol. Spoiler: the best film they released all year was Spectre. Yikes.
Big Surprises: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina
Wow. I guess I was wrong for once. In my review of Bridge of Spies I said I'd be shocked to see this receive any nominations, let alone 6. But hey! Six nominations. The only bit of rationale I can muster for these undeserving nominations is that of all the "Oscar bait" films that came out in 2015, Bridge of Spies was the one that felt most like a.....movie. Ya. A movie. Where you sit down and get engrossed in a two hour story and come out thinking, "Well, that was fine." and then forget everything about it a week later. But I guess that was good enough in the Academy's eyes to warrant 6 nominations. I'd be shocked to see it win any of those 6 nominations, but hey! You never know.
Another big surprise from a good standpoint was Ex Machina. While it received a throwaway (but deserving) nomination for Best Visual Effects, (that's basically a two horse race between Mad Max and Star Wars-this was more a shot at Jurassic World than it was a win for Ex Machina) it did receive a shockingly well-deserved nomination for Best Original Screenplay. And honestly? I think it's gonna win. It was certainly the most engaging and thought-provoking story of the year, it's just a question of whether enough members of the Academy actually saw the movie or not. This may become the "throwaway Bridge of Spies win" category to justify the film receiving 6 Oscars it won't win. I sure hope not though because that would be criminal for Ex Machina.
Big Disappointments: The Laughable Music Nominees, The Random Circle-Jerk over Bryan Cranston Continues, The Best Picture List
Ok. Couple things to talk about here. Let's start with music. Original Score I'm somewhat ok with. While I was SHOCKED to see what was FAR AND AWAY my favorite score of 2015 get snubbed in Junkie XL's composition of Mad Max, (I'm listening to it right now as I compose this reaction piece and it's still incredible) and can say beyond a shadow of a doubt it was better than Bridge of Spies incredibly bland, safe, and forgettable score, I can't fault the other four nominees. I did enjoy The Hateful Eight's score, as well as Carol, Sicario, and of course, Star Wars. I expect this one to go to Star Wars because the Internet will explode if it doesn't. No. That's not what I want to address. I want to talk about Best Origi0nal Song. You know, 2015 wasn't the best year for original songs in film, but that STILL does not excuse a nomination for 50 Shades of Grey. I get the business decision behind this: now The Weeknd will be coming to the Oscars to perform "Earned It" and that will likely generate some traffic from Millennials, but this also means that 50 SHADES OF GREY CAN TOUT THAT IT HAS AN OSCAR NOMINATION. That is ridiculous and an insult to the film industry as a whole. That happened and we all let it happen. Well done, Academy. Anyway I guess it doesn't really matter. This category is so bland this year that the Academy is basically handing an Oscar right now to Sam Smith with these nominees. And to think Radiohead almost did the Spectre theme song....
Now, let's talk about Bryan Cranston. I haven't released my review of Trumbo yet, but I will tell you now that Cranston's performance in the film is.....fine. But is it better than Tom Hardy in Mad Max? Than Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies? Than Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation? Than Michael B. Jordan in Creed? Than freaking John Boyega in Star Wars? Nope! His performance in Trumbo isn't even on my radar for acting this year, and yet the Academy thinks it's one of the 5 best performances on the year from a male lead. I mean heck, if you were gonna throwaway one of your 5 spots for Best Actor, at least give it to Robin Williams in Boulevard. I would've been proud of you if you had done that. But ya didn't. What a disappointment, guys. This one doesn't matter all that much because I really think it's DiCaprio's year finally, but still. What a waste of a Best Actor slot. Seriously, though! Why does everyone love Bryan Cranston so much? I mean he's a great actor, don't get me wrong. Phenomenal, even. But is he really so great that Hollywood has to freak out every time he does a new movie? I think the word I'm looking for here to describe him is overrated.
Finally, we have the Best Picture list. I really don't understand this list at all. First off, why only 8 films again? I really don't get how this system works. After all you missed an easy opportunity to get Millennials to tune in to the Oscars by nominating Star Wars for Best Picture, and you also missed a deserving candidate in Carol. That would've make 10 right there. But even on top of that, Bridge of Spies? Really? The Martian? Really? I mean The Martian is also calculated and an attempt to appeal to Millennials, but overlooking Star Wars kind of negates that. This year's Best Picture list is honestly rather bland short of the nomination of Mad Max. (Which is an awesome pick so I shouldn't overlook that) I don't mean to take anything away from the films that were nominated. They were just....relatively safe picks by The Academy. And why they don't just nominate 10 films is beyond me. The rules say you can do it, so....do it!
Well, there you have it, A pretty comprehensive list of my first thoughts on this year's Oscar nominees! As usual, I will release my predictions one week prior to the ceremony itself featuring Vegas odds and my personal choices. And in between I still have a lot of work to do! I have a ton of movies I'm still gonna review over the next few weeks, and then I will be devoting the early part of February to my 2015 year-in-review featuring my usual year-end lists. (Best movie moments, biggest disappointments, biggest controversies, the second annual awesome actor awards, worst movies, and best movies of 2015.) So stay tuned for plenty of coverage leading up to this year's Oscars! And, of course, in the words of my favorite movie critic Alonso Duralde: "Don't forget! None of this means anything."
It's just fun to talk about though, right?
http://tomatesverdesfritosdecine.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/87thOscars.jpg (main picture)
https://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/2016-oscars-white.jpg?quality=70&strip=all&w=558&h=440&crop=1 (Oscars so white picture)
http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/revenant.jpg (The Revenant)
http://www.flickeringmyth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/guitarguy.jpeg (Mad Max)
http://geeknewsnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/bridge-of-spies-fall-movies.jpg (Bridge of Spies)
http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Movie_FEATURE_01.jpg (Straight Outta Compton)
https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/qFT5WRVkG-DkEygA3VFju3-BNGA=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3506414/ex_machina_oscar_isaac.0.jpg (Ex Machina)
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/natalierobehmed/files/2015/10/beastsofnonation1.jpg (Beasts of No Nation)
http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2016_02/934461/oscar-nomination-best-picture-composite-today-160114_aaf417093cd8609550a4184c985291c6.today-inline-large.jpg (Best Picture Nominees)
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