Oscar Nominees Commentary (1/2)

The nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, honoring the best films of 2015, were announced on January 14th, with the ceremony coming up soon (February 28th.) This year’s race is one of the most muddled in recent memory, with very few clear frontrunners in any non-technical categories. In my two-part commentary I will not be talking about every single category, only the major ones.

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the full list of nominations here. Today, let’s talk about the screenplay categories, the supporting actor categories, and animated feature.

Bridge of SPies

Best Original Screenplay

This year’s nominees here surprised me. The only notable snub was Quentin Tarantino for his masterful script for The Hateful Eight (which wasn’t his best overall film but is easily among his best screenplays), but there were many more surprises. The surprisingly excellent Straight Outta Compton received a nomination for its script, and both Ex Machina and Inside Out received their only non-technical nominations here (the former for Visual Effects and the latter for Animated Feature.) The other two nominees, Spotlight and Bridge of Spies, were the only two “predictable” nominees. My guess is that this award is Spotlight’s to lose, but it’s by no means the absolute frontrunner.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The nominees here are less surprising than the Original Screenplay category, but there are a few notable snubs. Chief among them is Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay for Steve Jobs, which has dominated at almost every other awards show, winning many and at least being nominated at all. (And while I know it was a long shot anyway, I would’ve loved to see some love for The End of the Tour here. Having both seen the film and read the book it’s based on, it was a near-perfect adaptation.) The only big surprise here is The Martian sneaking into the race. But with all the critical acclaim it’s been receiving, compounded by its snub in the Best Picture category, expect to see Carol walk away with the trophy this year.

Best Animated Feature

Not many animated films received a wide release in the US this year, and as such the pool for nominations was small. The only notable snub was The Peanuts Movie, but I was very surprised to see Boy & the World and When Marnie Was There on the list of nominees. (The latter is a Studio Ghibli film, so I somewhat understand, but I had to google Boy & the World because I had never heard of it. Apparently it’s a Brazilian film from 2013 and only received a limited festival run.) But in the animation world, 2015 has been the year of Pixar, and Inside Out is all but certain to triumph here.

Best Supporting Actor

This category is a doozy to talk about. There are plenty of snubs; Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation is only the most obvious because Oscar Isaac (for Ex Machina) and Benicio Del Toro (for Sicario) are two more notable ones. And there are plenty of surprises (Sylvester Stallone and Tom Hardy, anyone?) as well. I’m personally rooting for Mark Ruffalo for his career-best performance in Spotlight, but Mark Rylance (for Bridge of Spies) is the closest we have to a frontrunner. That being said, The Revenant is probably gunning to sweep and with the Academy perhaps desiring to give Stallone a lifetime achievement award in all but name, the jury is out here.

Best Supporting Actress

There’s no clear snubs here and a handful of surprises, but once again there’s no clear frontrunner. Alicia Vikander (for The Danish Girl) and Rooney Mara (for Carol) should both be nominated for other roles/films (Vikander for Ex Machina and Mara in the lead category). My guess is that this category will be a battle between Kate Winslet (nominated for Steve Jobs) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (for The Hateful Eight), but anything could honestly happen.

Next time, I’ll be chatting about the lead acting categories, best director, and best picture! And don’t forget to enter my 2nd annual Academy Awards prediction contest, which can be found here!

(Copyright 2016 Sadie Britton)

Sadie Britton

Sadie Britton ’16 is a contributor to the Oracle. Aside from running Blair Book Club and being co-captain of the quiz bowl team, she enjoys creative writing, television, movies, and theatre.