The 2016 Oscar nominations were announced early this morning in a ceremony hosted by Ang Lee, John Krasinski, Guillermo del Toro, and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaccs, First of all, I'm going to spend the afternoon working on a "Ang Lee, John Krasinsky, Guillermo del Toro, and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs walk into a bar" joke. Second? The only surprise in the list of nominees is the absolute lack of surprises.
Here are your nominees for Best Picture:
- The Big Short
- Bridge of Spies
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- The Martian
- The Revenant
You can find a complete, printable version of the full list of nominees here.
I will amend my intro to allow that there is in fact one surprise: "Mad Max: Fury Road" received a whopping ten nominations! George Miller's return to the apocalyptic wasteland is second in nominations only to "The Revenant," which got 12 nominations. Both of those films were not included in any writing categories.
Without implying that any of these films are unworthy of praise: Seriously? Best Picture films come in five flavors without fail. You've got the Controversy, the Strong Woman, the Lonely Dude, the Spielberg Movie that We're Not Gonna Acknowledge Spielberg For (Sometimes known as "the Hanks"), and the "Huh?" - the film no one has heard of and/or was made for $600. Mad Max almost breaks this mold by being just a fun-as-balls genre pic, but we've still got the Strong Woman thing going on (not a complaint, mind you).
The rest of the nominations are just as vanilla, for the most part. Excluding documentaries, animation, foreign films, and songs (because really - who gives a shit. There's usually only one decent song in the lot and thankfully it pretty much always wins), there are 78 nomination spots. A mere 32 of those went to films that weren't nominated for Best Picture. Acting categories are filled with the usual suspects: the Real Person (probably dead), the Lesbian/Gay man/Transgender person who is none of those things in real life, and again the Strong Woman and the Lonely Dude. If a genre film is nominated, it's quarantined to a technical category. Or maybe Best Original Score - in this case that designation goes to John Williams who received his 50th nomination for "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens." Sweet!
This year's list of nominees is the most Caucasian since... Oh. Since last year. Apparently Michael B. Jordan had no contribution to "Creed," because ye' tho' critics have been spouting its praises since its release, none of the major award bodies have recognized Jordan. Sure, "Straight Outta Compton" took one of the ever-present wild card slots in the writing categories - but it was totally written by white people. Insert "lost a 'Price is Right' game" .wav here. The other wild card slot went to "Ex Machina," by the way, which makes me throw some metal horns in the air.
Oh, and thanks to the hair and makeup category for likely being the one that YET AGAIN causes me to fail at seeing every single nominated film.
With each passing year, it truly seems like the Academy is digging its own grave, its relevance drifting away like Forest Gump's feather. I just don't understand why things won't shake up a little bit. Am I still a little obsessed? Yeah, probably because of the lack of understanding instead of in spite of it. I'm still going to try to cram in all the movies. At this point, I almost hope DiCaprio doesn't win because it's transgressing beyond sad into hilarious, and maybe Netflix will make a documentary about him. When it's all said and done, I hope that "Mad Max: Fury Road" wins every single award for which its nominated, and at the end of the night when George Miller accepts the final award he rips his shirt off, sprays his mouth silver, and just keeps screaming "WITNESS ME" until the networks cut the show off.