Its January yet again, and the Academy has revealed all their nominations for the best film/acting/special effects of 2015! Now a quick disclaimer: I’m not a fan of the Academy. Considering they mostly consist of a group of elderly white men out of touch with society, its very rare that their nominations reflect the general consensus of both critics and the wider population. And this year was no exception. While I was over the moon with Mad Max’s 10(!) nominations as usual there was a plethora of predictable decisions, frustrating snubs and happy surprises.
So without further ado, here are a summary of my thoughts on each category, my personal favourite, and who will probably win (note: I haven’t seen every film nominated, so I won’t be discussing every area, but I’m going to work with what I have).
First we’re looking at the big one: Best Picture.
First off, this year I think every film on this list at least deserved a nomination. There is nothing here that I wouldn’t say is a great or excellent film. That being said, there are still your standard Oscar movies making an appearance (The Revenant, Spotlight, Bridge of Spies etc.), as well as some frustrating snubs.
So the snubs. The biggest names getting thrown around about missing out is Creed (which I adored), Carol (which I have unfortunately not seen) and Steve Jobs (which I also really liked). There’s also the typical outcries for everyone’s most popular blockbuster to get a mention (Star Wars I’m looking at you) and while I do think its a great film, its not Oscar material and I’m not sad its been disregarded.
The one however I am sad about, is Creed. This was absolutely one of my favourite films of last year – from the performances, to Coogler’s fresh direction, to its incredible production: its impressive on almost every level. And it was barely mentioned. I wouldn’t expect it to win Best Picture, but to not even get nominated… That’s rough. It also doesn’t help the Academy’s case in the face of the #Oscarsowhite outrage. And rightfully so, because Creed deserved a nomination.
While I did also like Jobs and do think its definitely one of the best films of the year, in a twisted way I can sort of understand it not being nominated. As I mentioned in the intro to my review, Jobs was a big flop at the American Box Office, which is often a wet blanket over any films reward chances. And while it did get some love for Kate Winslett in Best Supporting Actress, overall it was barely in the conversation. Its disappointing for sure considering the quality of the film and the talent behind it, but not exactly unexpected.
But moving aside what wasn’t, lets focus on what is. And for my personal favourite amongst the group, only two words: Mad. Max. This film is a revolution of contemporary action film-making. There are so many reasons Road works so well that I’m not even going to try and list them. This film redefined a genre. And its for that reason I don’t think it’ll get recognised. There’s a better chance of me winning the Powerball than this film has of winning. It represents everything the Academy is constantly criticised for ignoring: its different, its revolutionary, it breaks new ground, its progressive and its violent. Do you really expect old white men to nominate a movie set in a car apocalypse? It ain’t gonna happen.
Who will probably win
But what will the academy reward? This year at least they’ve got plenty of standard choices to choose from. You’ve got the ensemble cast true-story dramas (Spotlight, The Big Short), the auteur film (The Revenant), the period piece (Brooklyn), and even the actor-driven dramas (Bridge of Spies, Room).
The current front-runners according to the ol’ betting pools this year are The Revenant and Spotlight. And honestly, I wouldn’t be too sad if either of them won. I do think overall Spotlight has the less faults, but The Revenant is still a ridiculously impressive film and both movies do deserve recognition. The only real reason I would be opposed to them winning is that both choices are so typical of the Academy. For once I want a unique, ground-breaking movie that doesn’t fit Oscar conventions to win, at the very least to prove that the Academy is at least slightly in touch with the rest of the world.
As for the other films, I really liked The Big Short and Bridge of Spies, and loved Room and The Martian. I wouldn’t be disappointed if Room or Martian came from left field to scoop up the prize but I don’t see it happening. Aside from Short maybe edging up after its latest DGA win, this year seems a bit like a two-horse race.
Overall, this year was another safe round at the Oscars. There were frustrating snubs, odd additions and the the random genre pick, but its still very standard. Sure I’m overjoyed Fury Road got a nom, but next to the classic Oscar-Bait of Spotlight and The Revenant it doesn’t have a chance. Here’s hoping the Academy’s response to the current outrage fuels some much-needed change in how they operate.