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'The Revenant,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Lead In Academy Award Nominations

January 14, 2016 1:10 p.m.


Beth Accomando, KPBS Cinema Junkie Blogger and Podcaster

Yazdi Pithavala, Moviewallas Podcaster

Related Story: 'The Revenant,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Lead In Academy Award Nominations


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

This is KPBS midday edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. In help to get mauled by a bear invite dystopian dictators this year. The movies the revenant and Mad Max , Kat into the biggest pics at the 88 Academy award nominations announced this morning. Joining me to discuss the nominations as well as what the Academy got right and what they may have overlooked are KPBS film critic Beth Accomando. Welcome.
Thank you. And the movie podcast or Yazdi Pithavala.
Thank you.
You operating here are the nominees announced could use a quick rundown of numbers.
Sure we have at the top of the lose list is the "The Revenant" which got Paul followed closely by Mad Max which content and then you have a spotlighting with six appeased in Star Wars, bridge of spies and the big short all came in the five. Any of the best pictures that just got one maybe one more Brooklyn or something like that?
There are few the got just a couple of nominations. There are a few solitary souls out there I can get the acting categories. It was an odd collection of nominations in a certain way. They almost -- all felt kind of Satan very predictable. If you read the predictions most were spot on so they were not huge surprises. Grounded
Grounded out for us if you can. You just give us a list of all the advanced pictures and best pictures and best actors and actress. Just so people know we're talking about.
For best actor Bryan Cranston in trouble, Matt Damon in the Martian who just run a comedy acting award. Leonardo DiCaprio for the "The Revenant". The gimmick way for the best actor in drama, and the Redmayne in the Danish girl and Steve Jobs. For best actress we had Kate Blanchette, Carol free Larson in room, Jennifer Lawrence in July, and Sir J Ronan in Brooklyn. Some of those are fairly lonely categories for some of those films. In the nominations were announced which nominations seem to generate the biggest reaction?
The biggest reaction from the best supporting actor category. Let's hear them read the nominees and see what gets the applause.
For performance by an actor in supporting role the nominees are Christian Bale in the big short., Hardy in the revenant. Mark Ruffalo in spotlight. Mark Rollins in bit should spies and Sylvester Stallone in creed.
Rocky. [Laughter]. One complaint being raised is these nominations lacked diversity. The major nominees all like?
Guess they were. If you look at all of the acting categories, best actor, best actress, best supporting actor best supporting actress. They are white.
What potentially Oscar worthy nominations by minority actors might've been overlooked?
We were just talking about this. Michael Jordan in creed did a tremendous job. He would have been a good pick.
He was created right?
Yes. In general I think there's a lot of ink spent on the fact that someone did not pick some America. It is a little upsetting.
Anything you think that is particularly overlooked.
Yes the fact that Sylvester Stallone that the only nomination Creedfor this kind of upsetting because Ryan came up with the perfect sequel franchise film. It perfectly blended the indie film which is known for with the big Hollywood franchise. He did Creedsuch a remarkable job I thought he would sneak in there for best director at least for the best picture category. Then the other big performance that was overlooked Bond and I thought with all the controversy about him being to street to play but maybe they would go like look at his performance here. Then give them some props. But no.
Yazdi was there any place where women and African-Americans did get attention?
I think in general this year the female lead character was by far the most competitive one. This was the one where easily I can come up with 15 names of very strong female actresses. Not so much for the mail acting category but the female acting category has been particularly strong a heavily contested.
There was a waiting not as well.
Yes women Writingin all the categories I think the place where they stood out the most and in terms of position of power within. I think there were three women who grabbed those nominations. We were just looking at straight out of Compton grabbed a nomination for writing. I believe all four of the writers may have been right. I am not positive. But at least it was a film that focused on African-American characters that apparently reversed diversity.
"The Revenant" had the most of nominations you told us including Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Between the two of them it takes place after DiCaprio's character has been attacked by [Audio of movie]the bear. Hardee's character thinks he should stop fighting death.
[Movie audio]
Now Yazdi you like this film and was happy to see it nominated. Unlike Beth. Why?
It's voodoo. I very consciously felt myself above my feet while I was watching it. I had an out of body experience. I live for that. That does not happen when you are jaded and cynical and everything seems mediocre. On something that's you out of your seat that is remarkable. I think it's a combination of how majestic the movie is. The craft is impeccable. These are long shots. There is a fabulous little piece in the movie which is an unbroken take involving several actors with a lot of action going on. That coupled with the story which is very elemental. The story cannot be simpler. The director made a very complicated complex story. But then he makes it a very simple survival story. It all work for me.
Now Beth used to the type of role DiCaprio had in "The Revenant" is an example of Oscar baiting. But is that?
For me I enjoyed the film. Mainly Leonardo DiCaprio's performance that pulling me out of the movie. Oscar baiting performances are the ones where it's the look at me I'm at thing. With a capital A. Look at it in the bison leather. I'm acting. I was inside a carcass of an animal. I'm an handsome guy and I let myself get dirty and I have bad teeth. That is acting. To me that was a lot of superficial aspects of the performance. I think what made it worse is that he was up against Tom Hardy who was almost the polar opposite. He was so subtle and naturalistic and absolutely believable. I do not think it was until the end of the film that it struck me that is Tom Hardy playing the part.
Lets me move on you so this is a stronger for actresses. But one actress in a nominated picture. The Mad Max: Fury Road picture did not get a nomination herself. Shirley's hereon. Let's hear a theme for her.
[Audio of movie] The surprising thing about this is that mad Max fury Road got nominated it always and it?
Partially. It is a highly rated movie.
I'm not saying the word merits of the movie but because of the type of movie does.
Exactly. The Academy has not always embraced genre films. I remember when silence of the Lamb came out that I was all excited. A horror film on. This is amazing. This is an action film. It's a beautiful action filled with a lot of several themes. It was nice to see the Academy embrace it. You are talking about this out of body experience it. This was a film that needed seatbelts because you are constantly having this out of body, leaping out of your seat, off the edge of your chair. It was fabulous. It was a fantastic action film. I was so pleased to see get nominated.
Particularly a minute so prone to excesses. This is a movie about excesses. That is what Nixon special. It's stark raving mad. That is why it resonates with people. For movie like that to be nominated in so many categories is not very typical. I am thrilled.
Apparently we can talk about this for hours and hours that we are heading into the final minutes. Yazdi what we hope to see nominated that was not?
I think something like straight out of Compton. That was a valid -- very well regarded movie. It had tremendous respect. Was kind of a watershed moment in this year's cinema. It was like that except in the writing category.
And Beth.
I love this movie called bone tomahawk with Kurt Russell with that fabulous a mustache. He was amazing in that. I would have loved to have seen him nominated for that. I also loved the score for the Hall of Fame -- horror film that follows. It was introverted -- innovated and of that film as well.
A lot of times when the nominations are announced people say well the Academy went with big studios and big names and the nominations were too safe. Yazdi you agree with that this year that they were too safe?
They were too safe in terms of being predictable and not very diverse. But I am glad that while the Academy embrace the big blockbusters like the Martian, and mad Max, they still found room for the very small movies like room or Brooklyn which also very beloved. I think they hit the balance but definitely not in terms of diversity.
When it comes to this sort of major field of actresses that are great performers, in the movie C al which got a Golden Globe award in a couple of categories, Cate Blanchett, where the lead actresses, was not nominated for an Oscar. Am I correct about that?
She was nominated. What happened to that category is you have to lead actresses. Rather than put them up against each other and possibly lose out on the nomination of God for bid on the award the studios market the actresses into different categories.
So this is a studios to do that? Is not the people to vote for the Oscars?
Yes. When the Academy membership the screeners they get a little sheet or cover the DVD has and will say for your consideration in the category of best actress. Kate Blanchet. For your consideration of best supporting actress. That's how they spread the awards around and try to ensure that maybe their candidates will win.
That is interesting. So Yazdi you are a member of the San Diego film critics Society. How to the Oscars line up with your groups awards.
We pride ourselves on being different. We do not follow the mainstream. We actually had a lot of winners. You can find them in the list of nominees for the Oscars.
For example we picked Mad Max is best mover and director. I think we also found time to pick unusual things. For best supporting actor male Tom Lunan we actually picked who is not in the movie it only provides voice over work. Brilliant probably the most funniest movie of the year. Oscar just ignores those little movies.
Just quickly Beth, your pick for best picture?
What I think will win?
Sadly I will probably think it will be "The Revenant" which is not the best that is nominated.
But not sad for you.
Not sad for me.
I would say within that list I have more fondness for Mad Max I have been speaking with a film critic Beth Accomando and Yazdi. The 80th Academy Awards will be televised on ABC on February 28. I want to thank you both so much.
Thank you.
Thank you.