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

No big surprises with mostly mainstream films filling the list

Leonardo DiCaprio being directed by Alejandro G. iñárritu in the freezing col...

Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Above: Leonardo DiCaprio being directed by Alejandro G. iñárritu in the freezing cold of "The Revenant." The film's Oscar nominations include Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando evaluates the 88th Annual Academy Award nominations.


Beth Accomando, KPBS Cinema Junkie Blogger and Podcaster

Yazdi Pithavala, Moviewallas Podcaster


The 88th annual Academy Award nominations were announced early Thursday morning with "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" leading a predictable list of nominations with 12 and 10 nominations respectively. The Oscars will be handed out on Feb. 28. Chris Rock will host the awards.

"The Revenant" leads the pack with 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. It benefitted from being a serious drama (nabbing it the prestige categories) with impressive technical contributions, including visual effects.

The nominations fell in line with what most were predicting with mostly mainstream Hollywood films collecting the bulk of the nominations. Among the pleasant surprises were first time and well-deserved nominations for Bryan Cranston (Best Actor, "Trumbo"), Brie Larson (Best Actress, "Room"), and Charlotte Rampling (Best Actress, "45 Years"). It was also great to see genre films, such as "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "Ex Machina," get attention.

Photo caption: Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a woman wanted for murder and on her way to be han...

Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a woman wanted for murder and on her way to be hanged in Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight." She stole the show from all the men in the cast.

Among the other worthy nominees were Jennifer Jason Leigh (Best Supporting Actress, "The Hateful 8"), Tom Hardy (Best Supporting Actor, "The Revenant"), "The Look of Silence" (Best Documentary), and Ennio Morricone (Best Score, "The Hateful 8").

The nomination that drew the biggest round of applause during the 5:30 a.m. announcement was Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor in "Creed." But that turned out to be the only nomination for the film. I was hoping Ryan Coogler might get a Best Director nod for perfectly blending indie sensibilities with franchise popularity.

Photo caption: Charlize Theron tries to lead a group of women to freedom in "Mad Max: Fury R...

Photo credit: Warner Brothers

Charlize Theron tries to lead a group of women to freedom in "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Among the other snubs were Charlize Theron for her work in "Mad Max: Fury Road" where her character literally drove the plot forward and Idris Elba for his charismatic turn in "Beasts of No Nation." Also missing from the roster was the innovative music score for "It Follows." The nominations also revealed a general lack of diversity with many of the films focusing on primarily white male characters ("The Big Short," "Spotlight," "The Revenant," "Bridge of Spies"). The exceptions were Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Best Director, "The Revenant"), and nominations in the screenplay and producing categories.

I've already handed out my awards. Check out the Cinema Junkie winners in my podcast.

Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”

Matt Damon in “The Martian”

Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”

Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”

Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale in “The Big Short”

Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”

Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”

Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”

Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in “Carol”

Brie Larson in “Room”

Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”

Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”

Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”

Rooney Mara in “Carol”

Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”

Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”

Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Achievement in directing

“The Big Short” Adam McKay

“Mad Max: Fury Road” George Miller

“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu

“Room” Lenny Abrahamson

“Spotlight” Tom McCarthy

Best motion picture of the year

“The Big Short” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

“Bridge of Spies” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

“Brooklyn” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers

“The Martian” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers

“The Revenant” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers

“Room” Ed Guiney, Producer

“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

For a complete list of nominees (with links to trailers for all the films) go to the official Oscar website.

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