Oscars 2016: First Reactions!



N: Well, the Oscar nominations were released today, and now that the Golden Globes dust has settled, we can see what made it to the final tally and what didn’t. Are you feeling good, Ben?

B: Just like every Oscar morning, I’m feeling wonderfully “meh.” The films I expected to see get in, did. The films I thought could slip in through the cracks, didn’t. And as always, any movies about a non-white protagonist are nowhere to be seen. Just like every Oscar morning.

N: The Academy was dreaming of a White Oscars? Too soon?

B: Never too soon, just too bad. So, what are you most excited about with this morning’s nominee list?

N: Well, I know it was expected, but I’m happy to see Room squeeze into a confusing and kind of unpredictable Best Picture race, and am similarly happy to see Brie Larson, who I’m very much pulling for to take this one home. I’m also thrilled to see some of the Original Screenplay nods – Inside Out and Ex Machina squeezed their way in alongside some of the Best Picture picks, and both were beautifully penned, so that’s pretty excellent. I also am like, kind of excited to see if Leo loses again. I hope he wins, but I’ll laugh pretty hard if he doesn’t, to be totally honest with you.

B: While I wasn’t the biggest Revenant fan, I’m actually super excited that Tom Hardy snuck in there for Supporting Actor, he really holds his own against Leo, so it’s great to see him recognized. Other than that, my own little obscure favorite nomination is for World of Tomorrow, one of the Best Animated Short nominees. It’s really charming, and honestly better than some of the Best Picture noms (YEAH I SAID IT). Other than that oddity, I’m obviously thrilled for all the love for Mad Max: Fury Road. Who knew this wild and crazy blockbuster could end up exciting so many people in the Academy? And alongside The Martian (plus those noms for Ex Machina and Star Wars: The Force Awakens) it’s a super great year for sci-fi at the Oscars this year.

N: I’m very excited to see Mad Max sneak in there – it’s FAR better than most other movies that came out this year and I’d like to see literally anything win over The Revenant, which I admittedly haven’t seen yet, but I’m suffering from an acute case of Inarritu Fatigue. Also, HEY, Adam McKay! Welcome to the Oscar Club! You should have been here for Anchorman, but I’m glad you got in anyway.

B: And Adam McKay’s chances of winning aren’t too far off! Who knows what will happen! And all in all, even though The Revenant was something of a disappointment (I’ll be covering that in a Best Picture profile), all of the Best Picture nominees are pretty good films. I’d recommend…most of them! Now, what are some nominees we are NOT so excited about?

N: I mean… I’m actually not mad about any of the nominees who are there, except maaaaaaybe Eddie Redmayne, who I think is kind of fishing for Number Two this year, but I’m more upset about the people who aren’t there. You mentioned that they’re entirely white this year, and I am truly bummed to see a total lack of Creed (aside from Stallone), Michael B. Jordan, Idris Elba, and hell, literally anybody from Straight Outta Compton, which were all more or less in the running up until right now.

B: Of course the one aspect of Creed they do nominate is the old white guy in it (Seriously, ya’ll, Creed is a damn great movie). And the only aspect of Straight Outta Compton that was nominated was for the screenplay. I guess the Academy thinks they “got it out of their system” with 12 Years a Slave and doesn’t have to make an effort anymore. Which is a shame because of films like Compton and Creed and Beasts of No Nation and Tangerine and alright I’ll stop. At least Chris Rock is hosting and will give everyone hell for this.

N: I guess the only thing that can be said about how white the Oscars are this year is that we DO have a fair amount of new faces among the nominees. Sure, we have the usual suspects like Redmayne, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and DiCaprio (lolz), but we’ve got new faces like McKay, Larson (actually, everyone involved in Room, more or less), Rachel McAdams, and Saoirse Ronan – though I know she was nominated years ago for Atonement, this is her first adult nod. I wish we’d had more newcomers – I was hoping to see maybe a screenplay nod for Trainwreck & Amy Schumer, much like Kristen Wiig’s nod for penning Bridesmaids – but you can’t have everything.

B: Also, Charlotte Rampling, with a 50+ year career, finally getting a nomination for 45 Years, so that’s something. But yes, I do wish Alicia Vikander had been nominated for her chilling work in Ex Machina, though she was probably the most likeable element of the otherwise monotonous Danish Girl. But the Oscars are just around the corner, and Nina and I will be writing up our Best Picture Profiles over the next month, highlighting each nominee and its status as a Best Picture Nominee. It should be about as thrilling as it sounds.

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