Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oscar nominations -- there will be snubs

My quickly dashed-off thoughts on the 2016 Academy Awards nominees. See the full list here

In such a standout year for movies, this year's Oscar nominations were destined to be remembered more for who was left out than who got the nod. In almost every category, you could swap out the entire field for five other nominees and still feel good about the list.

People are grumbling about the lack of non-white acting nominees, but it's merely reflective of the roles they get.

Will Smith was just OK in the over-earnest "Concussion," and Samuel L. Jackson was hurt by the argument over whether he was a lead or supporting in "Hateful Eight." Only omission here that really burns is Idris Elba, who was just commanding in "Beasts of No Nation" But did you really think the fogey Academy votes were going to go for a Netflix movie?

Not a whole lot of great roles for black women this year (which, unfortunately, you can say about most years).

Don't worry, though -- plenty of white people got snubbed, too. No Jacob Tremblay for "Room," no Ridley Scott for "The Martian," no Michael Keaton for "Spotlight," no Aaron Sorkin for "Steve Jobs," no Quentin Tarantino for "The Hateful Eight" -- the list goes on.

The LGBTQ community is crowing about "their movies" not getting a Best Picture nod. "The Danish Girl" and "Carol" had  months of audacious hype, then people actually saw the films and the buzz petered out quickly. Eddie Redmayne's chance to be the first repeat Best Actor since Tom Hanks in the 1990s seems dead, with Leonardo set to take it all.

"Danish Girl" is a good not great movie, and "Carol" is simply an overwrought borefest. It's funny that people are complaining about "Brooklyn" getting the love despite being "old-fashioned." I'd argue "Carol" is even more antiquated in its tone, performances and storytelling tropes. Cate Blanchett still has a chance of winning, though, but my pick is Brie Larson.

Glad to see "The Big Short" and "Room" score big. "Spotlight" seems like it's fading in the Best Picture race. There's respect but not love for the film. "The Revenant" is quite good but didn't make my Top 10. Right now it seems the favorite for a big sweep.

I'm unsure why "The End of the Tour" never broke out. Great little picture that seemed destined to score a boatload of Oscar noms. Career-changer for Jason Segel -- or so I thought. Back to the buffoon comedies...

No Michael Shannon for "99 Homes" is just a travesty. Easily the standout supporting male performance of the year. I was also hoping the lovely "Mr. Holmes" and "Love & Mercy" would rise to the top, but just too little box office and attention.

This year marks 50 -- count 'em, fitty -- nominations for composer John Williams. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is hardly his best, but it's nice to see such a milestone for a guy so important to the movie biz. His biggest competition is another legend, Italian Ennio Morricone.

A few things to be mad about in this year's list, but no screaming injustices. Except maybe Elba and Shannon...

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