Academy Award Nominations
The Academy Award nominees were announced on Thursday, and as with every year there are surprises, snubs, and plenty to talk about prior to the awards. The winners will be announced on February 28, and between now and then there will be plenty of dissection of these nominees.
Overall, I thought it was a good field. There were a few surprises and snubs to me, but that happens every year. After reflecting for the past day, here's some thoughts on this year's field.
* This is the first year in a long time that I've seen all the Best Picture nominees already. I wasn't too surprised by the list, and I think the battle is probably coming down to "The Revenant," "The Martian," "Spotlight," and, inexplicably, "Mad Max: Fury Road."
* The Academy LOVES "Mad Max." This wasn't a complete surprise, but I don't really understand it. And, if there's going to be 10 nominations, shouldn't one be for acting? Plus, the way "Max" dominated this year's field blows a hole in the theory that the Academy doesn't honor sequels...
* "Spotlight" had a great day, pulling down six nominations. I thought that was the best movie I saw in 2015, and I'm pulling for it to win Best Picture.
* "Room" also had a big day. This was more of a surprise — particularly in the nomination for Lenny Abrahamson as director, but a good surprise. I thought this was a powerful film.
* Emily Blunt, "Siarrio." If I was making a short list of the five best Actress performances, Blunt would be in the top three. Yet she was passed over. That was a bummer, to me. "Sicario" was a great film that's been over looked.
* "Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens" didn't get a Best Picture nomination. It might have been a long shot, but I would have loved to see it happen.
* Ridley Scott as director for "The Martian." I thought "The Martian" was one of the best films of the year, and I was shocked to see Scott passed over.
* Will Smith for "Concussion." Smith delivered a great performance in "Concussion," and I thought he'd be a shoe-in for this category. He didn't make the cut, which is a real shame.
* "See You Again" snubbed in the Best Song category. OK, so "Furious 7" wasn't an incredible piece of filmmaking. But that song — which honored star Paul Walker — was beautiful, and one of the most popular songs in the world in 2015. This was a HUGE swing and miss by the Academy.
* "The Peanuts Movie" held out of the animated competition. This was another big miss, to me. For the past two years the Academy has been going for fringe indie animated features while shafting popular mainstream animated fare. But I can't believe they shafted "The Peanuts," which was a beautiful little movie that reminded us all of why they've been an iconic part of our lives for 50 years.