The brutal 1820s frontier saga “The Revenant” landed a leading 12 nominations for the 88th-annual Academy Awards while the acting categories again were filled entirely by white performers.
The strong showing today for “The Revenant,” including a best actor nod for Leonardo DiCaprio and best supporting actor for Tom Hardy, follows its win at the Golden Globes.
It sets up director Alejandro Inarritu for a possible back-to-back win following his sweep for best picture, director, and screenplay for “Birdman” last year.
“We gave it our all on this film, and this appreciation from the Academy means a lot to me and my colleagues who made it possible,” Inarritu said in a statement.
“Champagne and mezcal will run tonight!”
George Miller’s post-apocalyptic sequel, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” followed with 10 nominations, including best picture and best director for Miller.
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic, “The Martian,” landed seven nominations, including best picture and best actor for Matt Damon, but, surprisingly, no best director nod for Scott.
Eight films were nominated for best picture.
The other five were Tom McCarthy’s investigative journalistic procedural, “Spotlight,” Steven Spielberg’s Cold War thriller, “Bridge of Spies,” Adam McKay’s Michael Lewis adaptation, “The Big Short,” the mother-son captive drama, “Room,” and the 1950s Irish immigrant tale, “Brooklyn.”
Left on the outside were Todd Haynes’ lesbian romance “Carol” (which fared better in acting nominations for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) and the N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” (which still landed a nod for original screenplay).
The miss for “Carol” meant one usual Oscar heavyweight—Harvey Weinstein—won’t have a horse in the best picture race for the first time since 2007.
The acting nominees, which notably omitted Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation” and Benicio Del Toro for “Sicario,” gave the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences an awkward repeat of the “OscarsSoWhite” backlash that followed last year’s acting nominees.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has since redoubled efforts to diversify the academy’s membership and slated Chris Rock, who a year ago labelled Hollywood a “white industry,” to host this year’s Feb. 28 ceremony.
“I really was disappointed,” Isaacs said after nominations were announced.
“What is important is that this entire conversation of diversity is here and that we are talking about it,” she added.
“And I think we will not just talk because people will say, ‘Well, don’t just talk, you gotta do.’
“Talking gets to the doing and we are going to do,” Isaacs vowed.
Alongside DiCaprio and Damon, the best actor nominees were Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”) and Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”).
Two big names were omitted—Johnny Depp for “Black Mass” and Will Smith for “Concussion.”
The best actress field is led by favourite Brie Larson for “Room,” along with Jennifer Lawrence (for “Joy,” making her, at 25, the youngest four-time nominee).
The others include Cate Blanchett (her seventh nod, for “Carol”), Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), and Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).
After seemingly slipping in an unpredictable awards season, “Spotlight” showed particularly strength today—landing six nominations, including best director for McCarthy, best screenplay for McCarthy and Josh Singer, best supporting actress for Rachel McAdams, and best supporting actor for Mark Ruffalo.
Sylvester Stallone, reprising his role as Rocky Balboa in “Creed,” looms large in the supporting actor category.
His stiffest competition is seen as Mark Rylance, best known for his legendary stage work, for “Bridge of Spies.”
Also nominated were Tom Hardy (”The Revenant”) and Christian Bale (”The Big Short”).
Stallone was the only nominee for Ryan Coogler’s “Creed,” which drew raves for its director and star, Michael B. Jordan.
“Irony of ironies, the only actor who received a nomination for ‘Creed’ is white,” said Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Association, which named “Straight Outta Compton” best picture.
“The academy really needs to look at itself.”
Nominees for best director shunned not just one filmmaking legend in Scott, but also Spielberg.
Instead, Lenny Abrahamson for “Room” was the unexpected addition, along with Adam McKay, known best for his broader Will Ferrell comedies, for “The Big Short.”
Along with Mara and McAdams, the best supporting actress nominees are Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”), Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”), and Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”), her seventh nod.
As expected, Pixar’s “Inside Out” landed a best animated feature nod, as did the Charlie Kaufman-penned stop-motion animation “Anomalisa,” “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” “Boy and the World,” and “When Marnie Was There.”
The foreign language category drew films from Hungary (“Son Of Saul”), France (“Mustang”), Jordan (“Theeb”), Denmark (“A War”) and Colombia (“Embrace the Serpent”).
Jordan and Columbia celebrated their first nominees.
Though some fans had hoped for a better showing, the box-office behemoth “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” failed to land a best picture nomination.
It instead scored five technical nods for editing, score, visual effects, sound mixing, and sound editing.