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Even though, the nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards were released on early Thursday morning, I have been busy these past few days and now is the first time that I have been free since then to talk about my thoughts on the choices and what I feel was overlooked despite the fact that I will be covering that in Part 2.

-Best Motion Picture of the Year-

Nominees
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Before I go any further, let me declare that my favorite ones in this bunch are Mad Max: Fury Road and Brooklyn. I have not seen The Big Short and Room yet, but I was no fan of Bridge of Spies. Along with Schindler’s List and Lincoln (time has not been well to them), I consider it to be one of director Steven Spielberg’s most disappointing films. I also hated The Martian, The Revenant and Spotlight. Those last three I have only seen recently. With the exception of the first two films I mentioned in the first sentence, all of the choices here are pretty weak. Although it was predictable that director John Boorman’s swan song Queen and Country would get overlooked, some of my favorites of 2015 like Inside Out, Creed,Β Sicario,Β The Forbidden Room and Joy were unfairly neglected. If I were to give home the prize to any of the nominees, it would go to Mad Max: Fury Road.

-Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role-

Nominees
Trumbo: Bryan Cranston
The Revenant: Leonardo DiCaprio
Steve Jobs: Michael Fassbender
The Danish Girl: Eddie Redmayne
The Martian: Matt Damon

I have not seen The Danish Girl, but I have seen the other four nominees. While Bryan Cranston was perfectly casted as the title character, the film itself was lousy. Same sentiment can easily be applied to The Revenant, Steve Jobs and The Martian. Let us stay on topic however πŸ™‚ The performances given by DiCaprio, Fassbender and Damon in their nominated films are nothing special and I would have chosen more deserving contenders. I can’t name them all here (you will have to wait for Part 2), but two of many examples for me are Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creed’s son in Creed and Gerard Depardieu in Abel Ferrara’s Welcome to New York as a Dominique Strauss-Kahn like politician. This may be the first time in a while that my personal pick will remain non-applicable.

-Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role-

Nominees
Carol: Cate Blanchett
Room: Brie Larson
Brooklyn: Saoirse Ronan
Joy: Jennifer Lawrence
45 Years: Charlotte Rampling

Along with Room, I have not seen 45 Years yet, but it is nice to see legendary British actress Charlotte Rampling get a nomination (I am a big fan of hers). Cate Blanchett already has two Academy Awards wins and I think it is fair to say that she should not win again, especially for a film as overrated as Carol. Personally, I would be happy to see either Jennifer Lawrence or Saoirse Ronan win the award. Nevertheless, it is a considerable tragedy that Charlize Theron was overlooked for Mad Max: Fury Road as was Emily Blunt for Sicario and Amy Poehler for Inside Out.

-Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role-

Nominees
Bridge of Spies: Mark Rylance
Creed: Sylvester Stallone
The Revenant: Tom Hardy
Spotlight: Mark Ruffalo
The Big Short: Christian Bale

I have only seen four of the five nominees, but Sylvester Stallone easily deserves the win because his performance was very touching and heartfelt. Despite my criticisms of the film as a whole, Mark Rylance was the strongest aspect of Bridge of Spies and I look forward to seeing him in director Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film The BFG. Tom Hardy was nothing special in The Revenant and neither was Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight. I am deeply disappointed nonetheless to see that Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin were not nominated for Sicario and I would have at least added Richard Kind (Inside Out), David Thewlis (Queen and Country) and Domhnall Gleeson and Emory Cohen (Brooklyn) and Robert De Niro (Joy) as contenders.

-Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role-

Nominees
The Hateful Eight: Jennifer Jason Leigh
The Danish Girl: Alicia Vikander
Steve Jobs: Kate Winslet
Spotlight: Rachel McAdams
Carol: Rooney Mara

I have not seen The Hateful Eight nor did I see The Danish Girl leaving me with three choices to choose and as with the Best Actor category, my choice is bound to remain non-applicable. Rachel McAdams is forgettable in Spotlight and I just was not impressed with Kate Winslet’s performance in Steve Jobs nor Rooney Mara’s in Carol. I truly feel that Phyllis Smith was unfairly neglected for Inside Out as well as Tessa Thompson for Creed, Julie Walters for BrooklynΒ and Diane Ladd for Joy.

-Best Achievement in Directing-

Nominees
The Revenant: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Spotlight: Tom McCarthy
Mad Max: Fury Road: George Miller
Room: Lenny Abrahamson
The Big Short: Adam McKay

Ever since Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won Best Director last year for Birdman, I am starting to feel that it does not hold up and my fear was confirmed after seeing his nominated film The Revenant. Heavy handed and self-indulgent are two of many negative words to describe how his direction of this film. I also do not care If Tom McCarthy is trying to recreate the job of journalists in Spotlight, this is little more than a plea for an Oscar given the subject matter. My vote for Best Director goes to Australian filmmaker George Miller for creating the big budget action movie that prior to 2015, only existed out of my wildest dreams. Aside from that one bright spot, the Academy shamefully overlooked Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen (Inside Out), Ryan Coogler (Creed), Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson (The Forbidden Room), John Crowley (Brooklyn) and David O. Russell (Joy) for Best Direction.

-Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen-

Nominees
Bridge of Spies: Matt Charman and Joel and Ethan Coen
Ex Machina: Alex Garland
Inside Out: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley and Ronnie Del Carmen
Spotlight: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton: Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus

Even with a screenplay written by The Coen Brothers and Playwright Matt Charman, Bridge of Spies is surprisingly boring and soggy. Speaking of which, that is exactly how Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy’s script for Spotlight comes out. Along with All the President’s Men and The Insider, both reek of insincerity and remain little more than a celebration of self-congratulatory political rubbish (do not worry I am neither a right-winger nor a left-winger). πŸ™‚ Alex Garland’s writing on Ex Machina is nothing special and I have not seen Straight Outta Compton. In my opinion, I feel that Inside Out should win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay because not only is the idea behind it creative, it is also funny, smart and heartwarming too. Some other worthy additions that belong are Joy (Annie Mumolo and David O. Russell),Β Sicario (Taylor Sheridan) and Welcome to New York (Abel Ferrara and Christ Zois). As far as current event drama goes, those last two titles I mentioned are far more hard hitting and edgy than anything “achieved” by the scripts for Bridge of Spies and Spotlight.

-Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published-

Nominees
The Big Short: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn: Nick Hornby
The Martian: Drew Goddard
Room: Emma Donoghue
Carol: Phyllis Nagy

Although I will cover the ones I have seen on display here, it is obvious that I personally feel that Nick Hornby’s script for Brooklyn should be the winner. Not only is it emotionally rich, but scenic as well. Drew Goddard’s script for The Martian is witless and as far as story ideas go, it feels more heavy handed than imaginative. Phyllis Nagy’s script for Carol is just pure rubbish and If this was given to a master like Francois Ozon, he would have made it a complete masterpiece. As far as Adapted Screenplays that were unfairly overlooked goes, I would have added Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington’s script for Creed (yes, prequels, sequels and reboots etc. actually count). πŸ™‚

-Best Achievement in Cinematography-

Nominees
Carol: Edward Lachman
The Hateful Eight: Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road: John Seale
The Revenant: Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario: Roger Deakins

Regardless of whether or not a film is bad, the cinematography always impresses. Out of the four films I saw though, I would choose either John Seale’s work on Mad Max: Fury Road or Roger Deakins work on Sicario. Both films are masterpieces in their use of color and lighting. Nevertheless, can someone explain to me why Yves Belanger’s work on Brooklyn was overlooked.

-Best Achievement in Costume Design-

Nominees
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Since this is a trivial category for me, I will just cut to the chase πŸ™‚ I will be happy If either Cinderella or Mad Max: Fury Road takes home the Award for this category πŸ™‚ But again, why wasn’t Brooklyn nominated in this category?

-Best Achievement in Sound Mixing-

Nominees
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Bridge of Spies

Yet another trivial category πŸ™‚ Nonetheless, Mad Max: Fury Road should win the award πŸ™‚ Β Three more films that should have been nominated in this category are Creed, Sicario and Furious 7.

-Best Achievement in Film Editing-

Nominees
Mad Max: Fury Road: Jason Ballantine and Margaret Sixel
The Big Short: Hank Corwin
Spotlight: Tom McArdle
The Revenant: Stephen Mirrione
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

As with Costume Design and Sound Mixing, just give the award to Mad Max: Fury Road πŸ™‚ Once the film starts, it just never slows down and this is what all action masterpieces should do and Mad Max: Fury Road impresses all the way through πŸ™‚ Under this category, I would have also added Creed (Claudia Castello and Michael P. Shawver), The Forbidden Room (John Gurdebeke), Furious 7 (Christian Wagner, Dylan Highsmith, Kirk Morri and Leigh Folsom Boyd) and Sicario (Joe Walker).

-Best Achievement in Sound Editing-

Nominees
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Give the award to either Mad Max: Fury Road or Sicario and I will be happy πŸ™‚ One worthy addition in this category would be Furious 7.

-Best Achievement in Visual Effects-

Nominees
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Once again, just give the award to Mad Max: Fury Road and I will be satisfied πŸ™‚

-Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling-

Nominees
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Just give the award to Mad Max: Fury Road and I will be happy πŸ™‚

-Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song-

Nominees
Spectre: Sam Smtih and James Napier (as Jimmy Napes)
For “Writing’s on the Wall”
Youth: David Lang
For “Simple Song #3”
Fifty Shades of Grey: The Weekend (as Abel Tesfaye), Belly (as Ahmad Balshe), ‘Jason DaHeala’ Quenneville, Stephan Moccio
For “Earned It”
The Hunting Ground: Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
For “Til It Happens to You”
Racing Extinction: J. Ralph and Anthony Hegarty
-Manta Ray

I have only seen one on here and heard only that song alone and that is the one from Spectre. Personally, I do not care what wins in this category. Nevertheless, I would add in this category the song from Creed entitled “Waiting for the Moment.” The performers and writers of it are: Vince Staples, Ludwig Goransson, Donald Glover, Ryan Coogler and Jhene Aiko.

-Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score-

Nominees
Carol: Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight: Ennio Morricone
Sicario: Johann Johannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: John Williams
Bridge of Spies: Thomas Newman

Out of the four films I saw on here, I would give the prize to Johann Johannsson for his work on Sicario. Their is something that is both suspenseful and haunting about it. Nevertheless, I am very angry that the music scores for Inside Out (Michael Giacchino), Mad Max: Fury Road (Junkie XL) and Creed (Ludwig Goransson) and Brooklyn (Michael Brook) were shamefully overlooked.

-Best Short Film, Animated-

Nominees
Bear Story
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
World of Tomorrow

Nothing to say except, it is interesting to see Animation legend Richard Williams nominated for his co-involvement in Prologue and Don Hertzfeldt for World of Tomorrow even though I have not seen them, though now I want too πŸ™‚ The only addition I would have made was nominating Pixar’s Lava in this category which I saw in the theater as the Pixar animated short that preceded Inside Out.Β 

-Best Short Film, Live Action

Nominees
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay
Shok
Stutterer

I Have not seen either of them so I can not comment πŸ™‚

-Best Documentary, Short Subject-

Nominees
Body Team 12
Chau, beyond the lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Again, I have not seen either of them so I can not comment πŸ™‚

-Best Documentary, Feature-

Nominees
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire

Once again, I have not seen either of them so I can not comment πŸ™‚

-Best Foreign Language Film of the Year-

Nominees
Embrace of the Serpent
Colombia
A War
Denmark
Mustang
France
Son of Saul
Hungary
Theeb
Jordan

I have not seen either of these which makes my personal choice non-applicable, but my additions in this field would include Gueros (Mexico), Taxi Tehran (Iran), A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Sweden), Coming Home (China), Black Souls (Italy), La Sapienza (Italy), The New Girlfriend (France) and The Assassin (Taiwan/China/Hong Kong).Β 

-Best Animated Feature Film of the Year-

Nominees
Anomalisa
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There
Boy & the World

I have only seen Inside Out and the Shaun the Sheep Movie, but for me, Inside Out should be the winner. If their is one Pixar film in the world that deserves to take home the Academy Award, it is this one. This is the only one that made me both laugh and cry out loud from start to finish. Since their is not much competition here, I would also add Hotel Transylvania 2 as a worthy addition.

-Best Achievement in Production Design-

Nominees
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
The Danish Girl

Let me sum this up as best as I can: just give Mad Max: Fury Road the award and I will be satisfied πŸ™‚ Also worthy of addition are Brooklyn and Crimson Peak among others.

In February, I will be back with Parts 2 and 3. Part 2 will be called “The 2016 Academy Awards: Predictions, Picks and My Additions.” πŸ™‚ Part 3 is still untitled, but it will deal with the results of the televised Award show πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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