And The Nominees Are….

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced in a live news conference from Beverly Hills early Thursday morning. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs was joined by actor John Krasinski, and directors Guillermo del Toro and Ang Lee read off the names of the lucky finalists for Hollywood’s biggest night. The Academy Awards will take place live, Sunday February 28th, at 7 p.m. ET, at the Dolby Theatre and will be hosted by Chris Rock.

“The Revenant” leads the Oscar race with 12 nominations, while, “Mad Max: Fury Road” follows closely behind with 10 nods – both including best picture. As per usual, the nominees were not without their fair share of snubs or surprises.

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Let me preface this by saying that, for the most part, the Academy got it right this year – which is rare. This was a year inundated with talent and great performances, in front of and behind the camera, so it was bound to leave out some other deserving nominees.

Having said that, there are a few snubs that bothered me.

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One of the biggest snubs, in my opinion, goes to “Sicario.” Not only was it not nominated for Best Picture – with THREE open spots remaining – but Benecio Del Toro delivered one of the best performances this year and didn’t get the Supporting Actor nod, despite getting a SAG nom.

Denis Villanueve also missed out on a stacked Director category, even though he helmed one of the most taut, intense, gritty, assured and brilliant films this year (which also happens to be one of my favorites of the year, the list of which will appear soon).

“Straight Outta Compton” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” were also both snubbed for Best Picture. “Sicario” + “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” + “Straight Outta Compton” = the three open spots in the Best Picture category.

I would’ve loved it if Jason Mitchell somehow snuck into the Supporting Actor category for his captivating performance as the late Eazy E in “Straight Outta Compton,” but, aside from Rylance, the other actors offered better performances.

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The biggest snub, even bigger than “Sicario,” was Sir Ridley Scott not being nominated for his directing in “The Martian.” Perhaps no other director and genre are as synonymous with each other as Ridley Scott and Sci-fi. Ever since his seminal masterpiece, “Alien,” Scott and Sci-fi have been inseparable. He has a knack for taking these sprawling worlds and stories and stripping them down to their most human and personal – something that he did superbly with “The Martian.”

Some of the surprises were “Carol” being shut out of all major categories outside of the Acting nods it received, and Sylvester Stallone getting the nod in Supporting Actor for his revival of the Rocky Balboa character.

I personally was not a fan of “Carol,” the film, but I thought the performances were good enough.Good enough for a nomination? No, but I can’t think of anyone else to sub them out for, other than Olivia Wilde for her performance in Meadowland.

Theron was fantastic in Fury Road, but I’m still not sure I’d put her in over Rooney Mara.

Since Del Toro isn’t nominated and subsequently not winning the award like he should/would have, I’m pulling for Sly as a sentimental favorite – and a thank you for creating one of the greatest characters in the history of cinema.

Does the “Italian Stallion” have one last fight in him? This writer sure as hell hopes so.

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I will save my predictions for a later time, but without further adieu: here are the nominees for the 88th Academy Awards.

Best Picture
“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Brooklyn”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Room”
“Spotlight”

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs“
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs“

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Director
Adam McKay, “The Big Short”
George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant”
Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Visual Effects
“Ex Machina”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Documentary Feature
“Amy”
“Cartel Land”
“The Look of Silence”
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“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”

Editing
“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Spotlight”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Production Design
“Bridge of Spies”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”

Best Original Score
“Bridge of Spies”
“Carol”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Embrace of the Serpent,” Colombia
“Mustang,” France
“Son of Saul,” Hungary
“Theeb,” Jordan
“A War,” Denmark

Best Original Screenplay
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Inside Out”
“Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Big Short”
“Brooklyn”
“Carol”
“The Martian”
“Room”

Best Original Song
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
“Simple Song No. 3” from “Youth”
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared”
“The Revenant”

Best Animated Feature
“Anomalisa”
“Boy and the World”
“Inside Out”
“Shaun the Sheep Movie”
“When Marnie Was There”

Best Animated Short Film
“Bear Story”
“Prologue”
“Sanjay’s Super Team”
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”
“World of Tomorrow”

Best Live Action Short Film
“Ave Maria”
“Day One”
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)”
“Shok”
“Stutterer”

Best Cinematography
“Carol”
“The Hateful Eight”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”

Achievement in Sound Mixing
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Achievement in Sound Editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Sicario”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Best Costume Design
“Carol”
“Cinderella”
“The Danish Girl”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Revenant”

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments!

Jovanni Ibarra
jovannixibarra@gmail.com