Arts & Entertainment

Academy Awards: 'Revenant' leads with 12 nominations, #OscarsSoWhite again

The nominees for this year's Academy Awards are all hoping to take home a statue — albeit a smaller one.
The nominees for this year's Academy Awards are all hoping to take home a statue — albeit a smaller one.
Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to story

08:40
Download this story 4MB

Films with most nomsFull list of nominees

The leadership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences really hoped that two things would happen before dawn on Thursday morning: That “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” would be nominated for best picture, and that at least one actor of color—maybe even two?—would make the final cut for the 88th Academy Awards.

But there was no Hollywood ending to the academy’s prayers.

For the second consecutive year, not a single person of color was nominated in any of the 20 slots for the top performances from 2015 — best or supporting actor and actress.

At the same time, “Straight Outta Compton,” a movie about the seminal black rap group N.W.A., was not shortlisted in the best picture race, where several prognosticators expected it would land.

The omissions — which last year generated the embarrassing hashtag #OscarsSoWhite — are certain to spark another public relations nightmare for the academy, whose membership is more than 90% white. Many people expected that voters would this year nominate Idris Elba from the African war drama “Beasts of No Nation” for supporting actor, and maybe, as a long shot, Will Smith as lead actor for the NFL brain injury tale, “Concussion.” Benicio Del Toro had also been considered a possible nominee for his role in "Sicario."

Separately, Oscar voters failed to nominate “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in the best picture race. That category was expanded in 2010 to allow up to 10 nominations, in part to make room for more populist films.

While critics and Oscar voters have debated the artistic merits of “Star Wars," there has been no disagreement at all over the film’s popularity. The seventh “Star Wars” epsiode is the top-grossing release in the history of the domestic box office (not adjusted for inflation), and its inclusion this year would have likely brought a bigger TV audience to the Feb. 28 ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The highest-rated Oscar ceremony ever was when “Titanic,” another box office behemoth, took the best picture trophy in 1998.

Still, several big hits at the multiplex — “The Martian” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” — were nominated for best picture in this year’s competition. Those two films will face “The Revenant,” which collected a leading 12 nominations, including best director for Alejandro G. Iñárritu. He could become only the third director to ever win in successive years.  John Ford won for "The Grapes of Wrath” in 1940 and "How Green Was My Valley” in 1941, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz took home trophies for "A Letter to Three Wives” in 1949 and "All About Eve” in 1950.

Other best picture nominees include “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Room” and “Spotlight.”

Among the lead actor nominees, Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant") is seeking his long-elusive first win after four previous acting nominations. Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)  is nominated for the second consecutive year. He won last year for "The Theory of Everything."

The lead actress category includes young newcomers Brie Larson (“Room”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), while the veteran Charlotte Rampling nabbed her first-ever Oscar nomination for “45 Years.” 

The sentimental choice in the supporting actor category is Sylvester Stallone for “Creed.” When his name was announced at the Academy's event Thursday morning, a loud cheer went up from the crowd.

Unfortunately for the academy and its all-white acting nominees, host Chris Rock will have plenty of fodder to talk about race in Hollywood. Last year, host Neil Patrick Harris started the ceremony by remarking, “Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest. Sorry, brightest.”

Given Rock’s brutally honest comedy, look for him to take no prisoners. 

Films with most nominations

Film # of nominations categories
The Revenant 12 Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Costume Design, Visual Effects
Mad Max: Fury Road 10 Best Picture, Directing, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Costume Design, Visual Effects
The Martian 7 Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Bridge of Spies 6 Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Music - Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Writing - Original Screenplay
Carol 6 Actress in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Music - Original Score, Cinematography, Costume Design, Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Spotlight 6 Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing, Writing - Original Screenplay
Star Wars: The Force Awakens 5 Film Editing, Music - Original Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
The Big Short 5 Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Directing, Film Editing, Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Room 4 Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Directing, Writing - Adapted Screenplay
The Danish Girl 4 Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Production Design, Costume Design
Brooklyn 3 Best Picture, Actress in a Leading Role, Writin - Adapted Screenplay
Sicario 3 Music - Original Score, Sound Editing, Cinematography
The Hateful Eight 3 Actress in a Supporting Role, Music - Original Score, Cinematography
Ex Machina 2 Visual Effects, Writing - Original Screenplay
Inside Out 2 Animated Feature Film, Writing - Original Screenplay
Steve Jobs 2 Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Supporting Role

Actor John Krasinski and President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' as a nominee for Best Film Editing during the 88th Oscars Nominations Announcement at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Actor John Krasinski and President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' as a nominee for Best Film Editing during the 88th Oscars Nominations Announcement at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Full list of nominees

Follow the links to KPCC interviews.

Best Picture

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

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 Leading Role

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

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

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

Directing

The Big Short, Adam McKay
Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller
The Revenant, Alejandro G. Iñarritu
Room, Lenny Abrahamson
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy

Documentary Feature

Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom

Documentary Short

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

Film Editing

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

Foreign Language Film

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

Makeup and Hairstyling

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

Music (Original Song)

"Earned It" from Fifty Shades of Grey
"Manta Ray" from Racing Extinction
"Simple Song #3" from Youth
"Til It Happens To You" from The Hunting Ground
"Writing's On The Wall" from Spectre

Music - Original Score

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

Production Design

Bridge of Spies, Adam Stockhausen
Mad Max: Fury Road, Colin Gibson
The Danish Girl, Eve Stewart
The Martian, Arthur Max
The Revenant, Jack Fisk

Short Film (Animated)

Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Short Film (Live Action)

Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok
Stutterer

Sound Editing

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

Sound Mixing

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

Animated Feature Film

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

Cinematography

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

Costume Design

Carol, Sandy Powell
Cinderella, Sandy Powell
Mad Max: Fury Road, Jenny Beavan
The Danish Girl, Paco Delgado
The Revenant, Jacqueline West

Visual Effects

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

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Brooklyn
Carol
Room
The Big Short
The Martian

Writing - Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

This story has been updated.