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Oscar Nods: A Lovely Day for Retro FX, Digital Bears and Previous Nominees

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CHRIS ROCK“Oh, what a day! What a lovely day!” cries the character Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road, as he mistakenly thinks his arrival in Valhalla is imminent.

And it was indeed a lovely day for this reboot and extension of the Mad Max franchise, which scored the second highest number of nominations, at 10 – behind the increasingly surprising, and momentum-gathering The Revenant, with an even 12.

But it was not such a lovely day if you were a filmmaker, or actor of color, as the Oscars lack of diversity – no best pic pick for Straight Outta Compton, no acting nods for Beasts of No Nation or Creed (beyond Sly Stallone’s return to the nominees circle), etc. – has already become this year’s main storyline.

The Revenant scored 12 nominations.
The Revenant scored 12 nominations.

But aside from Oscar’s “depth perception” in that regard, there were other stories, too, especially in the below-the-line categories.

The visual effects grouping may have undergone a paradigm shift this year, with a bit of a retro aesthetic thrown in, as the mostly practical special effects of the latest Mad Max, (Andrew Jackson & co.) found itself nominated along with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, et al), the small scale “aye, robot,” piece Ex Machina (Andrew Whitehurst and crew), the Damon-stranded-in-space opus The Martian (Richard Stammers and collaborators), and perhaps most surprisingly, Rich McBride and colleagues’ work in The Revenant.

Mad Max: Fury Road earned 10 nominations.
Mad Max: Fury Road earned 10 nominations.

Though maybe Revenant isn’t entirely surprising, since its infamous digital bear is gaining a lot of buzz, but if you notice the big shift in this year’s VFX finalists: No superheroes! Some of these are effects-driven films, of course, but increasingly, the Academy is honoring digital work in the service of not-strictly-genre stories, which is where so much of the future of “FX” work lies.

The Martian also did well both above the line, in the best picture and acting categories, but one of the surprise “snubs” was that Ridley Scott didn’t replicate his DGA nod here, with his presumed “slot” going to Lenny Abrahamson for Room, which takes place in an even more restricted space than Ex Machina.

Other snubs and lauds included Judy Becker’s rather spiffy production design for Carol being overlooked again, as it was in the ADG nominations, though all of Oscar’s eventual nominees in that category are in one of ADG’s as well. That includes Eve Stewart, again collaborating with director Tom Hooper for The Danish Girl: “I am thrilled, and grateful,” she said, “for the acknowledgment from the AMPAS voters. Our movie coalesced beautifully under the guidance of our great director. I proudly share this nomination with Michael Standish, and we are so happy that our wonderful colleagues from The Danish Girl were also recognized.”

The Martian picked up seven nominations.
The Martian picked up seven nominations.

Similarly, costume designer Paco Delgado was also nominated for the film, saying he found himself “speechless after seeing my name in the nominees list this year. My team and I are so grateful to my fellow members to have thought that my work in The Danish Girl is worthy of such important award… To be nominated is a massive honor, particularly among the other amazing designers, whose work I profoundly admire. What a big reward!”

Indeed, Delgado found a little more speech later on nomination morn, when Below the Line caught up with him, and he expanded on his praise for his fellow nominees, in another wide-ranging category that takes in not only “costumey” films like Carol and Cinderella (a duopoly for designer Sandy Powell), but also the aforementioned Mad Maxand Revenant.

The Danish Girl garnered four nominations.
The Danish Girl garnered four nominations.

Delgado said he was a “big fan of everyone” in his category, calling Powell a “great, great designer,” and praising both Jenny Beavan and Jacqueline West’s “style and textures” for their work in Fury Road and The Revenant, respectively.

He also called Lili Elbe, the character for which Eddie Redmayne scored a return best actor nomination, “a brave woman and pioneer.” He said he hoped the film, and his work, would “help a lot of people having transgender issues – people going through the same issues as Lili had.”

So Oscar will take what diversity it can.

Carol earned six nominations.
Carol earned six nominations.

And from diversity (or lack thereof) to divergence, Oscar not only diverged a little from DGA, but also from the ASC finalists: Ed Lachman for Carol, John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road, potential three-peater Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki for The Revenant, and Roger Deakins for Sicario all lined up with the ASC endorsements.

But the Academy also put Robert Richardson’s widescreen work on The Hateful Eight into the mix, whereas the ASC gave that last slot to Janusz Kaminski for Bridge Of Spies.

As for Deakins, he now has the most cinematography nominations of any living lenser, at 13. Sandy Powell is right behind him in the costume category at 12 (though she’ll have a while to catch up to Edith Head’s 35, even at two nods a year).

Bridge of Spies earned six nominations.
Bridge of Spies earned six nominations.

On the sound mixing side, Andy Nelson – a double-dipper like Powell, with two nominations – scored for Bridge of Spies and the latest Star Wars, which allowed him to tie Kevin O’Connell (of Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and other fames) in that category, at 20.

And speaking of Star Wars, John Williams was also nominated for his latest score for the franchise – how do you resist, really? – bringing his own overall total to a whopping 50 nominations, second only to Walt Disney at 59, for most reasons ever, in a single human lifetime, to put on a tux in L.A. in winter.

Musically, though, Thomas Newman was also nominated for his work on Bridge of Spies (his 13th) making the Newman family (Lionel, Alfred, Randy, et al) the most nominated of clans, at 89.

All well and good. Though we will be hearing more and more, whether Oscar can at least spare a lone nomination or two, for folks who’ve never gotten them before.

The nominees for the 88th Academy Awards are:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

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

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

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

Performance by an actress in a leading role

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

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

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

Best animated feature film of the year

Anomalisa – Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
Boy and the World – Alê Abreu
Inside Out – Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie – Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There – Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Achievement in cinematography

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

Achievement in costume design

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

Achievement in directing

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

Best documentary feature

Amy – Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land – Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence – Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone? – Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom – Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best documentary short subject

Body Team 12 – David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, beyond the Lines – Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah – Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness – Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom – Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Achievement in film editing

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

Best foreign language film of the year

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

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road – Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared – Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Revenant – Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
Sicario – Jóhann Jóhannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio

“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty

“Simple Song #3” from Youth
Music and Lyric by David Lang

“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best motion picture of the year

The Big Short – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

Bridge of Spies – Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers

Brooklyn – Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

Mad Max: Fury Road – Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers

The Martian – Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers

The Revenant – Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers

Room – Ed Guiney, Producer

Spotlight – Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Achievement in production design

Bridge of Spies – Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich

The Danish Girl – Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish

Mad Max: Fury Road – Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson

The Martian – Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak

The Revenant – Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best animated short film

Bear Story – Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
Prologue – Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
Sanjay’s Super Team – Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
We Can’t Live without Cosmos – Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow – Don Hertzfeldt

Best live action short film

Ave Maria – Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
Day One – Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut) – Patrick Vollrath
Shok – Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer – Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing

Mad Max: Fury Road – Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian – Oliver Tarney
The Revenant – Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Sicario – Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Matthew Wood and David Acord

Achievement in sound mixing

Bridge of Spies – Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin

Mad Max: Fury Road – Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

The Martian – Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth

The Revenant – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects

Ex Machina – Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

Mad Max: Fury Road – Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams

The Martian – Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner

The Revenant – Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Adapted screenplay

The Big Short – Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

Brooklyn – Screenplay by Nick Hornby

Carol – Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy

The Martian – Screenplay by Drew Goddard

Room – Screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original screenplay

Bridge of Spies – Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

Ex Machina – Written by Alex Garland

Inside Out – Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen

Spotlight – Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy

Straight Outta Compton – Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

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