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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Oscars 2016: “The Revenant” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” Lead the Pack

Every year an elderly group of mostly white men vote on the most prestigious awards in film and inspires everybody else to argue about their decisions. Half the fun of the Oscars is rooting for your favorites while amping up some faux-rage to unleash when predictable candidates take home the same awards they did last year. Here’s the scoop on this year’s crop of award nominees. Spoiler alert: they’re all white. Again.

People were pissed when the Academy snubbed director Ava DuVernay a win for her film Selma. They’re upset this year for similar reasons — a whitewashed group of acting nominees. The problem is two-fold — first in that the crop of potential ethnic nominees was strong with the strong (largely black) casts of films “Creed”, “Straight Outta Compton”, and “Beasts of No Nation”. In particular, Idris Elba was considered a strong candidate for Actor in a Supporting for his part in “Beasts of No Nation”. An overlooking of qualified nominees is one thing, but this also speaks to the lack of films featuring minorities in prominent roles. There’s always next year, but part of Oscars tradition is implementing a “two steps forward, one step back” philosophy to issues such as these.

The Academy looked outside of its normal sphere with its praise for Mad Max: Fury Road

One positive takeaway from the nominations is “Mad Max: Fury Road’s” 10 nominations, second most of any film. The Academy and its voters tend to award the same type of films year in and year out, but “Mad Max: Fury Road” is not the typical Oscars fare. An Australian post-apocalyptic action that functions as a two-hour chase scene is not the film that comes to when thinking of the Oscars. Winning and being nominated are two far different battles, and “Mad Max’s” awards fate will be one storyline to watch heading into awards night.

Netflix’s distribution of “Beasts of No Nation” dashed any potential nominations

Netflix made waves in 2015 with its first purchase and distribution of a new film. The movie, which chronicles the journey of a child soldier in Africa, garnered zero nominations across all categories. Whether or not this is a message being sent from the Academy to Netflix as a rebuke for messing with their racket is debatable, but it’s impossible to get less recognition than zero nominations.

Best Animated Feature may not go to a children’s film for the first time ever

Children’s movies, and in particular those helmed by Pixar, have had a stranglehold on the Animated Feature award since its inception in 2001. This year a new contender has emerged in “Anomalisa”, a realistic stop-motion feature from Charlie Kaufman, the mind behind “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “Being John Malkovich”, and “Adaptation”. The award figures to be a two horse race between “Anomalisa” and Pixar’s yearly movie offering “Inside Out”.

Best Cinematography looks to be a loaded field

The favorite here is Emmanuel Lubezki for his work on the gorgeous film “The Revenant”, but the rest of the category is filled with strong candidates. “The Hateful Eight”, the latest film from Quentin Tarantino, was shot on 70mm film, a throwback that is rare in the digital age. Industry veteran Roger Deakins picked up his 13th nomination for his work on the border thriller “Sicario”, and “Mad Max: Fury Road” landed one of its ten nominations here.

Expect Alejandro Iñárritu’s film “The Revenant” to clean up on awards night

Iñárritu, fresh off his Best Picutre and Best Director win for “Birdman” last year, looks to take this year’s awards by storm as his film “The Revenant” received the most nominations of any film with 12 nominations. After sweeping the Golden Globes by winning Best Director, Best Picture (Drama), and Best Actor for leading man Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” appears to be the favorite to receive the most calls to the stage on February 28th.

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