Friday, January 15, 2016

10 random musings on the Oscar nominations

1. Did the Academy figure there are so many black actors and actresses kicking ass on TV right now that they could afford to ignore them all again this year? Or is it that there was no major "black" film that ticked the make-guilty-white-liberals-feel-better-about-themselves-for-watching box? Or is it the fact that Hollywood still thinks storylines like the ones in Room, The Big Short, or The Martian are only believable if they involve characters played by white actors? Newsflash, Academy: There is more to being black than suffering.

2. Two of the Best Actress nominees - Brie Larson and Jennifer Lawrence - are nominated for Joy. Not the film (that honor has been bestowed solely upon J-Law) but the character. Like the role that earned 25-year-old Lawrence her fourth nomination, 26-year-old Larson's Room character is named Joy. Oh, um, joy.

3. Kate Winslet scored her seventh nomination (Best Supporting Actress for Jobs) on the same day that Alan Rickman, her romantic interest in the film for which she earned her first one (1995's Sense and Sensibility), died. Also nominated: the guy who played her romantic interest in the film for which she won nod No. 2 (her Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio - of course - who is a fifth-time nominee for The Revenant).

4. Speaking of The Revenant, the movie's Best Supporting Actor nominee, Tom Hardy, appeared in one other Best Picture nominee, Mad Max: Fury Road.

5. With his Best Supporting Actor nomination for Creed, Sylvester Stallone has now been cited twice for playing the character of Rocky Balboa. He was previously a Best Actor contender for playing Balboa in 1976's Best Picture winner Rocky.

6. Three of the Best Actress nominees - Lawrence, Larson, and Brooklyn's Saoirse Ronan, 21 - are in their twenties. That's three times as many twentysomething nominees as there are in all the other acting categories combined.

7. Is third-time Best Supporting Actor nominee Mark Ruffalo (for Spotlight) en route to becoming Oscar's male Thelma Ritter, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress six times without ever winning? With Stallone and Bridge of Spies' Mark Rylance in the running, he sort of doesn't stand a chance.

8. Every Best Actress contender is nominated for a film with only one word in the title. Meanwhile, both Lawrence and Carol's Cate Blanchett are nominated for playing the titular character, as are two of the Best Actor candidates (Trumbo's Bryan Cranston and Jobs' Michael Fassbender), whose films are both titled after their real-life characters' surnames.

9. At this point, I'd say Best Actor is the only slam dunk. It's DiCaprio's to lose. Best Actress will likely go to Larson, though Ronan and Blanchett remain strong contenders. My gut tells me Stallone will get his lifetime achievement award, but if I were Sly, I wouldn't count out Rylance or Hardy. Best Supporting Actress will probably end up being Mara's, but The Danish Girl's Alicia Vikander is some powerful competition. And Picture and Director are two-horse races, featuring The Revenant vs. Mad Max and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu vs. George Miller. I suspect the Academy will choose a The Revenant/Miller combo.

10. If Carol's Rooney Mara wins Best Supporting Actress (and I'd say the odds are in her favor, unless Winslet edges her out or Vikander pulls an upset), will she finally smile?
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