Big Nomination Surprises

I love surprises like this. It’s part of why we get excited about the Oscar nominations. And although my predictions were 90% correct there were a number of significant surprises for which I am extremely glad.


  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful 8
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

This is the only category I went a straight up 5 for 5 in. My wild cards didn’t come into play. Everything went by the script.


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

THIS on the other hand was full of major surprises. Tom Hardy more than deserves his nomination and I should have at least had him as a wild card. But Stallone is a real shocker. The Golden Globes are really meaningless when it comes to predicting the Oscars. It’s so horribly corrupt Ricky Gervais can even openly joke about it while hosting the Golden Globes and everyone just laughs because they know it’s true. So when Sly won for Creed I chalked it up to another HFPA eye-rolling award. Everybody loves Stallone and I’m happy for him to get this nomination. He’s come full-circle with Rocky Balboa. It’s a nice way to honor his impact on American cinema. It’s just too bad actors like Idris Elba and Jacob Tremblay were left out but it was a deep year for supporting actors. One last thought, I’m bummed Michael Keaton wasn’t nominated for Spotlight. But I’m thrilled he and Mark Ruffalo didn’t cancel each other out.


  • Bridge of Spies
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Inside Out
  • Ex Machina

Both my wild cards came through on this one. And while I think it’s a shame Quentin Tarantino’s excellent script for The Hateful 8 isn’t up I can’t argue with Inside Out and especially Ex Machina getting recognized. Both stellar scripts.


  • The Big Short
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Brooklyn
  • Room

More big surprises here. Jobs out Room in. Pretty amazing considering Aaron Sorkin’s clout and the high quality of the Steve Jobs screenplay. I can only presume the stage play like structure of Jobs hurt him.


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

Once again my wild cards came through. Very pleased about this. I was not impressed with Sarah Silverman in I Smile Back. It just felt like a forced “comedienne being depressed” performance. And nothing against Helen Miren but they nominate her for just about anything so it’s nice to see the bar is still there even for her work. Joy wasn’t a great movie but Jennifer Lawrence really gives a solid performance.


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

Excellent work across the board. It’s hard to think it’s not DiCaprio’s year but he’s got some stiff competition.


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

Room certainly got more love that I thought it would. It is a well-made film but I didn’t realize how much the Academy was taken by the little art house picture. Abrahamson’s directing nomination might have come from the great performance he got out of 8-year old Jacob Tremblay. It’s some of the best child acting I’ve seen and I’m still a little surprised he didn’t get a nomination himself. It looks like they gave the credit to the director. It’s always too bad when another year goes by and Ridley Scott doesn’t win an Oscar. But the guy works like a machine. It’s only a matter of time. I just hope it’s sooner rather than later.


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

So this is pretty much where the wheels came off my predictions. Again, more love to Room than I was expecting. And far less love for Steve Jobs. Thrilled for Mad Max and Brooklyn. And while The Revenant leads the pack with 12 nominations. Max isn’t far behind with 10. Spotlight boasts 6 nominations but 5 of them are in the “Big 7” categories. The way these nominations have gone I wouldn’t rule anything out.

What are your thoughts on the nominations? Tweet at me (@cmselby). Post on the Captions Facebook page. Or comment below.


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