With such a crowded field for this year’s Oscars race, there were bound to be big curveballs from the Academy Awards nominations on Thursday morning.
But the most disappointing outcome is that, for the second consecutive year, all 20 of the acting nominees are white. No Michael B. Jordan or Tessa Thompson for “Creed”? No Idris Elba or Abraham Attah for “Beasts of No Nation”? No Will Smith for “Concussion”? And the cast of “Straight Outta Compton” was also shut out. There’s no doubt that yet another year of an all-white Oscars, which is being widely criticized on Twitter, will be addressed by host Chris Rock at the Feb. 28 telecast.
The Academy also managed to omit “Carol” from this year’s best picture race, marking the first time since 2008 that a movie backed by Harvey Weinstein isn’t competing in the top Oscars category. “The Revenant” led all films with 12 nominations, closely followed by 10 nominations for “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Here are the biggest snubs and surprises.
SNUB: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Nominating the most gigantic movie in history (with a domestic box office tally of $820 million and growing) for best picture would have ensured that the Oscars telecast received a big boost in viewership. But the latest installment of “Star Wars” only picked up five nods in the technical categories like sound and editing.
SNUB: Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
Scott was expected to win the best director category this year for his ambitious space epic starring Matt Damon. But like Ben Affleck for “Argo,” the director’s branch of the Academy overlooked him. However, he is nominated for best producer since “The Martian” was recognized in the best picture race.
SNUB: Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Elba was expected to be included in the best supporting actor category for potraying the commandant in Cary Fukunaga’s drama set in West Africa. Although “Beasts” received a SAG ensemble nomination, and had strong support from within the Academy’s actors branch, it failed to pick up any Oscar nominations, despite a big push from Netflix for its inaugural original feature.
SNUB: Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”
After a Golden Globe win and a WGA nod, Sorkin seemed a sure thing for a nomination for his “Steve Jobs” screenplay. Instead, he was shut out while “Brooklyn’s” Nick Hornby snuck in.
SNUB: Michael Keaton, “Spotlight”
All the actors in “Spotlight” were placed in the best supporting actor categories — and while that meant good news for Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, who were both nominated today, Michael Keaton was left out. In retrospect, Open Road Films probably should have competed him in the lead actor category.
SNUB: Johnny Depp, “Black Mass”
Depp was an early favorite in this year’s Oscars race for playing James “Whitey” Bulger in the Warner Bros. gangster drama. But he might have peaked too soon, and his reluctance to campaign made it difficult for Oscar voters to remember the performance.
SNUB: Will Smith, “Concussion”
Smith stretched — and adopted a Nigerian accent — to play Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered a link between NFL players and permanent brain trauma. Although he hosted many Academy Q&As to support the Sony Pictures release, the lukewarm reviews for the film may have hurt him.
SNUB: Jacob Tremblay, “Room”
“Room” performed surprisingly well — with nominations for best picture, best director (Lenny Abrahamson) and best actress (Brie Larson) — but it’s hard to understand how the Academy failed to recognize the film’s central performance by astonishing newcomer Jacob Tremblay. The decision by A24 to campaign him in best supporting actor, although he appears in almost every scene, may have confused voters. If he had been nominated as best actor, he would have been the youngest actor ever to appear in the category — tying Jackie Cooper (1931’s “Skippy”) — at age 9.
SNUB: Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”
At 28, Michael B. Jordan is one of Hollywood’s most promising young stars. The Academy overlooked his breakthrough role in 2013’s “Fruitvale Station,” and also didn’t give him any love for “Creed,” despite the film’s $105 million box office take and an impressive physical transformation to play a professional boxer in the “Rocky” reboot.
SNUB: Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
Don’t get too sad for the breakout Swedish actress, because the Academy nominated her in the best supporting actress race for “The Danish Girl” instead of this sci-fi indie hit.
SNUB: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
The critically acclaimed role from the “Twilight” star made her the first American actress to take home the Cesar Award (the French equivalent of the Oscar), and nabbed her a New York Film Critics Circle prize. But in the end, not enough Oscar voters saw this small drama directed by Olivier Assayas that premiered at Cannes nearly two years ago.
SNUB: Helen Mirren, “Trumbo” and “Woman in Gold”
The beloved actress landed Golden Globe and SAG Award nods for “Trumbo” and a SAG nod for “Woman in Gold,” but found herself empty-handed this morning.
SNUB: Todd Haynes, “Carol”
After “Far From Heaven” and this year’s “Carol,” it’s criminal that Haynes has yet to be Oscar nominated in the Oscars best director category. His lack of a nomination from the DGA earlier this week was a bad omen.
SURPRISE: Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Even with her Golden Globes win, many pundits were guessing that Jennifer Lawrence wouldn’t receive a best actress Oscar nomination for playing Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano in the David O. Russell comedy, which received mixed reviews. But America’s sweetheart triumphed again. This is Lawrence’s fourth Oscar nomination —at 25, which is a record for the most Oscar nominations for an actor that young. For comparison’s sake: Meryl Streep was 33 when she earned her fourth Oscar nomination for “The Deer Hunter” in 1983.
SURPRISE: Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
With 12 nominations, the Academy showed its love for the wilderness epic directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, but Hardy — who failed to land a SAG or Golden Globe nomination — was still a darkhorse in a crowded supporting actor field. This is the British actor’s first Oscar nomination, and it’s well-deserved.
SURPRISE: Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
After the DGA nominations were announced this week, many thought that if the Academy offered any surprises, it would be the inclusion of Todd Haynes for “Carol.” But instead, the Oscars director’s branch snuck in Lenny Abrahamson for his indie “Room,” over both Haynes and Ridley Scott (“The Martian”).
SURPRISE: Carter Burwell, “Carol”
This is only a surprise because Burwell, one of the best composers working today, who has scored films like “Fargo” and “True Grit,” has never been nominated before.
Jenelle Riley also contributed to this report.