GeekNation’s 2016 Oscar Nomination Picks

By January 13, 2016
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The nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards are right around the corner and everyone is making their own predictions as to who will be nominated for Hollywood’s most popular award. But instead of listing who we think will make the cut, we’ve decided instead to list who we’d personally like to see get nominated. So we asked two of our writers, Matt Brown and Rachel Cushing, to fill out their own ballots and see whose names they’d like to hear called tomorrow morning.

Matt:
I’ve had something of a love-hate relationship with the Oscars for several years. Every year I look forward to them only to be disappointed and vow to give up on them, only to become wrapped up in awards season the next year. They always seem to favor certain genres or more specific types of films over others, leaving out truly great films that don’t fit the Oscar mold, leaving out a diverse selection of nominees (however you wish to define that), not to mention their habit of picking ten films and just spreading them out over every category, and yet deep down I still find myself getting excited for the nominations every year and even keeping track of the other awards, from big stuff like the Golden Globes down to the less glamorous ones like the WGAs.

So after consuming countless films this year, I was eager to “get it right” and make my own picks to save time on complaining come the morning of the nominees. What I tried to do is take each category individually as opposed to picking one movie and seeing what category it fit in. That’s how I ended up with Straight Outta Compton for Best Picture but no other categories, and Steve Jobs for Actor, Director, and Screenplay but not Best Picture. It can be a little puzzling even as I look back on my nominees, but I wanted to clarify that.

Rachel:
Movies, like all art, are subjective…but that doesn’t stop us from watching, analyzing, and debating…which, of course, all comes to a head during Oscar Season. But that’s part of the fun, right? I definitely agree with Matt that the Oscars, largely considered the most prestigious of all the film awards given out each year, don’t always get it right. Politics are inevitably a part of the process (just ask Harvey Weinstein how many golden statues he’s collected) and there is often a sense of “traditionalism” that plays a part in who gets nominated (and wins). But I still can’t help but love them, as they can sometimes surprise, almost always shine a light on smaller, less seen films, and provide a fun opportunity to gather with friends, talk movies, and maybe win an Oscar pool or two. Most of all, though, I love them because they celebrate film and the people who collaborate to make movies happen.

2015 was, quite simply, a great year for film. I’ve heard some argue that 2014 was better, but I have to say that choosing my nominees was a much harder prospect this year. I absolutely love the variety of movies that are represented in my ideal nominations (below) – some are big, others small, some new, some nostalgic, a few are emotional and/or thoughtful, while a couple of others are incredibly intense and frightening. Plus there are some that are just plain fun.

So, without further ado, here are our picks for this year’s Oscar Nominees, and check out some more of our thoughts and reactions below.

Matt’s picks:

Best Picture
Beasts of No Nation
Creed
Ex Machina
Inside Out
It Follows
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Room
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Straight Outta Compton

Best Director
Danny Boyle – Steve Jobs
Ryan Coogler – Creed
Cary Joji Fukunaga – Beasts of No Nation
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott – The Martian

Best Actor
Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
Matt Damon – The Martian
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Michael B. Jordan – Creed
Shameik Moore – Dope

Best Actress
Blythe Danner – I’ll See You In My Dreams
Brie Larson – Room
Rooney Mara – Carol
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Supporting Actor
Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
Harrison Ford – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Richard Jenkins – Bone Tomahawk
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Jacob Tremblay – Room

Best Supporting Actress
Elizabeth Banks – Love & Mercy
Cate Blanchett – Cinderella
Olivia Cooke – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria
Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

Best Original Screenplay
Clouds of Sils Maria
Cop Car
Ex Machina
I’ll See You In My Dreams
Inside Out

Best Adapted Screenplay
Anomalisa
The Martian
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Room
Steve Jobs

Best Animated Film
Anomalisa
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie

Best Cinematography
Beasts of No Nation

Creed
It Follows
Macbeth
Mad: Max Fury Road

Best Editing
Blackhat
Mad Max: Fury Road
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Steve Jobs
Unfriended

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies
Crimson Peak
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Jupiter Ascending
Tomorrowland

Best Costume Design
Cinderella
Mad Max- Fury Road
Crimson Peak
Dope
Kingsman: The Secret Service

Best Original Score
Carol
Creed
The Hateful Eight
It Follows
Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Original Song
I’ll See You In My Dreams (I’ll See You In My Dreams)
Love Me Like You Do (Fifty Shades of Grey)
See You Again (Furious 7)
Til It Happens To You (The Hunting Ground)
True Survivor (Kung Fury)

Best Visual Effects
Everest
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Walk

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Cinderella
Crimson Peak
The Hateful Eight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Trumbo

Best Sound Mixing
Ant-Man
Bone Tomahawk
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Best Sound Editing
Furious 7
Mad Max: Fury Road
Room
Spectre
Steve Jobs

Rachel’s picks:

Best Picture
Carol
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Sicario
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Director
Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott – The Martian

Best Actor
Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Emily Blunt – Sicario
Brie Larson – Room
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Best Supporting Actor
Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
Benicio Del Toro – Sicario
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Jacob Tremblay – Room

Best Supporting Actress
Joan Allen – Room
Jane Fonda – Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria
Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

Best Original Screenplay
Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
Love & Mercy
Spotlight

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Brooklyn
The Martian
Room
Steve Jobs

Best Animated Film
Inside Out
The Good Dinosaur
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Best Cinematography
Beasts of No Nation
Macbeth
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Best Editing
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Steve Jobs

Best Production Design
Brooklyn
Crimson Peak
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Costume Design
Brooklyn
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
The Revenant

Best Original Score
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out

Best Original Song
“I’ll See You In My Dreams”- I’ll See You In My Dreams
“Phenomenal”- Southpaw
“See You Again”- Furious 7
“Simple Song #3”- Youth
“Til It Happens To You”- The Hunting Ground

Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
The Martian
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Walk

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Black Mass
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Sound Mixing
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Spectre
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Editing
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Matt:
I’ve got to admit, some of these were harder than I thought they’d be, Best Supporting Actor in particular. I had to leave out great performances like Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight), Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Joel Edgerton (The Gift and Black Mass), Paul Giamatti (Straight Outta Compton and Love & Mercy), Michael Angarano (The Stanford Prison Experiment), just to name a few (although cutting Kate Winslet and Jennifer Jason Leigh from Best Supporting Actress wasn’t easy either).

Rachel:
I couldn’t agree with you more, Matt! Leaving out Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), and Harvey Keitel (Youth) was pretty gut-wrenching for me! Another category that was really tough was Best Cinematography. Though I can’t imagine anyone standing in the way of Emmanuel Lubezki and his three-peat (for Gravity, Birdman, and, hopefully, this year’s The Revenant), 2015 was, visually speaking, an incredible year. Even beyond the seven films we nominated between us, this year also gave us films like Bridge of Spies, The Walk, The Martian, The Assassin, and Youth – all of which did amazing things with color, shot composition, and camera movement.

Matt:
There were a lot of films this year like Mad Max and Macbeth where every shot is like a painting, but I also tried to include some that included the things you mentioned at the end like composition and movement for films like Creed and It Follows. Plus it helped me give credit to some films like those that will probably be overlooked by the Academy.

Rachel:
It looks like we both really loved Ex Machina, Inside Out, The Martian, and Mad Max: Fury Road, but I think I’m a little more into some of those “Oscar mold” movies you mentioned earlier; films like Brooklyn, The Danish Girl, and Spotlight. I’m impressed by how many times It Follows shows up on your list as it really blew me away, despite my not really being a horror film person. And, can I just say, the fact that you managed to include Jupiter Ascending as one of your dream Oscar nominees (for Production Design) is, quite simply, gutsy!

Matt:
There were plenty of Oscar movies (and even some overlooked gems) that I liked that I just couldn’t find room for. And while I freely admit that I enjoyed Jupiter Ascending more than most people, I also think a movie doesn’t need to be brilliant in the major categories to excel in some of these technical categories. Plus there’s nothing wrong with veering closer to the “Oscar mold” just like there’s nothing wrong with me giving credit to horror or sci-fi in major categories. I also clearly have several picks that the Academy will probably mirror.

Speaking of, I also noticed how both of us seemed to correct the category fraud, you with Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl and me with Rooney Mara for Carol, putting them in Lead Actress where they belong, as opposed to Supporting Actress.

Rachel:
Yeah, that whole scenario is just too strange – both Mara and Vikander are clearly in lead roles, so we treated them as such.

Some other interesting observations: you have Creed nominated five times, while I only have it once (for Stallone) and though I’ve nominated The Revenant in a whopping nine categories, you did not include it all! Other films only one of us included with multiple nominations; Spotlight (Rachel), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Matt), Anomalisa (Matt), The Big Short (Rachel), Sicario (Rachel), and Dope (Matt).

Matt:
Yeah, I um *cough* I didn’t like The Revenant… sorry.

And yet, despite how different our overall approaches were and what films we seem to favor, there isn’t a single category where at least one of our nominees don’t overlap.

Rachel:
Very true! And no apologies necessary – one of the things I love so much about film is the variety inherent in the medium. What affects one person doesn’t necessarily affect another, and it doesn’t make anyone right or wrong – we’re all just passionate about movies! As I said, there was such a great variety of films in 2015 and I think both our lists reflect that, which is how it should be.

Matt:
Well no matter how you slice it, 2015 will always be remembered as the year I deemed Jupiter Ascending and Blackhat more worthy of an Oscar nomination than The Revenant and Spotlight… please be nice in the comments.

Rachel:
Thanks Matt, and thanks to you, readers, as well! Comment below with your dream nominees and be sure to keep coming back to Geeknation.com as we continue our coverage of the Oscar season!

Article co-authored by Rachel Cushing Matt Brown

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Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Matt is a writer of all sorts and a film addict who's still waiting for his Hogwarts acceptance letter. If you find him at a party, he's probably talking about Xena or doing a Nicolas Cage impression.