Dueling Critics: 2016 Oscar Nominations

15:30 February 22, 2016
By: David Vicari, Fritz Esker

Where Y'at's film editor David Vicari and critic Fritz Esker share their thoughts and predictions on this year's Oscar nominations. The 88th Academy Awards airs on February 28.

Fritz: No one person will ever be completely happy with Oscar nominations. It'll never perfectly match up with your tastes. This year, I think the Academy did a pretty good job with the Best Picture nominees. But as always, there were a few snubs and some cases where I wish they would have chosen differently. 

I think Alicia Vikander is a very talented actress, so I'm happy she got nominated for The Danish Girl. But...I wish she actually would have been nominated for her work in Ex Machina (which received a Best Original Screenplay nomination). As a robot trapped inside a billionaire's compound, she keeps you guessing as to exactly what her character is thinking and planning.

Rooney Mara gives an excellent performance in Carol, but she should be nominated alongside Cate Blanchett as Best Actress, not as Best Supporting Actress. It's clear the studio wanted to maximize the chances of both women being nominated, but to say Mara is a supporting character in Carol is absurd.

Lastly, Samuel L. Jackson once again proves to be Quentin Tarantino's best collaborator. He helps make Tarantino's extremely talky script for The Hateful Eight come alive. I would've liked to see him nominated for Best Actor. I'm not sure who I'd replace with him, as I haven't yet seen Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl or Bryan Cranston in Trumbo.

What about you? Who were you rooting for who didn't get a nomination?


David: I would liked to have seen Charlize Theron get a Best Actress nod for Mad Max: Fury Road. The film did get 10 nominations, mostly in the technical categories but none in acting. Theron plays a strong central female character and all the delirious stunts, breath-taking photography and kinetic editing would have been somewhat less effective without her full-blooded performance. 

I also wish Paolo Sorrentino's Youth, a quirky drama with Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor on holiday, had been shown some Oscar love. Caine is marvelous, as is Rachel Weisz as his daughter and Harvey Keitel as his movie director best friend. The most astounding performance, though, is by Jane Fonda as a vapid aging actress and Keitel's ex-wife. Her role is small (she only has two scenes) but when she is on screen, she commands it.

I am glad to see Brie Larson nominated for Best Actress in Room. She is a fine actress and has been doing some excellent work in the past few years. 


Fritz: I was happy for Larson, too. She deserved a nomination in 2013 for Short Term 12 (that she didn't get), and she deserves it for her work in Room

Hardy and Theron's work in Fury Road was underappreciated, but that's often the case with action movie acting. I was definitely happy to see George Miller get a nomination for Best Director, though.

Predictions in the major categories? I say Spotlight wins Best Picture, Leonardo DiCaprio wins Best Actor for The Revenant, Larson wins Best Actress for Room, Sylvester Stallone wins Best Supporting Actor for Creed, Rooney Mara wins Best Supporting Actress for Carol, and Miller wins Best Director for Mad Max: Fury Road.


David: Totally in agreement with you! 

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