The nominees for the 88th Academy Awards, which will be held on Feb. 28 in Hollywood, were announced on the morning of Jan. 14. As with any slate of nominees, there are many newcomers alongside a host of familiar faces. Let’s look at the big six categories and their aggregated favorites in advance of the big ceremony.
Best Picture – “The Big Short”
The Adam McKay-helmed financial crisis dramatic comedy holds the best odds, but Best Picture may be the closest race of them all. Tom McCarthy’s journalism drama “Spotlight” remains a common pick, and “The Revenant also has a formidable shot. “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Martian,” which were both big winners at the box office during various parts of 2015, remain outside the bubble. “Room” and “Bridge of Spies” also picked up nominations to complete the seven-nominee field.
Best Director – Alejandro González Iñárritu, “The Revenant”
Iñárritu, who won last year for “Birdman,” could surely repeat with “The Revenant,” a strenuous shoot that eventually became one of the year’s finest looking movies. McKay and McCarthy are in the mix, and could also find themselves as Best Picture winners.
The dark horse is industry veteran George Miller, whose return to the “Mad Max” franchise resulted in one of the best-received action movies of all time.
Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
This is certainly the year for DiCaprio, who won universal acclaim for his dedicated physical work on “The Revenant.” Expect him to give his first speech. Michael Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne garnered critical praise for “Steve Jobs” and “The Danish Girl,” respectively, but neither has a real chance to bring home the hardware. Bryan Cranston and Will Smith round out the field.
Best Actress – Brie Larson, “Room”
Larson has earned favorite status for her emotional turn as a single mother in “Room,” although she is not nearly as assured a victor as DiCaprio. Her most formidable competitor is fellow rising star Saoirse Ronan, who turned in an affecting performance of her own in “Brooklyn.” The other nominees for the award are Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and Charlotte Rampling.
Best Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
The races for Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress both appear to be wide open. Stallone’s return to the Rocky character in “Creed” appears to have the lead by the slimmest of the margins, while Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance could be considered favorites for their work in “The Revenant” and “Bridge of Spies,” respectively.
Also, don’t count out Christian Bale or Mark Ruffalo, both Oscar mainstays that delivered crucial turns in Best Picture nominees.
Best Supporting Actress – Rooney Mara, "Carol"
Mara sits atop another tight race, with Alicia Vikander right behind her for her performance in “The Danish Girl.” Both actresses were entered in the supporting field after receiving nominations as leads at the Golden Globes. Kate Winslet has a shot after her acclaimed turn in “Steve Jobs,” and Jennifer Jason Leigh’s aggressive work in “The Hateful Eight” has given her deserved dark horse status.
Tyler Keating is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.