Another year's worth of Oscar nominations are in the book, with few surprises in sight. Here are some trends, notable snubs and other random observations.
Let the record show that the first nomination announced was for ... 50 Shades of Grey. It was nominated for best song.
Survivalism, apparently, is in. The two movies that heard their names announced most often were The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a trapper fighting the elements and his fellow man, led all films with 12 nods. Mad Max, which takes place in a world short on fertility, water, gas, and all those other nice things, trailed close behind with 10. But if I had to bet today, I'd still put my best-picture money on Spotlight, which tallied six nominations.
That #OscarsSoWhite hashtag should continue to get a workout. Aside from a screenplay nomination for Straight Outta Compton, these nominations accentuated Oscar's recent vanilla flavor. Twenty acting nominees, 20 white faces. Potential nominees including Compton, Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), and Michael B. Jordan (Creed) were passed over for more predictable choices. On the plus side, Oscars host Chris Rock should have plenty to talk about.
All in all, these are some pretty boring and predictable nominations. They're also an accurate reflection of an industry afraid to take risks, if not of the people who actually go see movies. I can think of countless missed opportunities to make things more interesting, like a best-picture nod for Ex Machina, or for Inside Out, of for Carol, or for Creed, or for Compton or 45 Years or even Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which nabbed five nominations, all in below-the-line categories). But these kinds of choices would require imagination. And these are, after all, the Oscars.
Cinematographer Roger Deakins will get a chance to win his first Oscar in 13 attempts. He was nominated for Sicario.
In the documentary feature bracket, it's two late songstresses vs. the field. Amy, the tragic story of Amy Winehouse; and What Happened, Miss Simone?, about the jazz and soul great Nina Simone, will go against three films fraught with international crisis: The Look of Silence, Cartel Land and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom.