So yeah, as loyal reader Sean Ramsdell noted, the Oscar nominees were announced today. I actually woke up in time to watch them (not too bad considering they were at 7:30 and I had to be at work by 8:15) after getting back from an interview in Boise at 2:30. However, I missed the actual Best Animated Short announcement by Guillermo del Toro and two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee due to computer issues. However, it didn't take too long for the full set of nominees to make it online. The tricky part was just finding time to write about them. I've only seen three of the five, so the full review won't come up until I see the last two.
Here are the nominees for the Best Animated Short category for 2015.
Bear Story (Historia de un Oso)
Sanjay's Super Team
We Can't Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow
Surprisingly enough I got 4/5 right. I predicted Chez Moi over World of Tomorrow because the Academy had traditionally spurned the films of Don Hertzfeldt, and it was also one of only two shortlisted film I had seen at the time. Since then I had watched two more by sitting through The Good Dinosaur to watch Sanjay's Super Team and also finding We Can't Live Without Cosmos online. Interestingly enough all three ended up getting Oscar nominations. So here's hoping we can find Bear Story and Prologue sometime.
As far as the rest of the rest of the competition...
There were some surprises in the Best Animated Feature category. It's nothing as drastic as last year, when supposed front-runner The Lego Movie got knocked out by the beautiful (and deserving) The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, but it's still threw people for a loop. For the longest time the lineup was thought to be Anomalisa, The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, and Shaun the Sheep Movie. However, Dinosaur and Peanuts found themselves sitting on the outside in favor of the foreign films The Boy and the World and Studio Ghibli's final feature length film When Marnie was There. I was glad to see Marnie on the list, since I didn't think it would beat the Golden Globe Five or even The Prophet for the final spot, especially after The Secret World of Arrietty was left out. But now Studio Ghibli finally has their fifth nomination, and first not by Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata. Meanwhile, Anomalisa is the first R-rated film to be nominated. That said, it's hard not seeing Inside Out taking home the win.
Best Picture nominations went to The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight. Left out were critical darling Carol and box office hits (and PGA nominees) Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Straight Outta Compton. The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road were the leaders with 12 and 10 nominations respectively, with the only difference between the two being The Revenant's two acting nominations. They are otherwise competing in all the same categories and it's not hard to see them battling each other the entire night. However, neither of them got any screenplay nominations, so they may not be able to compete for the final award, which would likely go down between The Big Short and Spotlight. I can see The Big Short being ever so slightly ahead, although I'm rooting for Spotlight.
For acting awards, this may finally be the year when Leonardo DiCaprio finally gets the win, for The Revenant. There are no front-runners or actors from Texas like the previous times he'd been nominated, when he had to compete against somebody undeniable and also people from Texas. So the internet may finally be placated. Don't really have anything to say on the other categories, except Jennifer Lawrence gets her fourth nomination (but may eventually lose to Brie Larson for Room). Tom Hardy gets in the Supporting Actor lineup despite little precursor success, but Sylvester Stallone of all people may be the front-runner for Creed. No real front-runners for Best Supporting Actress either, although co-leads Rooney Mara (Carol) and Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) find themselves in the supporting category.
The Best Director category gets some surprise when Ridley Scott (The Martian) was left off in favor of...Lenny Abrahamson for Room. That said, he doesn't really have much of a shot of winning. Whoever wins the DGA award will probably win the Oscar, and that will go a long way in predicting who will win Best Picture. It may very well end up being Adam McKay, the director previously known for his collaboration with Will Ferrell in films such as Anchorman and The Landlord (featured prominently in the Best Picture nominated Boyhood). Not much to say about the other categories except it is mostly Mad Max: Fury Road vs. The Revenant. May the best film win.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Bear Story and Prologue are not available online, and the trailers are available on the post about the shortlist. Sanjay's Super Team is also not available online except for a short clip, but you can still watch it in theaters in showings with The Good Dinosaur. And World of Tomorrow is online, but behind a paywall. That leaves We Can't Live Without Cosmos as the only nominee that is readily available in its entirety online...for now.