“We All Dream in Gold”: Oscar Nominations 2016

It’s that time of year again. The list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, was announced on January 14, 2016. The ceremony is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, and will be hosted for the second time by actor-comedian Chris Rock. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will be presenting these awards in 24 categories, to honor 2015’s best English-language films.

Fifty-seven films will be represented this year, with The Revenant leading the pack with 12 nominations in total. Mad Max: Fury Road comes in a close second with 10 nominations, followed by The Martian with 7. One of the year’s highest-grossing films, Star Wars: The Force Awakens nabbed 5 nominations for Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects.

The nominees for six major categories are as follows:

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



Best Director

Adam McKay – The Big Short

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Matt Damon – The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room

Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale – The Big Short

Tom Hardy – The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara – Carol

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Shortly after the nominations were announced, much attention was drawn to the lack of diversity amongst the nominees, for the second consecutive year. The Internet soon saw the resurgence of the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite”.

Several celebrities, including director/producer Spike Lee, actor Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett-Smith have expressed their intentions to boycott the ceremony. Actors George Clooney, Viola Davis, and Lupita Nyong’o have been among those who have openly criticized the lack of diversity in nominations, while Michael Caine, Ice Cube, Charlotte Rampling, and Whoopi Goldberg have come to the defense of the Academy, stating that performance and merit is what matters – and not race.  

President Barack Obama has also weighed in on this controversy, stating: “I think, as a whole, the [film] industry should do what every other industry should do – which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody. And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”

In the wake of this, the Academy has announced its intentions to change the makeup of its voting body, in order to include more women and people of color.

“We are moving forward and will continue to move forward with conversation and action,” Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs told USA Today. “That needs to happen not just within the Academy, but the entire motion picture industry: to nurture, grow (and) promote talent, in front of and behind the camera.”

The Oscars airs live on Sunday, February 28 on ABC, with the red carpet beginning at 7pm EST | 4pm PST, followed by the awards ceremony at 8:30pm EST | 5:30pm PST.