world of tomorrow

This morning’s 2016 Academy Award nominations have created a bit of a stir amongst the internet commentariat, both positive (Yeah! Mad Max: Fury Road for Best Picture and George Miller for Best Director!) and negative (check out #oscarsowhite on Twitter).

But as we do every year, let’s take a brief look at what we define at The Beat as the “nerd categories”; those that focus more on genre-interests and illustration. This year’s line-up is a little bit of an about-face from last year’s set of nominees:

Best Visual Effects:

Ex Machina (review)

Mad Max: Fury Road (review)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (review)

The Martian (review)

The Revenant (review)

Typically this category is a bit of a “ghetto” for action fare. Last year, three comic book based films made the cut. This year, despite two Marvel films seeing release, was a tougher affair, as the category leaned more toward critical darlings that fit the same bill. This is as tough a category to predict as anything that’s “above the line”. Normally in situations like this, you look at what else these films are nominated for in order to get an idea of what might catch momentum. Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and The Revenant are all nominated for Best Picture, while Star Wars: The Force Awakens got a nod for Best Editing. Ex Machina is probably the underdog of the set, but even it is nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

This is a tough one, but my gut instinct is to go with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because when in doubt go with Star Wars, or a very good argument could be made for Fury Road. But…if The Revenant becomes the Best Picture favorite over the next couple of weeks, and Oscar loves Inarritu, don’t be surprised if it wins. This is, by far, the most stacked in quality this category has ever been.

Best Animated Feature Film:

Anomalisa (review coming this week)

Boy and the World

Inside Out (review)

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There (review)

Last year’s set of nominees was a much more open field given that perennial favorite Pixar did not have a major release in 2014. They came back with gusto in 2015 though as Inside Out proved to be one of the best films of their entire canon (and to my mind, perhaps *THE* high point). Given that Inside Out has also been nominated for Best Original Screenplay and was considered a Best Picture contender, it’s unlikely that it will be left empty handed on Oscar Night. Though the Charlie Kaufman fan in me wouldn’t be wrecked to see him carry home some gold for Anomalisa. When Marnie Was There is too minor a Ghibli work to move the needle in their direction one last time, unfortunately.

Best Animated Short:

Bear Story



Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow

While Sanjay’s Super Team was the lone highlight of a pretty turgid experience with The Good Dinosaur, as a big Hertzfeldt fan, my heart is with World of Tomorrow.

One other note of interest, the co-writer of Ant-Man, Adam McKay was nominated for Best Director for his film The Big Short, which was also nominated for Best Picture. And while I’m bummed that Brendan McCarthy can’t be called “Oscar Nominee Brendan McCarthy” for his Fury Road script, I’ll take these few moments that the Academy lines up with our taste a bit.

The winners will be announced on Sunday, February 28th at 8 pm on ABC.





  1. With 20 acting nominees, they couldn’t find one person of color to nominate? Sigh.

    I was hoping Sam Jackson (Hateful Eight) and Michael B. Jordan (Creed) would get nods. Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad were also also excellent in Creed. And Chiwetel Ejiofor was great in a not-so-great movie, Secret in Their Eyes.

    I am glad to see Stallone nominated for Creed, but I’m sure he’ll lose to Mark Rylance or Tom Hardy, because American actors always lose to Brits. Jennifer Jason Leigh was fantastic in Hateful Eight. Kudos to Tarantino for casting a 53-year-old actress in the lead female role, when his financial backers would probably have been happier with Jennifer Lawrence.

    Looks like the supporting races will provide the real interest here. I just wish Oscar Isaac had been nominated for Ex Machina, and Steve Carrell for The Big Short. And Alicia Vikander deserved her nom for Ex Machina, not The Danish Girl. Sicario also deserved some major nominations.

    Get ready for the Star Wars geeks to complain LOUDLY about Force Awakens not getting a Best Picture nomination.

  2. My understanding is that Warner was too slow on the draw to campaign strongly behind Creed, and a lot of its awards potential got nixed because of that. Sadly, the campaign is often as important as the actual quality of the film in matters such as these. But I think Jackson or Jordan easily could have slipped in past Redmayne or Cranston. Idris Elba had a shot in Best Supporting Actor, but unlike Best Actor, that category was stacked to the gills (Carrell was being pushed for Lead). I wouldn’t count Sly out though, not unless The Revenant catches fire and Tom Hardy rides that wave to gold, but Stallone is probably the front-runner at this point.

    For about two minutes there, after it got its editing nod, I figured Star Wars might have gotten in. I’m willing to bet it was next in line.

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