The film picked up nominations in half the possible categories, including best picture, as well as a surprise nod for Tom Hardy as best supporting actor for a total of 12 nominations.
Another gritty tale of outback survival – Australian apocalypse hit Mad Max: Fury Road – picked up 10 nominations to take it into second place. Meanwhile a third populist story about a man battling harsh nature and hostile adversaries – sci-fi yarn The Martian – came in third with 10.
Eight films were nominated for best picture, with Spotlight, Bridge of Spies, The Big Short, Room and Brooklyn completing the list.
There was good news for Charlotte Rampling, who was nominated for best actress for her role in Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, despite being snubbed at the Baftas.
Todd Haynes’s Carol took six nominations (but not best picture); the same as investigative journalism thriller Spotlight and Bridge of Spies.
Steven Spielberg, the man behind Bridge of Spies, was not included on the best director shortlist, while George Miller for scored a surprise nod for Mad Max: Fury Road, as did Lenny Abrahamson for Room. However, Martian director Ridley Scott did not get a nomination, despite concerted efforts by the film’s star, Matt Damon (who is up for best actor).
Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for best actress for the third time for Joy, the biopic of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano, said: “I am beyond grateful and humbled by this nomination … For me, working with David O. Russell has been nothing short of extraordinary, and I share this nomination with him as well as our incredible supporting cast.”
Brie Larson, also nominated for best actress for Room, tweeted that she was “overjoyed”.
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) January 14, 2016
Mark Rylance, who was nominated for Bridge of Spies, said: “It is a delight to be celebrated as a supporting actor in Steven’s beautiful film … May I say, I am particularly proud to be nominated as a supporting actor, as I find the level of supporting acting in films these days utterly convincing and very often extremely moving, even the smallest parts.”
The nominations were announced at the Oscars’ headquarters in Beverly Hills by John Krasinski, Guillermo del Toro, Ang Lee and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The winners will be revealed at a ceremony in Hollywood on 28 February, hosted by Chris Rock.
Rock will be one of the few black people on stage during the ceremony. Following outcry last year at the lack of non-white nominees – including Selma director and lead actor Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo, this year’s list looks to contain yet less diversity. Even the authors of the script for NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton – who are up for best original screenplay – are all white. Veteran rights campaigner Rev Al Sharpton criticised the nominations, tweeting “Hollywood has a fraudulent image of progressive and liberal politics” and “The higher u climb the whiter”.
All white Oscar nominations are another example of the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Like the Rocky Mts. The higher u climb the whiter.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) January 14, 2016
Sylvester Stallone capitalised on his Golden Globe win for supporting actor with a nomination for his work in Creed, but neither his co-star Michael B Jordan or his director Ryan Coogler were nominated. Likewise Idris Elba, who had been thought a likely contender for best supporting actor for his work in Beasts of No Nation.
With Carol and The Danish Girl doing less well than expected, the Oscars also appear to have lost appetite for non-straight stories. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara were considered shoo-ins for best actress and supporting actress respectively, but Todd Haynes failed to gain a best director nomination, and the film was not in the best picture list.
Going into the race, Spotlight had been considered one of the Oscar frontrunners, but appears to have fallen away somewhat. Despite plaudits for its cast, it managed only two supporting actor nods, and failed to make headway in most of the technical and craft categories.
With a best actor nomination for The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio must be considered a strong favourite for the award, after three previous failed attempts in the category. Di Caprio said in a statement: “Making The Revenant was one of the most rewarding and collaborative experiences of my life. None of this would have been possible without Alejandro’s talent, vision and determination.”
DiCaprio’s director, Iñárritu, could well make it two in two, however, after winning the best director award last year for Birdman – and the film’s director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki, is much fancied for three in three, after back to back wins for Birdman and Gravity. If Lubezki does win, it will mean further disappointment for celebrated British cinematographer, who has already been nominated 12 times in the category without taking home the statuette.
The much-vaunted advance of streaming sites Netflix and Amazon looks also to have been thwarted, with neither of their much-touted films, Beasts of No Nation (Netflix) and Chi-Raq (Amazon) finding Oscar favour. On the other hand, Pixar’s much-liked Inside Out broke out of its specialist animation category by picking up a best original screenplay nod.