The Oscar nominations are out! The nods were announced at the crack of dawn in L.A. this morning, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant leads the race with 12 noms, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road with 10. But it was Sylvester Stallone’s big comeback in Creed that solicited the most cheers at the announcement, our insider tells us. (Way to go, Rocky!) The lack of diversity is already drawing negative attention—and that's not the only surprising thing about this year’s nominations. Scroll down to see what ran through our heads as soon as they were announced. Then, tune in to see who will be named winners on February 28.
1. Way to Freaking Go, Team Leo!
The Revenant earned the most nominations—a whopping 12—including Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor and Tom Hardy for Best Supporting Actor, as well as the highly-coveted Best Picture and Best Director nods. This would be interesting, as the director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, took home the top two prizes last year for Birdman. But it’s DiCaprio who all eyes will be on—he’s earned Oscar nominations for his acting four times before. Many insiders are thinking he’ll take home that ever elusive statue on his fifth try.
2. Two Spotlight Stars Get the Spotlight
The journalism love letter film that is Spotlight is widely regarded as an ensemble film, where one actor doesn’t take precedence over another. It even won the Best Ensemble Film at the Gotham Awards in December 2015. Because it’s obvious: The list of talent in the film includes Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, and Stanley Tucci. Yet, two were surprisingly singled out. Ruffalo earned a Best Supporting Actor nod, while McAdams earned one a Best Supporting Actress. (If we were going to single anyone out, though, it would have been Keaton.) We’re thrilled the movie’s getting this kind of recognition, but if you saw our eyebrows right now, they’re raised.
3. The Best Supporting Actress Is All Switched Around
Surprised by this category’s nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)? Don’t be. It’s an odd one. First, Vikander and Mara switched around. Their roles in their respective films were very much leading ones and they were even both in the Best Actress category at the Globes. But, the studios behind the films campaigned for them to be in Best Supporting, as they would have a better chance at winning, and lo and behold, they landed on the list. Then, McAdams is a total surprise, as noted above. Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kate Winslet are the only ones that really make sense. But what does this mean for Globe-winning Winslet? We’re not sure. (But we’re kind of rooting for Leigh.)
4. After the Grammys, the Weeknd Is Headed to the Oscars
The Weeknd is on a roll. He’s already up for 7 nominations at the Grammys on February 15th, and just 13 days later, he’s going to attend the Oscars for his first-ever Academy Award nomination for “Earned It,” which is up for Best Original Song from Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s pretty incredible for the 25-year-old. Does this mean girlfriend Bella Hadid will be on his arm?
5. Star Wars Slipped Into the Running
There were rumblings in the industry about where the December 18th release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens would land on the Oscar ballot. Sure, it broke records—over a billion dollars at the box office is pretty insane, isn’t it?—but it was too late for consideration at the Golden Globes, and many wondered whether how it would pan out at the Academy Awards. The answer is: overwhelmingly. The futuristic film earned a total of 5 nominations, mostly for its amazing behind-the-scenes magic like sound editing, sound mixing, score, and, of course, visual effects. As for a Best Picture nod? It was overlooked.
6. If You Don’t Know Sandy Powell’s Name, Learn It
Dressing Cate Blanchett in a movie has its benefits. Renowned costume designer Sandy Powell certainly knows this. She just earned two nominations in the Costume Design category—one for her fairytale-like Cinderella and another for her retro '40s throwback, Carol—both of which happen to star Blanchett. Sure, she’s up against bro films like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, as well as the poetic The Danish Girl, but now, she has a 40 percent chance of winning, and we have a good feeling that she’ll take Mr. Oscar for one of the two.