On the Road to the Oscars
By ELENA POLLACK
The 88th Academy Awards will be hosted by Chris Rock on Sunday, Feb. 28, meaning there is a month to speculate as to who will win. There are some phenomenal actors in the line-up this year, so the competition is running high.
For Best Picture, nominations include “The Big Short,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Spotlight,” “Bridge of Spies,” “The Revenant,” and “Room.”
“The Revenant” is about explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) surviving in the wilderness to find his way home, injured and alone, in the early 1800s. “Bridge of Spies” is about an exchange of prisoners between the USSR and the United States during the Cold War, orchestrated by lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) in order to secure the release of U.S. pilot Francis Gary, played by Austin Stowell. “Room” is about a young woman (Brie Larson) and her son (Jacob Tremblay) escaping from captivity and discovering the outside world. These three movies received rave reviews, and are only three out of eight contenders for the award.
For Best Actor in a Leading Role, nominees include Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”), Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”), Matt Damon (“The Martian”) and, of course, Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”). Eddie Redmayne, a British actor from Westminster, won this category last year for his role as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” He is also well-known for his stunning performance in “Les Miserables,” and he has been chosen to play Newt Scamander in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Michael Fassbender, a German and Irish born actor, is most well-known for his role as a young Magneto in “X-Men”. He is also known for his roles in “Macbeth,” “Prometheus,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Inglorious Bastards,” among others. With the wide variety of his roles and many excellent performances, he definitely deserves to be up there with Redmayne and DiCaprio.
Speaking of DiCaprio, this is his fifth nomination for this category, and “The Revenant” was nominated in 12 categories. The American actor is well-known for his roles in “Titanic,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Inception,” and “The Great Gatsby.” DiCaprio, despite his previous four nominations, has yet to win an Oscar, so many fans are rooting for him this year. With so many great films and so many nominations this year, none of the five nominees in this category are guaranteed the award.
For Actress in a Leading Role, we have Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”), Kate Blanchett (“Carol”), Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”), Brie Larson (“Room”), and Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”).
An American actress, Lawrence is well-known for her roles in “The Hunger Games,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “American Hustle,” and the “X-Men” franchise. Rampling, an English actress, played Kate Mercer in “45 Years,” Frances in “London Spy” and Lady Spencer in “The Duchess.” Ronan is an Irish-American actress, nominated for her role as Eilis Lacey in “Brooklyn.” The 21-year-old actress already has quite an impressive resume, starring in leading roles for films including “Hanna,” “Atonement,” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
There has been a lot of controversy concerning the diversity of the Oscars, especially for this year’s selection. The membership at the Academy, starting after the 2016 Awards, will be based on active work and award winnings. Membership will be renewed every 10 years, so long as the actor in question has remained active. Lifetime memberships will be given to those who maintain three 10 year memberships, or if they have been nominated or won an Award.
For those who do not maintain the 10 year activity requirement, they will still maintain “emeritus status,” but will be unable to vote. Also, three new governing seats will be created, and those seats will be filled by nominations from current President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, for three-year terms.