When the Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning, more than a few names we expected to hear—based on Golden Globe wins, awards-season hype or simply just solid performances—were absent from the roster.
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Carol nabbed six nominations, but the movie was shut out of both Best Picture and Best Director despite love from critics, a BAFTA nod and its quietly beautiful contribution to the canon of love stories. Though the film has a chance to score some statues on Oscar Sunday, its exclusion from the Best Picture field still feels like a disappointment.
David O. Russell’s last three movies—The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle—were all nominated for Best Picture. But instead of Joy being the one to clinch the Oscar, it missed the boat entirely.
The Martian won Best Picture in the Comedy or Musical category at the Golden Globes, and Ridley Scott took home the Globe for Best Director, so it’s surprising to see his name absent from the Best Director field this year—especially given the Academy’s propensity to recognize well-respected actors and directors who are late in their careers without ever having won.
The Hateful Eight received three nominations, but missed the Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director races. Tarantino has won two Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and, despite two nominations, has yet to win Best Director.
The love audiences and critics had for Creed, director Ryan Coogler’s much lauded addition to the Rocky canon, didn’t translate into any Oscar nods beyond Sylvester Stallone’s Supporting Actor nomination, despite widespread recognition of Coogler as a bright new talent—perhaps too new to win the Academy’s votes.
Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander
Mara and Vikander were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress—Mara for Carol and Vikander for The Danish Girl—but many believed they should have been up for Best Actress, as they were at the Golden Globes.
Mirren’s name has frequently come up as an Oscar contender in not one but two films that came out in 2015: Trumbo and Woman in Gold. The Academy recognized her for neither one.
Though Fonda’s screen time in Youth is limited, the actress makes the most of it as a narcissistic, aging movie star who has lost sight of the passion for acting that ignited her in her younger years. A Supporting Actress nomination wasn’t a shoo-in, but she was certainly well within range to land one.
Elba’s performance in Beasts of No Nation earned him nominations for a Globe and a SAG Award, but he won’t be in the running come Oscar Sunday. One could argue that the film's intense subject matter might have hurt his chances—though it was far from the only top movie in 2015 that was difficult to watch.
Many critics and viewers thought Depp’s performance as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass was enough to land him a nod for Best Actor. But Depp, who has publicly questioned the point of actors competing with one another for awards, likely isn't losing sleep over not getting nominated.
Though Smith’s performance in Concussion arguably placed him in the outer ring of contenders for Best Actor, his Globe nomination suggested that he might have a shot at the nomination. As it turned out, his name was not mentioned Thursday morning.
Read more: Review: Concussion Has the Truth on Its Side
The problem with remarkable performances by child actors is that they often get categorized as remarkable performances for a child instead of remarkable performances for an actor. Tremblay’s work in Room falls into the latter category, though stiff competition in both the lead and supporting actor categories made a nomination a long shot for the 9-year-old.
Dano is one of those actors who keeps churning out remarkable performances without snagging too much of the spotlight. His turn as a young Brian Wilson in Love and Mercy looked like it might land him his first Oscar nom, but he was shut out of a competitive field.