The beginning of 2016 marks the end of another year in cinema. With Oscar season in full bloom, award contenders prepare their speeches for the possibility of ending up onstage at the Dolby Theatre.
The 88th Academy Awards brings an onslaught of fresh blood in the nominations while also honoring those with established Oscar records.
Fan-favorite Leonardo DiCaprio returns for his fifth nomination since 1994, when he was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”
His role as a fur-trader in the 2015 film “The Revenant” earned him a Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination after he slept in animal carcasses and ate raw bison liver.
DiCaprio’s time may have finally come as he is the frontrunner in the race, followed by Eddie Redmayne for his role in “The Danish Girl.”
“(DiCaprio) has waited way too long,” said Wyatt Faller, sophomore marketing major. “He’s done some amazing stuff and it’s almost become a joke that he hasn’t had any recognition from the academy for that. ‘The Revenant’ is a spectacular survival story, and with the amount of work that went into this type of film — he should get the award.”
Another top award for an individual is given to Best Actress in a Leading Role, for whom Brie Larson’s role in “Room” is the heavy favorite despite Jennifer Lawrence’s powerful role in “Joy.”
This is Larson’s first Oscar nomination, given for her role in playing a mother trapped in a small room with her five-year-old son Jack. The gripping and emotional performance makes her favored to win.
Alejandro González Iñárritu took the most coveted Best Picture award last season for “Birdman” and returns this year with 12 nominations for “The Revanent,” including Best Picture and Best Director.
It is a rare occasion to earn the same award back-to-back. In the past 87 seasons, only 16 people have ever earned more than one Oscar consecutively for the same category.
This leaves the film “Spotlight,” the gripping true story of deviance in the Catholic Church, trying to take the award for Best Picture.
Iñárritu is favored to win Best Director after spending months on set for “The Revenant,” in which he filmed with natural light for 20-minute segments each day. The film is also favored by critics to take home the most technical awards, including Best Cinematography.
Despite the impressive pool of contenders for Best Picture, a notable snub in the category was the J.J. Abrams film “Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens.”
The film has been named the highest grossing domestic movie of all time and yet only earned five nominations for technical awards without cracking into any of the top categories.
Although the academy tends not to favor science fiction films, “The Martian” managed a nomination for Best Picture.
“I was surprised that Charlotte Rampling was nominated for ‘45 Years’ over
Charlize Theron for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road,’” said Amanda Alexander, senior business administration major. “(Theron) had so much press and people were expecting her to be nominated. I’m not surprised ‘Star Wars’ was snubbed, but I do wish that it had been nominated.”
Actor and comedian, Chris Rock, is set to host the Academy Awards, Feb. 28.