OSCAR NOMINATIONS: They came down today close to what most observers expected. With a few surprises.

The Revenant, with 12, got too many, I think. And with two slots for Best Picture left blank, you’d think there was room there for Carol and Star Wars. But no.

They have multiple nods in other categories, Carol with 6, including lead and supporting actress, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens with 5, most in crafts.

Two Canadian co-productions are in there though. Room and Brooklyn are both in the running for Best Picture and five other awards between them.

Room was written by Emma Donoghue (now living in London, Ont). and co-produced by David Gross, an Ontario native who splits his time between Toronto and Los Angeles. The film has a superb performance by a Vancouver kid, Jacob Tremblay.

Brooklyn was partially filmed in Montreal and co-produced by Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even from that city.

Bridge of Spies and Spotlight, with 6 each, are also vying for Best Picture. Spotlight has been a critical favorite but Bridge is a surprise. Audiences liked it but the reviews were lukewarm and Stephen Spielberg isn’t nominated. 

The Martian has seven nominations but not for its director Ridley Scott. A snub I’d say. On the other hand, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is nominated for The Revenant and is probably the front runner, not least because he won at the Golden Globes. He could pull off a significant feat, winning best director two years in a row. That hasn’t been done in 66 years (see All About Eve).

Canadian director Denis Villeneuve does not have a nod for Sicario, although the film has three, and fans of the big hit Straight Outta Compton will have to search hard for its lone nomination (original screenplay).

Generally I agree with most of these choices. Mad Max: Fury Road, with 10, including Best Picture and Best Director, honors the most exciting film of the year. Bryan Cranston’s acting nod for Trumbo is terrific but I would have nominated Michael Keaton not Rachel McAdams for Spotlight.

The Academy noticed an almost unknown (over here) but very funny gem from Sweden. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared is nominated for Makeup and Hairstyling, although all that greasy hair in The Revenant is likely to win.

Surprisingly but correctly I say, The Assassin, the Chinese film and critic’s darling, didn’t make the Foreign Language list and there’s a shocker in the feature-length documentary category. Where’s Going Clear, the evisceration of Scientology? It’s one of the most eye-opening films of last year.

There’s a month and a half of lobbying, predicting and handicapping ahead. The Oscars will be handed out Feb 28. 

Here are some of the nominees: 

BEST PICTURE

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

DIRECTOR

  • Lenny Abrahamson, The Room
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant 
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martin
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol 
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Embrace of the Serpent, Columbia
  • Mustang, France
  • Son of Saul, Hungary
  • Theeb, Jordan
  • A War, Denmark

ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Anomalisa
  • Inside Out
  • Boy and the World
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There

ORIGINAL SONG 

  • The Hunting Ground
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Racing Extinction
  • Spectre
  • Youth

ORIGINAL SCORE 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

For a complete list, click here.