Texas Tech University

Expert: It’s (Probably, Maybe) Leo’s Time: Experts Weigh In On Oscar Nominations

Heidi Toth

January 14, 2016

Various cinema experts from Texas Tech University are available to discuss this year's nominees.

The surprises with the 2016 Academy Awards aren't so much who made the list but who didn't. Various cinema experts from Texas Tech University are available to discuss what performers and films were nominated this year, which weren't and whether Leonardo DiCaprio will finally take home a golden statue.


Tim Day
film instructor, College of Media and Communication,

(806) 577-9267 or tim.day@ttu.edu

Day teaches screenwriting, race and gender in film and sports and American film. He writes the blog Day at the Movies, where he reviews movies, including best and worst of the year.

  • A year after the Oscars had its whitest year on record, it beat that record. All of the actor and actress nominees are white. Will Smith wasn't nominated for “Concussion,” Michael B. Jordan wasn't nominated for “Creed” and Idris Elba wasn't nominated for “Beasts of No Nation,” a widely acclaimed film that wasn't nominated in any category.
  • “Room” deserved its Best Picture and Best Director nominations. Christian Bale, though he may have deserved his Best Supporting Actor nomination, did not have a better performance than “The Big Short” co-star Steve Carell, who did not earn a Best Actor nod.
  • Hollywood favorite Jennifer Lawrence has no chance of winning, while Leonardo DiCaprio and Sylvester Stallone are virtual locks in the actor categories.
  • “Leonardo has been nominated six times and has been snubbed that many more times. ‘The Revenant' isn't even in his top five best performances, but Leo will win for his larger body of work.”
  • “Mad Max” likely will beat out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in the technical categories and is likely to win the most awards of the night, but not in major categories. Sam Smith will win Best Song for “Spectre.”
  • “In ironic fashion, ‘Earned It' is a Best Song nominee from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.' Really? Why no love for Wiz Khalifa? If you can have a song from this soft-core porn, why not a ‘Fast and Furious' movie?”

Rob Peaslee
chairman, Department of Journalism & Electronic Media,

(806) 834-2562 or robert.peaslee@ttu.edu

Peaslee teaches visual communications, writing for feature film and “The Blockbuster.” He researches fan cultures, film, global and international media, media anthropology and superheroes and culture.

  • Count another vote for DiCaprio as Best Actor and Stallone as Best Supporting Actor, especially after the standing ovation Sly received at the Golden Globes last weekend.
  • “The momentum for Best Picture today is in favor of ‘The Revenant,' but I suspect that may wane a bit. The overall buzz from film people I know is the two best films on this list are ‘Spotlight' and ‘Mad Max.' Given its genre, I think ‘Mad Max' wins by being nominated, so I'm going with ‘Spotlight' here.”
  • Brie Larson is the likely Best Actress pick for her “devastating and devastatingly good” performance in “Room,” with Rachel McAdams potentially winning Best Supporting Actress for “Spotlight,” though she's had a good year all-around.
  • The hardest category this year is Cinematography; “Mad Max” and John Seale may come in for an upset here.
  • Other predictions: “Inside Out” will probably win Best Animated Feature, though “Anomalisa” should, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu will likely win Best Director for “The Revenant.”

Rob Weiner
pop culture librarian,

(806) 834-5126 or rob.weiner@ttu.edu

Weiner has published articles in “Movies in American History” and “Too Bold for the Box Office” and is co-editor of “From the Grindhouse to the Arthouse.” He can discuss what films have created the most buzz in the last year and compare Oscar winners of the past to the current Hollywood pool as well as what viewers should expect from the winners this year.

  • “Mad Max” is his pick for Best Picture, though it's an atypical genre for this award. “Mad Max” showed equalization between women and men in film is possible and you could still have a testosterone-filled action flick that satisfies.
  • DiCaprio likely will win, as people have been clamoring for him to win an Oscar for years. However, Bryan Cranston from “Trumbo” deserves the Best Actor statue.
  • "Cranston's performance is amazing, and it shows why he is an actor I think is up there with Daniel Day-Lewis as one of the best actors in our time.”
  • Mark Ruffalo from “Spotlight” and Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight” deserve supporting actor and actress praise, with Best Director likely going to Iñárritu.
  • “Ultimately with the Oscars one really never knows. Sometimes they are so predictable it's pathetic, and other times the Academy can still surprise.”

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