With such a wide-open race this year, it was hard to predict which movies would be the leading candidates to grab an armload of Oscar nominations -- or even how many Best Picture nominees there were likely to be.
Still, there were a lot of names and titles that experts expected to be on the list when the Academy announced its nominations on Thursday morning. Now that the list is out, we can all express the proper shock and outrage and delight over which of our favorites made the cut and which got robbed.
This was one of the easiest categories to predict. But one of the bigger surprises among nominees was Bryan Cranston as Hollywood's favorite blacklisted screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, in "Trumbo." Fans crossing their fingers for Michael B. Jordan ("Creed") or last year's nominee Steve Carell ("The Big Short") were disappointed as well.
Best Supporting Actor
Aside from Sylvester Stallone (a sentimental favorite for "Creed") and Mark Rylance ("Bridge of Spies"), this category was really up for grabs. The entire "Spotlight" ensemble submitted itself in the supporting category, and only Mark Ruffalo and Supporting Actress nominee Rachel McAdams made the cut. (Tough break, Michael Keaton.)
With Tom Hardy riding the wave of "Revenant" love into the category's final slot -- a surprise of sorts -- that meant snubs for such worthy candidates as Paul Dano ("Love & Mercy") and little Jacob Tremblay (the captive boy in "Room"). Oh, and if you expected the Academy to nominate Idris Elba for "Beasts of No Nation," not only because he was so charismatic and terrifying but also to avoid another #OscarsSoWhite hashtag protest this year, no such luck. Sorry, performers of color, you all got snubbed.Best Supporting Actress
Many wondered if Rooney Mara's bid for Supporting Actress instead of co-lead in "Carol" would persuade the Academy that she belonged in the category. It did. Many also wondered if Jennifer Jason Leigh, in the late-screening "Hateful Eight," could transcend viewers' mixed feelings about the film to earn a supporting nomination. She did. A bit of a surprise was Alicia Vikander (above); while some expected a nomination for her work in "The Danish Girl," it wasn't a sure thing. And apparently Tessa Thompson's subtle, scary-good work in "Creed" was too subtle and nuanced for the Academy to take notice.
Best Original Screenplay
Quentin Tarantino often aces this category, but the Academy snubbed his "Hateful EIght" script. Many also thought fan-favorite Amy Schumer would get a nod for her "Trainwreck" script, since the Academy loves actors who generate their own opportunities -- but she was snubbed as well. Hit indie thriller "Sicario" had a shot here, too, but no such luck.
Instead, the nominations went pretty much to the early favorites, with the surprises being Alex Garland's philosophical sci-fi tale "Ex Machina," and "Straight Outta Compton," which otherwise didn't earn any Academy love. A24 had next to nothing in terms of "For Your Consideration" promotion for "Ex Machina," one of the best films of the year. Going into the nominations, it seemed more likely for the film's A.I. subject matter to come true than the film score nods at the ceremony. Pleasant surprise to see the Academy give it some much-deserved acknowledgement.
Best Adapted Screenplay
The most shocking snubs were "The Revenant' (which was nominated in nearly every other possible category, for a total of 12 nods) and Aaron Sorkin's Globe-winning script for "Steve Jobs" (pictured). Sorkin won a few years ago for another digital-era biopic, "The Social Network," but the Academy has apparently unfriended him.
Best Animated Feature
Often, this category throws at least one curveball and nominates a movie that was barely released over a commercial favorite. This year, there were two such curveballs: Brazilian entry "Boy and the World" and, from beloved Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, "When Marnie Was There."
"Shaun the Sheep" also made the cut; it didn't do much business here but was a huge hit in the rest of the world. The remaining slots went to front-runners "Inside Out" and "Anomalisa," Charlie Kaufman's critically-beloved stop-motion animated feature. Denied nominations were fellow Pixar pic "The Good Dinosaur" and summer smash "Minions."
One of the most high-profile films going into awards seasons, HBO's Scientology doc, "Going Clear," was shut out of the category -- leaving many scratching their heads and shaking their fists at Thetans.
Best Original Song
"See You Again" was more than just a fitting send-off tune for Paul Walker's character in "Furious 7." It was a radio hit and integral component to the film's success. Its omission as a nominee is further proof that the Academy is behind the times.
Ridley Scott may be the unluckiest director in recent Oscar history. The 78-year-old has never won Best Director, not even when his "Gladiator" won Best Picture in 2001. This year, despite the slew of nominations for "The Martian" (there were seven), he didn't even land a nod himself. He's the only one of this year's five Directors Guild Award nominees who didn't get an Oscar nomination. And despite having scored nominations for his last three Oscar-bait movies -- an impressive run -- David O. Russell got nothing for "Joy." It's sole major nomination went to lead actor Lawrence.
At least when Scott and Russell are hanging out at the Dolby Theatre bar on Oscar night nursing his resentment, he can have company; fellow Best Picture nominee directors Steven Spielberg ("Bridge of Spies") and John Crowley ("Brooklyn") got snubbed as well. So did Todd Haynes for "Carol," despite widespread critical support. As with Best Picture, the surprising inclusion was "Room," whose director Lenny Abrahamson did make the Academy shortlist, despite having been snubbed by the DGA.
As it turned out, there were eight nominees this year, out of a possible 10. For the most part, they echoed the Producers Guild Award nominees, as they usually do. Both groups nominated "The Big Short," "Bridge of Spies," "Brooklyn," "Mad Max: Fury Road," "The Martian," "The Revenant," and "Spotlight." In fact, the only PGA nominees that didn't make the cut were "Sicario," "Ex Machina," and "Straight Outta Compton."
The most surprising inclusion was austere indie drama "Room," which the PGA had snubbed. "Carol" had been a front-runner among critics' groups, but the PGA snubbed it and so did the Academy. And if you were expecting the Academy's newfound populism to be broad enough to include "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," well, these were not the droids you were looking for.