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'Spotlight' on 2016 Oscar Nominees

The survival epic “The Revenant” and the science fiction tale “The Martian” are among the top nominees for Academy Awards this year.

The Oscar nominations were announced early Thursday in Beverly Hills, California.​

“The Revenant” and “The Martian” are among the eight nominated for best motion picture. The others include Mad Max: Fury Road,” the latest in the Australian series of post-apocalyptic drama, and “Bridge of Spies,” based on a true story of spying during the Cold War.

Best actor nominees

Leonardo DiCaprio, star of “The Revenant,” and “The Martian” lead Matt Damon will compete for the best actor Oscar. The two also face Bryan Cranston in his portrayal of the Hollywood writer and title character of “Trumbo.”

The Academy also honored Eddie Redmayne with a best actor nomination. He plays a transgender person in “The Danish Girl.”

Actor Michael Fassbender is also up for the award for playing the Apple company founder Steve Jobs in the movie of the same name.

Best actress nominees

Best actress nominees include Cate Blanchett for “Carol,” a story of a romance between two women, and Jennifer Lawrence for “Joy.” Lawrence plays the real inventor and successful businesswoman Joy Mangano.

Actor Brie Larson is also nominated for her role as a mother held captive with her child for years in the film “Room.”

Oscar nominees for supporting performances include Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams for “Spotlight.” The film is based on the true story of the journalists who uncovered the child sex crimes in the Catholic Church.

Rooney Mara was nominated for “Carol,” Tom Hardy for “The Revenant,” and Christian Bale is up for his part in “The Big Short.”

Sylvester Stallone is also nominated for “Creed” in which he returns as the boxer, now trainer, character Rocky Balboa.

Honored directors and the ignored

Nominees for best director include George Miller for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Alejandro Inarritu for “The Revenant,” and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight.”

As always, there were snubs. Ridley Scott did not make the list of best directors, although his film “The Martian” was honored with several nominations. Michael Keaton failed was not nominated for his supporting role in “Spotlight.” And Johnny Depp’s starring role as the true-life gangster Whitey Bulger in “Black Mass” was not recommended for an award.

African-Americans were once again notably missing. Among the surprising omissions was director F. Gary Gray for the hip hop story “Straight Outta Compton.”

Foreign language nominees

This year's foreign language nominees include the Arabic-language “Theeb” from Jordan. It is about a Bedouin boy who travels with a British officer through the Arabian desert during World War I.

Hungarian entry “Son of Saul” is a Holocaust drama. “Embrace of the Serpent,” from Colombia, is about an Amazon healer. Denmark is represented with “A War,” which tells of Danish soldiers in Afghanistan.

The final nominee, “Mustang,” is a French film set in Turkey. It tells the story of five orphaned sisters.

And the Oscar goes to...

The Oscars are considered the top award in the American movie industry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the awards in a televised ceremony February 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

I’m Jim Tedder.

VOA’s Mike O’Sullivan reported this story from Los Angeles. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

Did you see any of the nominated movies? What are your thoughts about the group? Let us know in the Comments section or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

post-apocalyptic – adj. of, relating to, or involving conditions following terrible violence and destruction

Cold War n. the nonviolent conflict between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. after 1945

revenantn. one that returns after death or a long absence

romance n. an exciting and sometimes short relationship between lovers

journalist n. someone who has a job collecting, writing, and editing news stories for newspapers, magazines, television, or radio

snubn. the act of ignoring (someone) in a deliberate and insulting way

gangstern. a member of a group of violent criminals

omissionn. something that has not been included or done : something that has been omitted

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