Future Voices: the Oscar nominations are not a good indicator of the best films of 2015

Leonardo DiCaprio attending the EE British Academy Film Awards, where he won an award for The Revena

Leonardo DiCaprio attending the EE British Academy Film Awards, where he won an award for The Revenant. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The 2016 Oscar nominations are, on the whole, stunningly predictable.

This isn't to say the films nominated are bad, or even similar to one another, but it's true that the categories are very low on variety, arguably even more so than previous years.

The Academy itself is renowned for rewarding the friends and associates of its members, rather than objective quality, which often leads to foreign-language, indie, and 'genre' (sci-fi, fantasy, horror) films being ignored. This snubbing leads to lack of exposure for many daring and interesting works, thus causing stagnation in the mainstream film industry, and encouraging filmmakers to take less risks, in hopes of nominations (hence the term 'Oscar bait').

• The majority of films nominated in the 2016 Academy Awards are not bland, which is encouraging. These include:

The riotously entertaining and progressive Mad Max: Fury Road is a contender in most categories, including Best Picture, which hopefully indicates a willingness within the industry to embrace female-driven action films.


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• The Revenant, which is the leading film in terms of nominations, is a brutal and visceral work of art

• Room is a devastating and sensitive look at the horrifying realities of kidnap.

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However, there are definite issues with the Oscars this year, such as the lack of racial diversity - none of the 20 acting award nominees are black. The fact that almost every category consists of the same few films, with very few surprises. Some notable disappointments include:

• The magnificent and visually masterful gothic film Crimson Peak which has been completely overlooked in terms of production design and costume

• The critically-acclaimed indie horror gem It Follows has been virtually robbed of a best original score nomination

• Phenomenal young French actress Karidja Touré is sadly not eligible for an acting nomination due to her role being in a non-English language film (the incredibly moving Girlhood)

• Off-beat comedy The Lobster received nothing for its stellar screenplay

• Justin Kurzel's Macbeth was ignored completely despite being a worthy entry for almost every category (particularly cinematography and score)

• Carol Morley was denied a directing nomination for her bizarrely entrancing film The Falling.

In summary, the Oscar nominations are not a good indicator of the best films of 2015, and I implore anyone interested in the highest quality recent works to look elsewhere and not simply the Academy's shortlist.

Summer Sapiano, 16, Norwich

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