As the 2016 awards season rumbles to a close, here at ORWAV we felt it was about time someone crashed the party. With the #OscarsSoWhite once more, and some big names like Todd Haynes and Quentin Tarantino missing out on nominations, will our shortlist look any more diverse or daring than the real thing? (Spoiler alert: yes, yes it will.)

To make these nominations we polled our writers, added up the votes and then the top five candidates made the cut. In the case of some categories the final spot was a tie, meaning we ended up with a shortlist of as many as 10 nominees. We also decided to make things more interesting by combining both screenplay categories and combining the lead and supporting acting categories. You know it makes sense. Without further ado, head on down and check out our nominations… and why not vote for your favourites while you’re there?

Best Director


L-R: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Todd Haynes and George Miller. Courtesy of: 20th Century Fox, The Weinstein Company, Warner Bros.

  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant)
  • Todd Haynes (Carol)
  • Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
  • George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Ridley Scott (The Martian)

I’m not going to announce how many votes each director got, but let’s just say this year’s Mexican frontrunner was nearly on the end of a cruel snub from the ORWAV Academy. Elsewhere, justice is done as Todd Haynes makes the cut, righting one of the biggest wrongs from the real Oscar nominations. Alex Garland also makes a surprise entry for his work on Ex Machina, a film which feels more and more likely to be referred to as an under-seen smart sci-fi gem with every month that passes.

Real-life nominees McKay (The Big Short) and Abrahamson (Room) missed out, while documentary directors Joshua Oppenheimer and Asif Kapadia received votes, but not enough to make the shortlist.

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Best Cinematography


L-R: Adam Arkapaw, Emmanuel Lubezki, Roger Deakins. Courtesy of: The Weinstein Company, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate

  • Adam Arkapaw (Macbeth)
  • Roger Deakins (Sicario)
  • Mike Gioulakis (It Follows)
  • Rob Hardy (Ex Machina)
  • Edward Lachman (Carol)
  • Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
  • John Seale (Mad Max: Fury Road)

We’ve ended up with a very similar list to the Academy, but a few ties at the bottom of the pile – probably due to a smaller voting pool – mean a total of seven nominees. Ex Machina and its cinematographer Rob Hardy impressed our writers again, with a 100% success rate so far, and Mike Gioulakis also made it on for his work on another independently-minded genre contender, It Follows. Adam Arkapaw was another to claim what would have been a first Oscar nomination for his excellent work on Macbeth.

There has been some truly fantastic work in this category over the past year, so this one is shaping up to be a very close fight indeed. Even the likes of veterans Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight) and Mark Lee Ping Bin (The Assassin) couldn’t quite make it onto our shortlist.

[yop_poll id=”10″]


Best Screenplay



L-R: Pete Docter, Quentin Tarantino, Alex Garland. Courtesy of: Walt Disney, The Weinstein Company, A24

  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie Del Carmen (Inside Out)
  • Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
  • Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
  • Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
  • Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)

If the nominations so far tell you one thing, it’s that the ORWAV writing team were big fans of Ex Machina. A second nomination for Alex Garland makes it only the second film at this point, along with Carol, to be nominated in every category. It also seems we have a preference for original screenplays, with only Phyllis Nagy’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt making our shortlist. The Academy may have been unimpressed by Tarantino’s gargantuan script for The Hateful Eight, but here at ORWAV HQ (a treehouse in rural Oregon), we remained as loyal as ever to the one-of-a-kind wordsmith.

We ended up snubbing Academy nominees Emma Donoghue (Room), Nick Hornby (Brooklyn) and Drew Goddard (The Martian), while the underdogs David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) and Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (Mistress America) came within a whisker of making the final five.

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Best Actor


L-R: Michael B. Jordan, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Boyega. Courtesy of: Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios

  • John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
  • Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
  • Benicio del Toro (Sicario)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
  • Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
  • Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
  • Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
  • Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
  • Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
  • Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

The field for Best Actor was so spread that we ended up with a jaw-dropping ten nominees on our shortlist, from a total of 23 actors to receive nominations, easily the most in any category. It seems to be a case of lots of decent performances and not many great ones if the spread of votes is anything to go by. It’s good to see quality blockbuster acting getting its reward in the form of nods for The Force Awakens‘ Boyega and Driver, while another actor from a galaxy far, far away sneaks in for his work on Ex Machina (yes, that’s four out of four now, tally fans). Michael B. Jordan joins his costar Sly Stallone in another reversal of an Academy snub, while Paul Dano earns our plaudits for his performance in the underappreciated Love & Mercy.

Fassbender nearly earned a second nomination for his lead role in Macbeth, while Academy nominees Mark Ruffalo and Bryan Cranston can feel aggrieved to miss the cut. There were a total of 13 performances to miss out by only one vote, including, most bafflingly of all, Mark Hamill, for his 60-second cameo in The Force Awakens. Rest assured the writer responsible will be clearing their desk tomorrow morning.

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Best Actress


L-R: Rooney Mara, Brie Larson, Alicia Vikander. Courtesy of: The Weinstein Company, A24

  • Cate Blanchett (Carol)
  • Brie Larson (Room)
  • Rooney Mara (Carol)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
  • Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
  • Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)

It’s been a great year for interesting female roles and that shines through in a ridiculously competitive shortlist. We may end up settling the category with an arm wrestle. My money’s on Furiosa. Blanchett and Mara get a deserved pair of nominations for their inseparable performances in Carol and Charlize Theron makes the shortlist for her inspiring work in Mad Max: Fury Road. You can argue whether she was the best actress of the past year, but she certainly played the most iconic female character.

Alicia Vikander very nearly capped a tremendous year with a double nomination for Ex Machina and The Danish Girl, and she wasn’t all that far off a remarkable third for Testament of Youth. Academy favourite Jennifer Lawrence didn’t get any joy this year, while we weren’t quite as impressed with Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) either. Newcomers Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Bel Powley (Diary of a Teenage Girl) racked up a few votes, but this wasn’t to be their year.

[yop_poll id=”13″]


Best Film


L-R: Ex Machina, The Look of Silence, Mad Max: Fury Road. Courtesy of: A24, Drafthouse Films, Warner Bros.

  • Carol
  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Room
  • The Look of Silence

In what will only be a shock if you’ve ignored the previous five categories, Ex Machina bursts onto the scene with a crowning nomination for Best Film. Clearly us Brits are a loyal bunch, following BAFTA’s lead of nominating the under-seen smart sci-fi gem for Best British Film. Carol takes its rightful place at the top table alongside Fury Road and Room, while The Look of Silence bucks the usual Academy trend of ignoring documentaries to make our shortlist. Even if it doesn’t end up being named ORWAV’s Best Film, it’s certainly the most important.

Bizarrely the only category allowing ten nominations in real life finished on a neat five for us. Academy nominees The Big Short, Spotlight, Brooklyn and The Martian all missed out, but most surprising of all was the snub for The Revenant. It’s a strong favourite to nab Iñárritu his second Best Picture win in a row – the first time this would have ever happened, though Frank Lloyd and Francis Ford Coppola came close – but we weren’t as impressed as the Academy (or BAFTA, or the Golden Globes… ). What can I tell you? I voted for it.

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So there we have it, a fascinating set of nominations for the best alternative Oscars outside of LA. Mad Max: Fury Road, Carol, and The Revenant racked up nominations across the board, but the surprise frontrunner is looking like Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, with a full house. Let us know what you think of our nominations over on our Twitter @1RoomWithAView and be sure to head back on Sunday 28th February. We’ll be announcing our ORWAV Oscar winners and running the usual liveblog full of excitable, sleep-deprived commentary on the biggest night in the movie calendar. We can’t wait.