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The 2016 Oscar Nominations: A By The Numbers Look At Craft Categories

“Let’s get started everybody, we have a lot to go through,” said Guillermo del Toro in the early morning hours Thursday, January 14th.  The director/producer/writer who was previously nominated for Original Screenplay in 2006 for “Pan’s Labyrinth” shared the stage with five time Oscar nominee Ang Lee (who’s won two Best Directing Oscars – for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”), actor John Kransinski and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs during the Academy’s announcement of the 88th Academy Awards.  For the first time since the nominations have been telecast, all 25 categories were announced, and Del Toro, who entered the stage with Lee to present the first eleven categories, wanted to ensure they had enough time to comfortably make it through the list.

As soon Kransinski and Boone Isaacs wrapped up the announcement of their 13 categories, concluding with the eight films vying for best Motion Picture of the Year: “The Big Short”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Brooklyn”, “Mad Max: Fury Road”, “The Martian”, “The Revenant”, “Room” and “Spotlight” – the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater was abuzz as press began dissecting each decision, highlighting the surprises and the snubs alike.  The artisans are often buffered from this harsh review, however a few surprises are note-worthy to mention.  This year’s visual effects category lacks any comic adaptation nominees, and the “Mad Max: Fury Road” team’s nomination gives credit towards a heavy use of practical effects.   “Black Mass” had been the front runner in the Hair and Make Up category, however the film had no nominations – in any category.  Sneaking into that slot was “The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.” The “Brooklyn” costume design had been receiving a great amount of attention prior to the race, but failed to obtain a nomination.

As the race towards Oscar day begins, here is a sampling of interesting below the line facts, by the numbers, to amuse you:

Number 50

John Williams received his fiftieth (yes, 50) Oscar nomination with his nod for “Best Original Score” for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”  This nomination also marks his 45th nomination for Best Original Score (Williams has five Best Original Song nominations.)   AND -this is his fourth nomination for original score in the “Star Wars” franchise.  His first nomination, for “Star Wars” in 1977, went on to win his third Oscar for Best Score. (He previously won for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Jaws.”)

Number 14

With their nomination this year, fourteen sound mixers who have two or more nominations: Andy Nelson = 20 and 2 wins, Gary Rydstrom = 18 and 7 wins, Randy Thom = 15 and 2 wins, Frank A. Montano = 8, Greg Rudloff = 7 and 2 wins, Paul Massey = 7, Chris Jenkins = 5 and 2 wins, Jon Taylor = 3, Stuart Wilson = 3, Christopher Scarabosio = 2 and Drew Kunin = two.

Number 13

Composer Thomas Newman receives his 13th Oscar nomination with this year’s Best Original Score nod for “Bridge of Spies.”   Cinematographer Roger Deakins also received his 13th Oscar nomination for “Sicario.”   Interestingly, neither man has won an Oscar to date.

Number 12

Costume Designer Sandy Powell’s two nominations this year: for “Carol” and “Cinderella” have ushered her to her 12th Oscar nomination, the most of any living costume designer.  (Of the 12 nominations she has won three: for “Shakespeare in Love”, “The Aviator” and “The Young Victoria.”)  She still has a way to go to catch up with record holding costume designer Edith Head, who received 35 nominations and won 8 Oscars.

Number 10

Jenny Beavan received her tenth Oscar nomination this year for Best Costume Design on “Mad Max: Fury Road”. This is the first time she’s been nominated for futuristic clothing: all other nominations were for period pieces.  She’s won one Oscar to date for “A Room with a View.”

Number 9

“The Hateful Eight” marks cinematographer Robert Richardson’s ninth nomination and third consecutive nomination for a Quentin Tarantino film (he was also nominated for “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained.”) To date he’s collected three Oscars: for “JFK”, “The Aviator” and “Hugo.”

Number 8

Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki can call his nomination for “The Revenant” his eight nomination.  It’s his second consecutive nomination received by collaborating with director  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – his first collaboration resulted in last year’s Best Cinematography win for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” – which was his second consecutive Oscar after his 2014 win for “Gravity.”

Number 4

Four of the five films in the Achievement in Film Editing category were edited by first time nominees. They include: “The Big Short” edited by Hank Corwin, “Mad Max: Fury Road” edited by Margaret Sixel, “Spotlight” edited by Tom McArdle and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” edited by Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey.  (Stephen Mirrione, editor of “The Revenant” marks his third nomination.  He has one win for “Traffic.”)

Number 2

This is the number of films in the Achievement in Visual Effects category that boasts a roster of Oscar newbies.  “Ex Machina” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” both have  four individuals (representing their teams) who are all celebrating their first nomination.

Number 1 – Part One

There is one category that is comprised entirely of first time nominees:  Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.

Number 1 – Part Two

The Achievement in Production Design category presents an Oscar to both the production designer and the set decorator.  One production designer is receiving his first nomination: Colin Gibson for “Mad Max: Fury Road.”  However, every set decorator nominated for an Oscar this year is experiencing their first Oscar nomination.  They include Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich (“Bridge of Spies”), Michael Standish (“The Danish Girl”), Lisa Thompson (“Mad Max: Fury Road”), Celia Bobak (“The Martian”) and Hamish Purdy (“The Revenant”).

To learn more about the 88th Annual Academy Awards, please visit: