Oscar nominations: No clear front-runner

Posted at 4:51 AM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 07:52:29-05

LOS ANGELES -- Director Alejandro Inarritu's grueling drama "The Revenant," the housing-crash drama "The Big Short" and the sci-fi adventure "The Martian" are likely to be among the best picture hopefuls announced Thursday when nominations are revealed for the 88th Academy Awards.

The nominations will be announced by directors Guillermo del Toro and Ang Lee, actor John Krasinski and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills at 5:30 a.m.
"The Revenant" took home the best drama film prize at Sunday's Golden Globes, while Inarritu was named best director and Leonardo DiCaprio won for best actor in a drama.
Director Ridley Scott's "The Martian" also won a top prize at the Globes, although it was oddly classified as a comedy film. But it is a sure-fire contender for a best-picture Oscar nomination. Other films with strong odds of landing in the best-picture category include "Spotlight," "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Carol," "Room," "Sicario" and "Bridge of Spies."
The field can include as many as 10 films, giving hope to films such as "Straight Outta Compton," "The Danish Girl," the animated "Inside Out," "Brooklyn" and "Ex Machina."
Golden Globe winner Brie Larson is virtually assured of a best-actress nomination for her work as a woman held captive with her young son in "Room." Jennifer Lawrence also took home a Globe for her work in "Joy," but she wasn't even nominated by the Screen Actors Guild, which is often a strong indicator of who will be tabbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are both contenders of nominations for "Carol," although Mara may be considered more of a supporting actress.
Saoirse Ronan could land on the list for "Brooklyn," along with Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl."
DiCaprio is an apparent lock for a best-actor nod for his death- and bear-attack-defying role in "The Revenant." Michael Fassbender is a likely nominee for the title role in "Steve Jobs," along with last year's winner Eddie Redmayne for "The Danish Girl" and Bryan Cranston for his turn as a blacklisted writer in "Trumbo." Steve Carell, Johnny Depp and Matt Damon could also land in the category for "The Big Short," "Black Mass" and "The Martian," respectively.
Christian Bale is a strong hopeful for a supporting-actor nomination for "The Big Short," along with Michael Shannon of "99 Homes" and Mark Rylance of "Bridge of Spies." A sentimental favorite for a nomination is Sylvester Stallone, who received a standing ovation at Sunday's Golden Globes when he won in the category for his reprisal of the role of Rocky Balboa in "Creed."
Kate Winslet won the Globe for supporting actress for her work in "Steve Jobs." She could be joined in the category by Rachel McAdams for "Spotlight" and Helen Mirren for "Trumbo."
Inarritu is a sure-fire nominee for best director for "The Revenant." He won the Oscar last year for "Birdman."
Scott is also a likely nominee for "The Martian," along with Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight," Adam McKay for "The Big Short" and George Miller for "Mad Max: Fury Road."
The Oscars will be presented at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 28, with Chris Rock hosting for the second time, and aired on ABC. The ceremony will be televised in more than 225 countries.