'The Revenant' becomes Oscar front-runner; actors of color ignored
By Piya Sinha-Roy and Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grueling revenge movie "The Revenant" emerged as the Oscar front-runner on Thursday in nominations that pit big-budget movies against small personal dramas and once again shut actors of color out of the industry's biggest honors.
The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was quickly revived on Twitter. It had emerged last year, when only white actors received nods.
Will Smith, who stars in football injury drama "Concussion," and Idris Elba from "Beasts of No Nation" were among the black actors who were not nominated this year. The black cast and director of hip hop biopic "Straight Outta Compton" were also left out of the race.
"In a year with an extraordinary number of great performances by black actors that were embraced by audiences and embraced by critics, for them all to get ignored is tragic,” said Reginald Hudlin, who will produce the Feb. 28 awards ceremony hosted by comedian Chris Rock.
"The Revenant," an ambitious pioneer-era saga, led with 12 nominations, including best picture, best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and best director for Mexico's Alejandro Inarritu, who won the top Oscar last year for the dark showbiz comedy "Birdman."
"The Revenant" will compete with gritty action adventure "Mad Max: Fury Road" and space film "The Martian." All three boast budgets above $100 million.
The best picture nominees also include independent films "Room," "Spotlight" and "Brooklyn" as well as studio productions "The Big Short" and "Bridge of Spies," which had budgets in the $20 million to $40 million range.
Amid the excitement from nominees, others in Hollywood were nursing their wounds. "Straight Outta Compton" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" were left out of the best picture race, while Ridley Scott, director of best picture nominee "The Martian," did not make the grade in the director category. Continued...