Why Sicario Deserves Its Oscar Nominations at the 2016 Academy Awards

The 2016 Academy Award nominations are now out in their entirety, sparking plenty of outrage, debate and “I told you so” across film Twitter this morning. For the most part (and once more, based on a combination of what I’ve seen and what I’ve read), I am not too surprised by the  majority of the nominations and snubs that came out of this year’s batch of nominees. I am unclear as to who the winners will be in some categories, but I will tackle that closer to the award show.

For now, I am celebrating the pivotal win of Sicario‘s nominations for Cinematography, Sound Editing and Best Original Score at the 2016 Academy Awards. It’s been a slightly unfortunate ride for this film over the course of award season because though it did garner a lot of critical attention and consideration amongst some of the guilds, it didn’t grab the attention of the HFPA at the Golden Globes nor any nominations at the SAG Awards this year, which are the more public-facing award shows.

I’m thrilled that Sicario received three nominations in these categories because the cinematography and the sound were two elements that really drove the heartbeat of the film: its tension. Cinematographer Roger Deakins is an eleven-time Academy Award nominee and did some brilliant work, but the sound and score of the film really is a sticking point when you’re done watching. Prior to Sicario,  I can’t remember the last time that I left a theatre being on edge; don’t get me wrong, Sicario is deeply unnerving, but its the densely hollowed out sounds carved by composer Jóhann Jóhannsson that make me recall those feelings. To see the work in those elements recognized by the Academy doesn’t give this film validation because it already had that, but it does provide a reminder that the details in films change and define our experiences with them. Read my full review of the film here.

I hope to add more commentary on the nominations list in the next few days. Have you had a chance to see many of the Academy Award nominees? If not, be sure to read my reviews for SpotlightThe Danish Girl, Room and Trumbo before you head out to the theatre to catch up on all the films before the Academy Awards on February 28th.

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