Oscars 2016: ‘Revenant,’ ‘Martian’ power Fox to the top of the studio pile

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant,” which scored 12 Oscar nominations Thursday.

(Associated Press)

Twentieth Century Fox led its rival studios in Oscar nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony, thanks to its hit movies “The Revenant” and “The Martian.”  

Counting "Bridge of Spies,” which the Century City studio co-produced and released internationally, Fox earned an impressive 26 nominations Thursday morning. And if you count Fox Searchlight releases including “Brooklyn,” the Fox total rises to 30. 

Overall the major Hollywood studios fared mightily in Thursday morning’s announcements. The Walt Disney Co. picked up 15 nominations for its releases such as DreamWorks production “Bridge of Spies,” which it distributed in the U.S.; “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”; and Pixar’s “Inside Out.”

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Warner Bros. came away with 11, thanks to a strong showing from director George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” while Paramount snatched six -- five of which were due to the Wall Street dramedy “The Big Short." 

Universal Pictures banked four nominations, plus another four from its Focus Features unit (“The Danish Girl”). 

The nominee list marked a contrast with last year’s leader board, which was largely dominated by specialty labels and independent distributors engaging in less commercial material.


In 2015, Fox Searchlight was up for 20 awards (for the likes of “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and Sony Pictures Classics secured 18 (for movies including “Whiplash”). 

Perennial Oscar players the Weinstein Co. scored this year with nine nominations for movies like “Carol” and “The Hateful Eight,” though both were shut out of the best picture race. Additionally, the Weinstein’s Radius-TWC unit earned an original song nomination. 

Indie upstart A24 boasts a strong seven nominations for pictures including “Room” and “Ex Machina.” Meanwhile, Open Road Films was close behind with six for the journalism drama “Spotlight." 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer took credit for two nominees: best original song contender “Spectre,” and “Creed,” for which Sylvester Stallone is up for best supporting actor. 

This year’s best picture nominations are particularly weighted in favor of the major studios.

Five of the eight best picture contenders are considered big Hollywood studio films: “The Big Short” (Paramount), “Bridge of Spies” (Disney/Fox), “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Warner Bros.), “The Martian” (Fox), and “The Revenant” (Fox). 

The other three honorees got their release from independent and specialty distribution units: “Brooklyn” (Fox Searchlight), “Room” (A24) and “Spotlight” (Open Road Films). 

Last year only two big studio movies earned best picture Oscar nominations -- Warner Bros.’ war film “American Sniper” and the Paramount Pictures-distributed civil rights drama “Selma.”  


Oscar 2016 nominations by studio:

20th Century Fox: 27*

Disney: 15*

Warner Bros: 11

The Weinstein Co.: 10

A24: 7

Paramount: 6

Open Road: 6


Lionsgate: 4

Universal: 4

Focus Features: 4

Fox Searchlight: 4

*Six nominations for “Bridge of Spies” shared by Fox and Disney. 

Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder


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