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Oscars 2016: The snubs, surprises and outrage

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Memo to Hollywood: White men battling adversity is not the only way to tell a dramatic story

White men triumphing over enormous odds
(Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises / Bleecker Street / Twentieth Century Fox)

As the crossover audiences for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ series proved, [millennials and post-millennials] don’t ‘need’ their heroes to be white and don’t expect them to be male or straight or anything but interesting.

Mary McNamara

The winner of the 2016 Oscar in practically every category is … white men facing adversity.

Just two years after the much-touted breakthrough of “12 Years a Slave,” the best picture nominees announced Thursday, with a few notable exceptions, follow a dishearteningly repetitive story line of white men triumphing over enormous odds: The Hollywood blacklist (“Trumbo”), the vagaries of Wall Street (“The Big Short”), Cold War politics (“Bridge of Spies”), life alone on Mars (“The Martian”), a grizzly bear attack, murderous companions and the hostilities of a cruel winter landscape (“The Revenant”). ...

To be clear, these are all good stories, powerful, well told and beautifully acted. But in a world filled with billions of people who are not white men, they are certainly not the only good stories, not by a long shot.

Though our demographics and attitudes continue to change, Hollywood’s definition of great drama has remained stubbornly attached to standards and expectations set back when men were men (if they were white) and everyone else needed to just shut up and listen.

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Ice Cube on Oscars snub: ‘I’m not surprised...It’s the Oscars. They do what they do’

Wendy Williams asked Ice Cube what everyone wanted to know after “Straight Outta Compton” was snubbed in the Oscars’ best picture and acting categories: “Are you pissed?”

After some brief shoe-cam action by Ice Cube, “The Wendy Williams Show” host went directly to Thursday-morning’s news that the N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” received just one Oscar nomination -- for the film’s white screenwriters.

“I was surprised that you weren’t nominated for more...I thought you guys would get more,” she said.

“Me too,” Ice Cube responded.

“Are you pissed?” Williams asked.

“I’m not pissed,” Ice Cube said. “I’m not surprised, you know what I mean? It’s the Oscars. They do what they do. The people loved the movie. The people supported the movie.You know -- No. 1 at the box office. Over $200 million worldwide. I can’t be mad.”

Watch the full interview above.

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From ‘Atonement’ to ‘Brooklyn’: Saorise Ronan on how this Oscar nomination is different

Lead actress Oscar nominee Saorise Ronan appears in a scene from "Brooklyn."
(Fox Searchlight)

On the day:

I’m at my hotel in New York City -- I’m here to start rehearsals for a play, “The Crucible.” [Joking] A small play. Have you heard of it?

Does this nomination feel different than “Atonement” in 2008?

I mean, it’s been about seven or eight years since “Atonement” -- you know, it’s a totally different experience this time. I was very young when we made “Atonement.” And I wasn’t too involved in the publicity. With “Brooklyn,” it’s something I’ve been involved in from the start, so I really feel it’s very personal. We’ve worked on it for so long.

But just to be recognized in any category by the Academy, and by your peers, it means a lot.

Did she think she might be nominated?

No! I was surprised. I try not to expect to win anything or be nominated for anything or even get a job -- it’s better for me personally to expect that not to happen; and if it does, it’s a surprise. I was actually preparing for it not to happen. It was a lovely surprise to wake up to.

On the rest of the day:

I start rehearsals in about a week and a half, so today I am going to go to Bed Bath & Beyond and get some bath mats and cushions for my apartment -- and that’s how I’m going to celebrate!

Deborah Vankin

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Fox studio lands the most Oscar nominations

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Revenant," which scored 12 Oscar nominations Thursday
(Twentieth Century Fox)

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.

Read MoreRyan Faughnder

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#OscarsSoWhite 2.0

Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre in "Straight Outta Compton"
(Universal Studios)

Just like last year, the academy didn’t nominate any performers of color in the acting or best picture categories. The Twittersphere was particularly aggrieved over the absence of noms for “Straight Outta Compton,” “Creed” and “Beasts of No Nation.”