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Newsletter: Gold Standard: Questions of race overshadowing the Oscar races

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season, leading up to the Oscars. I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host. Oscar nominations were announced last week, but, for the moment, the conversation is being dominated by the actors and movies the academy didn’t recognize this year. Let’s take a look.

#OscarsSoWhite, Year 2

Eleven days before the Oscar nominations were announced, I wrote that the motion picture academy’s biggest fear was that the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite would be trending again. And when this year’s acting nominations, like last year’s slate, failed to include any actors of color, that’s precisely what happened.

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Why does it matter? Our Mary McNamara laid out the reasons here. The academy itself may take action before this year’s awards are handed out. Here’s how that could affect next year’s best picture race. And Meg James explains why the controversy won’t affect this year’s bottom line.

‘Straight Outta Compton’

Should "Straight Outta Compton" have been nominated for best picture?

(Universal Pictures)

Yes, they’re still giving out the Oscars

And, for the moment at least, this year’s best picture race is the most unsettled it has been in years. Here’s a look at the four leading contenders -- “The Revenant,” “The Big Short,” “Spotlight” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” -- and the awards each film could and probably will win.

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Best picture winners (usually) need a screenplay nomination too

In the past 50 years, only one movie has won best picture without securing a screenplay nomination. Can you guess the title? Stumped? Read here and learn why “The Revenant” faces a challenge in its quest for a best picture trophy this year.

Bryan Cranston talks ‘Trumbo,’ Trump and the proper way to load a dishwasher

OK. I didn’t get the details on the dish loading, probably because I already know the best way to pack a dishwasher and I don’t need anyone telling me otherwise. But, if anyone could, it’s probably Cranston, who offers sound wisdom on an array of subjects.

Take this quote:

“Somebody asked me the other day how I felt now that I’m about to turn 60,” Cranston says, “the implication being, ‘Is it sobering to be inching closer to the grave?’ And my answer is, ‘Yes, it is. So don’t waste any time.’”

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston, Oscar nominee for "Trumbo."

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Read the full profile of the first-time Oscar nominee.

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Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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