Unlike most years, there are no films set to sweep the 2016 Academy Awards. Because of this, a lot of the categories this year might pull from a wider range of films, which could mean some less likely films get nominated. Genres like action, sci-fi and blockbusters in general could see wider representation than in most years, and we’re going to take a look at some of the films that we would like to see get nominated, and which categories they might fall into. I should mention that most of these films are unlikely to win any of these awards, but for most, if not all of them, even a nomination would be a great achievement.

5 Less Likely Films That Could be Nominated for an Oscar

1) Mad Max: Fury Road

Category – Best Picture

It’s hard to think back to just how low expectations were for Mad Max: Fury Road, and I’m sure nobody expected it would ever be in the awards conversation, be here we are, and here it is. As far as which films from 2015 are going to have a legacy, and generally be remembered as being significant, Fury Road is right up there with Star Wars – The Force AwakensMad Max is without question one of the best films of the year, and it thoroughly deserves a nomination for the overall quality of the film making.

5 Less Likely Films That Could be Nominated for an Oscar

2) Ex Machina

Category – Best Original Screenplay / Best Supporting Actress

One of the best things about Ex Machina was the way the story unfolded. It was perfectly paced and gave you all the right information at the right times, both of which were coupled with intelligent dialogue in a script leaner than Bruce Lee’s abs. Few scripts this year were so flawless, and managed to make relatively complicated ideas so simple, and this is all thanks to Alex Garland, who not only wrote this masterpiece, but directed it too.

Having said that, even the best script ever could be ruined by bad acting. Luckily for Ex Machinait had Alicia Vikander. She’s had an incredible year, and the highest point of that year was her stunningly human performance as artificial being Ava. Best Supporting Actress is normally a fairly weak category, however this year is particularly strong, which could work against this unusual pick. I could also see Ex Machina getting nominated for Best Director (again Alex Garland), and Best Visual Effects, but the other two seem the most likely.

5 Less Likely Films That Could be Nominated for an Oscar

3) Creed

Category – Best Supporting Actor

Nobody is questioning just how good Creed is, but one thing a lot of people have questioned over the years is Sylvester Stallone’s acting. Yes, Rocky Balboa is his signature role, but the thought that he might be nominated for an award for playing the man who punched communism into submission is something not a lot of people can imagine. Well here we are, forty years since Stallone was nominated for playing the exact same role, and once again he’s in contention for an Oscar. Stallone might be able to pull off a comeback worthy of the role he’s made so famous.

5 Less Likely Films That Could be Nominated for an Oscar

4) Cinderella

Category – Best Costume Design

A lot of people were surprised at just how good Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella was, including us here at Third Act Film, and one of the most outstanding elements of it was the production design, especially the costumes. They were outlandish and Disney enough to be visually spectacular, but real world enough that they could exist in a practical way. More than most on this list, I can actually see this one happening.

5 Less Likely Films That Could be Nominated for an Oscar

5) Inside Out

Category – Best Original Score

Most people won’t be surprised to see Inside Out nominated, and possibly even win the Academy Award for Best Animated Film, but another category it could easily get nominated for is Best Original Score. It has my personal favourite music of any film this year, and Michael Giacchino has won this award once before for another Pixar film – Up. 

Which less likely films do you think could get Academy Award nominations this year? Do you agree with any of our choices? Share any thoughts in the comments.