Aspen Times coverage of this year’s Oscar nominees [links]

Andrew Travers
The Aspen Times

The 88th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. on ABC.

With no clear front-runner for Best Picture going into Academy Awards weekend, the contest for the top prize is still a nail-biter.

The guild and critics awards that tend to serve as a bellwether for the Oscars have been split. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Western suffer-fest “The Revenant” took home the best drama prize at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, and the top award from the Directors Guild Awards. But the journalism drama “Spotlight” took the Screen Actors Guild’s Best Ensemble award and the financial crisis dramedy “The Big Short” took home the Producers Guild’s best picture prize. Meanwhile, some are predicting the split field could create a chance for “Mad Max: Fury Road” or “Room” to sneak in and play spoiler.

Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio look like locks for the top acting prizes, but nothing is for sure this year (other than host Chris Rock giving the Academy some well-deserved criticism for its all-white slate of acting nominees).

Over the last year, The Aspen Times has featured many of the Academy Awards nominees as films and filmmakers made their way through town at Aspen Film’s festivals.

For those cramming before the Oscar broadcast Sunday evening, here’s a crash course from film coverage in the Times:

The Year in Film

Aspen Film artistic director Maggie Mackay discussed the year’s best with the Aspen Times Weekly in December.

“Spotlight” Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Supporting Actor for Mark Ruffalo and Best Supporting Actress for Rachel McAdams.

Walter “Robby” Robinson, the real-life Boston Globe reporter who Michael Keaton plays in the movie, talked about the film’s depiction of journalism with the Times in December before it played Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings.

“The Big Short” Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Christian Bale, Best Adapted Screenplay.

While the film was still in production, “The Big Short” author Michael Lewis talked to the Times about its on-screen adaptation.

“Room” Best Picture, Best Director for Lenny Abrahamson, Best Adapted Screenplay for Emma Donoghue, Best Actress for Brie Larson.

Abrahamson discussed making the film and adapting it from Donoghue’s novel with the Times in December before it played Academy Screenings.

“45 Years” Best Actress for Charlotte Rampling.

Director Andrew Haigh spoke to the Times about the making of the British domestic drama before it screened at Academy Screenings in October.

“Amy” Best Documentary.

Director Asif Kapadia did an interview with the Times when the film on the late Amy Winehouse played Academy Screenings.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing.

The Times was on the scene as the space opera’s latest installment brought costumed crowds to the Isis Theater on opening night in December.

“Mustang” Best Foreign Language Film.

Director Deniz Gamze Erguven talked about her personal inspiration for the movie before it played Academy Screenings.

“Embrace of the Serpent” Best Foreign Language Film.

The Amazonian epic screened at the Aspen Filmfest in September.

“Shok” Short Film (Live Action).

This Kosovo-based story of friendship and war won three awards at Aspen Shortsfest in April.