DAVID GREENE, HOST:
This morning in Beverly Hills, the nominations for the Academy Awards were announced, and NPR's Mandalit del Barco is on the line at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Mandalit, good morning.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Good morning.
GREENE: So who's up for best picture?
DEL BARCO: Well, "The Revenant," the Western epic that was famously filmed in only natural sunlight and fire light under such harsh conditions in Canada and Argentina? Well, that movie got 12 nominations. "The Revenant" will be up against "Mad Max: Fury Road," George Miller's post-apocalyptic action film. That movie earned 10 nominations. And also nominated for best picture is "Spotlight." That's been a critical darling, and it's considered right now as the frontrunner, the story of Boston Globe journalist investigating the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Those films will also compete against Ridley Scott's science-fiction thriller, "The Martian," as well as the "The Big Short," "Bridge Of Spies," "Brooklyn" and "Room."
GREENE: All right. Well, let's move on to directors because I know the director of "The Revenant," I mean, won for "Birdman" last year, right? I mean, so he's - is he a repeat compet-er (ph) for that category?
DEL BARCO: That's right. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, he won last year for "Birdman," he's up again for "The Revenant." And George Miller, who we just mentioned, he is the director of "Mad Max," he's nominated. Tom McCarthy for "Spotlight," Lenny Abrahamson for "Room" and Adam McKay for "The Big Short." But, David, there is a huge scrub snub here; 78-year-old director Ridley Scott had been considered a shoe-on for best director for "The Martian." He's never won before, not for "Alien," not for "Blade Runner," and the buzz is that he'd win it for his complete body of work, but he didn't even get nominated, nor any women or people of color.
GREENE: Wow. So that'll certainly to be a topic heading into the Oscars. Well, that about best actress and best actor? What are some of the highlights from those nominations?
DEL BARCO: Well, in the actress category there's also not a single non-white person nominated in either of those. For best actress, Brie Larson is expected to win. She just won a Golden Globe on Sunday night for her performance as a woman held captive with her son for years, and competing against her will be two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett for Carol. Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, the star of "Brooklyn," is also nominated, so is Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and Charlotte Rampling for her role in "45 Years." That's her first nomination. As far as the actors, the frontrunner is Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in "The Revenant." He's never won an Oscar, and the buzz is that this is his year. He'll be competing against Matt Damon, Bryan Cranston, Michael Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne. He won last year.
GREENE: Well, Mandalit, I know just as these nominations were getting ready to come out we got news - some sad news that the British actor Alan Rickman died. Was the reaction in the room of people who were involved in the industry?
DEL BARCO: Well, we were in the - backstage waiting for the announcements, and everybody seemed to get the news on their smart phones. And it was quite a surprise. It's very sad news. You know, the British actor he's known to the younger generation for his role in - his role in the Harry Potter movies. And, you know, only 69 years old, so it's rather shocking news around here in Hollywood.
GREENE: All right, that's NPR's Mandalit del Barco. Mandalit, thanks a lot.
DEL BARCO: Thank you very much, David.
GREENE: And let's just listen to a few of those roles played by Alan Rickman, who passed away. These are a few scenes from "Harry Potter," "Die Hard" and "Dogma."
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE")
ALAN RICKMAN: (As Severus Snape) Mr. Potter, our new celebrity.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DIE HARD")
RICKMAN: (As Hans Gruber) Now I have a machine gun. Ho, ho, ho.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DOGMA")
RICKMAN: (As Metatron) I am a Serafin, the highest choir of angels. You do know what an angel is, don't you?
GREENE: The voice of actor Alan Rickman. He died today at age 69. This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.