Scoop: Academy Award nominees are strangely all white

Chris Rock has just over six weeks to work up his jokes about Oscar snubbing African Americans.

The host of this year’s Academy Awards on Feb. 28 no doubt will be full of pithy comments about how talents such as Will Smith (“Concussion”), Ryan Coogler (“Creed”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”), F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”), Samuel L. Jackson (“The Hateful Eight”) and Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) were passed over.

Other notable snubs following Thursday’s Oscar nominations announcement:

Missing from the list were directors Steven Spielberg (“Bridge of Spies”), Todd Haynes (“Carol”), Ridley Scott (“The Martian”) and Gray (again), for “Straight Outta Compton,” which received one nod, for original screenplay. (And the writers Andrea Berloff and Jonathan Herman are white.)

In the acting categories, three-time nominee Johnny Depp (“Black Mass”) wasn’t recognized, nor were supporting performances by 9-year-old Jacob Tremblay (“Room”), Michael Keaton (“Spotlight”) or Steve Carell {“The Big Short”).

Where were veterans Helen Mirren (“Trumbo”) and Jane Fonda {“Youth”) for their supporting performances?

Aaron Sorkin missed out for his adapted screenplay for “Steve Jobs” — did somebody say there was too much walking and talking? — and Quentin Tarantino wasn’t recognized for his original screenplay for “The Hateful Eight.”

Hollywood’s most popular movie ever, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” got nods for its score, sound and effects, but not directing, writing or acting.

REMEMBERING ALAN RICKMAN

British actor Alan Rickman not only was Professor Snape in the “Harry Potter” movies and ”Die Hard” villain Hans Gruber, he also was a beloved star of screen and stage for 30 years.

Tributes from colleagues poured in upon news of his death Thursday, at 69, of cancer. J.K. Rowling called him “a magnificent actor,” a “wonderful man” and “great talent.” Helen Mirren, his costar onstage in “Anthony and Cleopatra” in 1998, said, “He was utterly distinctive, with a voice that could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade, and the profile of a Roman emperor. He was also a great friend.”

Despite acclaim for his portrayal of Gruber and performances in movies such as “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Sense and Sensibility” and the severely under-rated romance “Truly Madly Deeply,” Rickman never was nominated for an Oscar. He won a Golden Globe in 1997 for best actor in the HBO biopic “Rasputin.”


QUICK TAKES

One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Harry Styles are denying reports that they’re splitting up, but they say they will go on an extended hiatus. … Rene Angelil, husband and former manager of Celine Dion, died of cancer at 73.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
S.F. Giant Matt Duffy is 25. … Electronic musician Skrillex is 28. … Rapper Pitbull is 35. … Actor-director Mario Van Peebles is 59. … Actress Andrea Martin is 69. … Actress Margaret O’Brien is 78.

— Staff, wire reports

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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