There was one awards body that didn’t fawn over Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”; in fact, he didn’t even make the top 20. (He just missed it at 22.) The Skandies don’t have the earth-shaking credibility of the National Society of Film Critics or the New York Film Critics Circle, but they have bragging rights about one thing: They’re the oldest continuous online movie poll out there, having started in 1995.
Their other key quality is they’re carefully handpicked. Their ranks are filled by people — not just critics but also curators, assorted specialists and just plain cinephiles — who don’t generally agree with the consensus, thus making the awards season feel slightly less same-y. (Full disclosure: This writer is among this year’s 35 voters.) The 2015 poll may have feted “Mad Max: Fury Road” with Best Picture — along with many other awards bodies — but it’s the kind of group where Oscar Isaac’s turn as a mad scientist bro in “Ex Machina” won the Supporting Actor category and the tiny indie “The Mend” raked in seven separate awards, including fifth place for Picture
Where Rooney Mara has been inaccurately condemned to the Supporting Actress category for “Carol,” Skandies voters gave her Best Actress. (Her co-star, Cate Blanchett, came in at five.) Michael B. Jordan was snubbed for an Oscar entirely, but he took Best Actor, with his “Creed” colleagues Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson coming in at fourth and 11th in their respective Supporting categories. As with Stallone, the Skandies don’t go completely against the grain: current Best Actor Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender came fifth for “Steve Jobs.”
But the Skandies is still the kind of organization that singles out such against-the-grain awards season choices as Charlize Theron for “Mad Max” (second for Actress) Cynthia Nixon for “James White” (third for Supporting Actress), Josh Lucas (second for Actor) and Stephen Plunkett (seventh, ditto) for “The Mend,” “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation”’s Rebecca Ferguson (fifth for Supporting Actress), Peter Sarsgaard for “Experimenter” (sixth for Actor), Sarah Snook for “Predestination” (11th for Actress), Jessica Chastain for “Crimson Peak” (13th for Supporting Actress), Viola Davis for “Blackhat” (18th for Supporting Actress) and Kurt Russell twice (20th for Actor in “Bone Tomahawk”; 13th for Supporting Actor in “The Hateful Eight”).
Among people who had serious Oscar buzz but didn’t make the cut, Paul Dano scored 10th place for Actor in “Love & Mercy” and Samuel L. Jackson came in third in the same category of “The Hateful Eight.” Kristen Stewart was ignored by Oscars, but she can add winning the Skandies Supporting Actress trophy (which doesn’t physically exist, natch) to the tower of accolades she won for “Clouds of Sils Maria,” which also scored for Picture (ninth), Juliette Binoche for Actress (13th) and Olivier Assayas’ screenplay (second).
And though she didn’t make the top 20, Dakota Johnson’s quietly funny and smart turn in “Fifty Shades of Grey” may have gotten her a kneejerk Razzie nomination, but here she came in 32 for Actress.
The most unusual category is Scene, which features such winners as the final scene of “Phoenix” (first place), the one-take fight from “Creed” (second), Joe Manganiello’s Backstreet Boys-set convenience store dance in “Magic Mike XXL” (sixth) and that blistering first chase scene from “Mad Max: Fury Road” (seventh).
The full results can be seen at the Skandies site, along with each voter’s personal ballots.