2017’s Oscar Nominations

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Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in the Oscar-nominated ‘La La Land’

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this morning the slate of films up for the highest honors in the film industry: the Academy Awards or Oscars.

Some good news this year: there’s actual recognition for minorities in the nominations. Well, African-American minorities, anyway. Asians, Latinos, LGBTQ+ and others are still mostly or entirely absent from the list, but at least this year’s group of nominations features a few different skin tones. And odds are good that few if any of that diversity will be represented on stage on Oscar night on February 26. So it’s a small step, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

I’ve linked to the movies that we at GeekDad and GeekMom reviewed this year.

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester By the Sea
  • Moonlight

There aren’t any great surprises here, and while there are certainly movies I would have put on the list over relatively weak films like Hacksaw Ridge, I can’t really complain too much. Both Arrival and Hell or High Water were on my list of the top 10 films of 2016, and Lion and Hidden Figures would have been if I had seen them in 2016, and as a bonus, I didn’t actually hate any of these films.

Best Director

  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

The only surprise here is the inclusion of Gibson over Hidden Figures’ Theodore Melfi. Unfortunately, this, along with its exclusion from the Editing category, pretty much ends any hope Figures might have had to win big on Oscar night.

Best Actor

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences

Again, no real surprises. Captain Fantastic never made it to a theater anywhere near me, so it’s one of the few movies on these lists I haven’t seen.

Best Actress

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

One of the more competitive categories this year, with both Huppert and Stone having won at the Golden Globes, also features the most surprising omissions with none of the women from Hidden Figures making the cut (although Octavia Spencer did get a Supporting Actress nomination).

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Probably the least surprising group of all. I am glad that Noctural Animals, my pick for second-best movie of the year, got at least one nomination.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

This is far and away the most diverse category, and the one most likely to yield a non-white winner.

Best Animated Feature

The folks who decide on the nominees for Animated Feature always manage to find one movie no one outside of LA has ever heard of, much less seen. So congratulations to My Life as a Zucchini for that achievement this year (although to be fair, the French film was also nominated for a Golden Globe.) This category will produce the most outrage on Twitter from people who have actually seen the movies when Moana beats out Kubo.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan
  • La La Land, Damien Chazelle
  • The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
  • Manchester By the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan
  • 20th Century Women, Mike Mills

20th Century Women hasn’t opened here yet, but I was already planning to see it. And I guess I need to go ahead and watch that copy of The Lobster that’s been sitting around for months.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Arrival, Eric Heisserer
  • Fences, August Wilson
  • Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi
  • Lion, Luke Davies
  • Moonlight, Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

TIL that Moonlight is based on a play.

Best Original Song

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls; Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
  • “City of Stars” from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
  • “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
  • “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Two surprising things here: someone, it seems, actually did see Trolls, and there was a movie called Jim: The James Foley Story, that apparently contains at least one song. (According to IMDb, it’s a documentary about the American journalist killed by ISIS in 2014.) But we all know that we hope that the Academy doesn’t throw away its shot to give Miranda that final trophy for his collection.

The Other Categories

A couple of notes on those categories that seem to exist mostly to make the Academy Awards broadcast a full three hours: Rogue One picked up two nominations, for Visual Effects and Sound Mixing, while Star Trek Beyond picked up one for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also got two nominations, for Production Design and Costume Design, while Doctor Strange picked up a nomination for Visual Effects. Despite getting a Best Actress nomination, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle somehow didn’t get a nod for Best Foreign Language film. (I didn’t see any of the movies that did get nominations, so I can’t really compare them to Elle.) And Best Documentary includes a movie about O.J. Simpson. There was some talk that Deadpool might get nominated for some things, but the only people who thought that clearly know nothing about how the Academy actually works.

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