Are this year’s Oscars another parade of safe Hollywood self-congratulation or a courageous vote of confidence for under-recognized artists? Well, some of both. The list of nominees was released on January 24th and came with a quite a few surprises. This list of nominations breaks several records, offers several first time nominations, and even cements a comeback story. So, without further ado, here are the highlights of the nominees.
So Many Hype. Such Talented. Wow.
La La Land ties the record for most academy nominations with a total of 14 nominations. It shares this prestigious honor with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950). The top awards the film is nominated for is Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress. Heading to the Oscar with this much momentum gives La La Land the possibility of not just winning the most awards of the night but tying, if not winning, the most awards ever. The honor is currently held by three movies for a total of 11 awards each. Those movies are Ben-Hur (1959), the aforementioned Titanic (1997), and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003). As it stands right now, it is looking to be a great night for La La Land.
Not only was there great news for great news for La La Land, but minorities scored a huge win with amount of nominations this year. Coming off last year’s controversy of #OscarsSoWhite, the academy gave a lot of love to minorities in film this year. Setting a record for most Black actors nominated in a single year, the academy decided to recognize six actors and actresses for their talents. Denzel Washington, Mahershala Ali, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Ruth Negga, and Naomie Harris are the selected to few to represent black actors. Hidden Figures, Fences, and Moonlight all scored best picture nominations. Four out of the Five Documentary features that are nominated contain a black nominee. An Australian film about an indigenous tribe got recognized in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The Black community were not the only minorities to get some love. Lin Manuel Miranda got recognized for Best Song and several female producers got recognized in the Best Picture category. Overall, it was a great leap forward for minorities in film, but Hollywood still has a lot of steps to take forward when it comes to their representation of minorities.
Put an Oscar on the Barbie
The academy also decided to give a lot of recognition towards Australian films. Australia managed to get two films into the Best Picture category, Lion and Hacksaw Ridge. Each film came out with 6 nominations for their respective films, making 12 nominations in total. And a 13th nomination comes from the Best Foreign Language Film category for Tanna. Australia gets a record year in nominations for their local film industry. The success of Hacksaw Ridge also marks the official comeback for director Mel Gibson after years of being shunned by Hollywood for disreputable actions in the past few decades.
Surprises and Snubs
That leads us into our final topic of discussion, which is the biggest surprises and snubs to come from this list of nominees. The first big surprise is Mel Gibson’s recognition for Best Director. This is his first nomination since 1993 for Braveheart. The biggest snub to come from this year is Amy Adams not getting recognized for her performance in Arrival, a film that scored eight other nominations. Pixar’s Finding Dory got no recognition, making it one of the few Pixar films to not get nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. Nocturnal Animals makes a dual snub/surprise in Best Supporting Actor. The Golden Globes winner Aaron Taylor Johnson was replaced by his co-star Michael Shannon who sharing the category with Johnson for most of the award season. The final surprise comes from Amazon studios. While Netflix gets recognition in Documentary Features, Amazon becomes the first streaming service to get a nomination for Best Picture with its film Manchester by the Sea.
If you have any desire to catch up on the award season films, I’d recommend visiting the following websites for more information on where to find film showings.
If you’re interested in watching the nominated foreign films visit these websites for more information.
Daniel Valladares is an intern for the FIU Film Studies Program for the Spring 2017 semester. Daniel is seeking a Film Studies Certificate as an English Major.