Ah, Oscar nominations for the films of 2016 are finally here! I feel like they announced them later this year than usual. Anyway, there are a few unwelcome surprises here, but all in all I’d say the Academy did fairly well.
I’m not super surprised by anything here, but mildly surprised by Hawksaw Ridge, Hidden Figures, and Lion. I know Hacksaw Ridge was predicted by some, but I wasn’t sure it would make it on. Hidden Figures is definitely deserving, but I wasn’t sure whether it would actually make it in or not. Lion I really wasn’t expecting; the trailer seemed pretty underwhelming but perhaps I should give it a look. La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight have been the three frontrunners this whole time, so they were pretty much shoo-ins. Glad to see Hell or High Water even though it came out way back in August! Big fan of Arrival and Fences‘ inclusions as well.
Who was nominated: Denis Villeneuve for Arrival, Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge, Damien Chazelle for La La Land, Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea, and Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Wow, Academy! Mel? Okay. Haven’t seen the movie, but I’ll work on it. I was hoping Denzel would get a nomination here, but I guess I’m not too surprised that he didn’t (you can argue that getting great performances out of Denzel and Viola Davis is probably not too hard, lol). Great to see Villeneuve here after admiring his work for a while. Chazelle is two for two after Whiplash and bringing back the movie musical is not easy. Wasn’t a huge fan of Manchester by the Sea but expected to see Lonergan here and can’t really argue. But I’m really going to have to root for Barry Jenkins.
Who was nominated: Isabella Huppert for Elle, Natalie Portman for Jackie, Emma Stone for La La Land, Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins, and Ruth Negga for Loving
As far as I can tell, Huppert is the favorite for Elle, so it’s not surprising to see her nominated here. I loved Portman’s performance in Jackie, so I’m really happy to see her here even though I don’t imagine that she’ll be able to win. Stone was basically a shoo-in. Meryl… well, I didn’t see the movie so I can’t really fault it, but I feel like the Academy nominates her by default at this point. This better not be another Iron Lady scenario. I haven’t seen Loving but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Negga’s performance. Seems like there just wasn’t enough room for Amy Adams or Taraji P. Henson this year 😦
Who was nominated: Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge, Ryan Gosling for La La Land, Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic, and Denzel Washington for Fences
Affleck seems to be the frontrunner, so it’s not surprising he’s nominated here. Again, haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge, but I’ve heard good things about Garfield’s performance. I actually really enjoyed Gosling’s performance in La La Land, but maybe it’s just because I always think of him in Nicholas Winding Refn movies where he’s super inexpressive. I’ve heard good things about Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, and it seems like it’s a little bit of surprise that he’s nominated here. Really glad to see Denzel; he was really great in Fences. Sadly I’m not expecting him to win though.
Best Supporting Actress
Who was nominated: Viola Davis for Fences, Naomi Harris for Moonlight, Nicole Kidman for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, and Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
Yay! Viola Davis! I really hope she wins. Kind of hoped to see Janelle Monae (in either of her great supporting performances this year) but hopefully she’ll be back in another year. Can’t argue with any of these, though I haven’t seen Nicole Kidman in Lion yet.
Best Supporting Actor
Who was nominated: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight, Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals, Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water, Lucas Hedges for Manchester by the Sea, and Dev Patel for Lion
More for Lion? Okay, clearly I missed the boat on that one. So glad the Academy got Nocturnal Animals right, Michael Shannon was definitely the highlight of that movie. I feel like Bridges basically plays himself in Hell or High Water, but sure, why not. Hedges was good in Manchester too. That being said, I’ll be rooting for Marhershala Ali and his wonderful performance in Moonlight. That choice is made pretty simple for me since Alden Ehrenreich’s hilarious Hail, Caesar! performance sadly wasn’t nominated.
Who was nominated: Bradford Young for Arrival, Linus Sandgren for La La Land, Greig Fraser for Lion, James Laxton for Moonlight, Rodrigo Pieto for Silence
Ah, the only nomination for Scorsese’s film (I hope to review it soon and elaborate on my feelings towards it, but I’m having a hard time figuring them out). These match the ASC nominations (I think they basically did last year too) so we’ll see how those work out. Wow, is Lion really that good? Clearly I have to see it now. Gut reaction right now is to root for Young for Arrival.
Best Original Screenplay
What was nominated: Hell or High Water, La La Land, The Lobster, Manchester by the Sea, and 20th Century Women
Glad to see The Lobster nominated for something! Such an original story, it deserves a screenplay nomination. When Hell or High Water came out, I thought screenplay was just about all it was going to get. Nice to see it here even though it went much farther than I expected. Haven’t seen 20th Century Women yet, but it seems strange this is the only thing it got.
Best Adapted Screenplay
What was nominated: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Lion
The Academy seems to have largely ignored it, but really wish I could have seen The Handmaiden here. The structure of that movie with all its twists and turns was really impressive, and I can only assume adapted well from the book. Otherwise, you really have no complaints from me here (other than that I still haven’t seen Lion). I would have a hard time choosing between Arrival and Moonlight.
What was nominated: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, and Moonlight
Editing is so important to the success of a movie and also so hard to judge, especially for me because I suck at it. Arrival switches between “the past” and the future so well partially due to editing. Hacksaw Ridge I still haven’t seen so I can’t judge it. I remember Hell or High Water being pretty tightly constructed. Editing is always super important in musicals; you can hack a performance to pieces like in Chicago or let them play out naturally; I think I would need to see La La Land again to judge its editing properly. Moonlight is pretty much my favorite of the year and that doesn’t happen without good editing, so in the end I’ll probably have to go with that.
Best Visual Effects:
What was nominated: Deepwater Horizon, Dr. Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I’ve only seen Rogue One out of these, and I don’t super remember the effects in the face of everything else I didn’t like about that movie. Cool to see an animated film here! My gut says The Jungle Book, but I’m not really sure why.
Best Production Design
What was nominated: La La Land, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Arrival, Hail, Caesar!, and Passengers
Hail, Caesar!‘s only nomination! Sigh. I’ll definitely be rooting for it here, and its nomination for production design, with it’s different periods and genres coming together in different ways, is well deserved. It seems largely forgotten since it came out in February which is a damn shame. The rest of these choices seem a little strange, but maybe I’m just biased in thinking of period pieces (such as Jackie or Hidden Figures) for this category. I suppose Fantastic Beasts fits into that, but Passengers (though I admittedly haven’t seen it) seems like strange inclusion.
Best Costume Design
What was nominated: Allied, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Jackie, and La La Land
And I’ll be rooting for Jackie in this category. End of story. I’m not sure what else I might have included, if it had been up to me. I haven’t seen anything else besides Jackie and La La Land, and I’m not sure I would have put La La Land in here. La La Land is on such a role with these nominations it seems unstoppable at this point. Oh wait, I just remembered The Handmaiden exists.
Best Makeup and Hair Styling
What was nominated: A Man Called Ove, Star Trek Beyond, and Suicide Squad
I never know what to do with this category. I’ve only seen Star Trek out of these, and I’m guessing it’s because of that alien character pictured above whose name I’ve forgotten. Suicide Squad? Okay, academy.
Best Sound Editing
What was nominated: Arrival, Deepwater Horizon, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, and Sully
Were there really cool plane noises in Sully that I totally forgot about? That’s all I can think of. It’s not hard to imagine why La La Land got in here, it being a musical and all. Hacksaw Ridge probably has some cool battlefield noises, I’d assume Deepwater Horizon has a lot of actioney type effects too. Arrival is probably what I’d go with, considering they had to invent sounds for aliens to speak with.
Best Sound Mixing
What was nominated: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Thirteen Hours
Sound mixing is also pretty hard to judge, but I’d think La La Land with the singing would have this one sewn up. I totally forgot that Thirteen Hours was a movie that came out this year.
Best Original Song
What was nominated: “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, “City of Stars” from La La Land, “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from La La Land, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from Trolls, and “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story
Will Lin-Manuel Miranda EGOT this year? Who can say? Not me, because I don’t know the songs. I gotta think that La La Land being nominated for two different songs has gotta help him. That Trolls song is Justin Timberlake, so I suppose that’s why it’s here. Who is James Foley and what is his story? I have no idea, I think that nomination came out of nowhere. Seems like Pharrel Williams with “Runnin'” from Hidden Figures was set to take that slot (and that’s a pretty catchy song).
Best Original Score
What was nominated: La La Land, Moonlight, Lion, Jackie, and Passengers
Okay, seriously, since when is Lion this good? La La Land is pretty much a given in anything relating to music. Moonlight I definitely can’t argue with. Glad to see Mica Levi nominated for Jackie, her score for Under the Skin is one of my favorites ever, and Jackie‘s not bad either. Passengers seems to have come out of nowhere, though the composer is Thomas Newman and he’s done some pretty good stuff (recently Skyfall and Bridge of Spies). One of my favorite scores of the year was overlooked though; Johann Johannsson’s for Arrival.
Best Foreign Language Film
What was nominated: Land of Mine from Denmark, A Man Called Ove from Sweeden, Tanna from Australia, The Salesman from Iran, and Toni Erdmann from Germany
I don’t know too much about this category this year, but I have to think that Toni Erdmann is the front runner. I’ve heard of A Man Called Ove as well, but I’m not really aware of the rest of these (not that that means much). I know Elle was eliminated from the shortlist so that’s why it isn’t here despite Huppert’s nomination for best actress. The Handmaiden wasn’t submitted by Korea so there’s no reason why I would expect it to be here
Best Animated Feature
What was nominated: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Zootopia
I only saw one animated feature this year, and that’s one more than usual. It was Finding Dory, and it’s not surprising that the Academy overlooked that sequel (I can’t really blame them). I’d think it’s sort of a toss-up between Zootopia and Moana, but what do I know?
Best Documentary Feature
What was nominated: Fire at Sea, I Am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, OJ: Made in America, and 13th
Other than Fire at Sea, I’ve heard good things about all of these movies. I haven’t gotten to any docs this year, but glad to see anything with Ava DuVernay’s name on it get a nomination!
Congrats to all the nominees in remaining categories!
Best Animated Short Nominees: “Piper”, “Borrowed Time”, “Pear Cider and Cigarettes”, “Blind Vaysha”, and “Pearl”
Best Live Action Short Nominees: “Timecode”, “Sing”, “Silent Nights”, “Ennemis Interieurs”, and “La Femme et le TGV”
Best Documentary Short Nominees: “Extremis”, “4.1 Miles”, “Joe’s Violin”, “Watani: My Homeland”, and “The White Helmets”
Every year there are a couple of movies that I overlooked that the Academy thinks I should have seen. Despite all my preparation, I always miss two or three. This year they are Lion and Hacksaw Ridge, so I’ll try to get to those soon. On the positive side, I’m happy Hidden Figures made it into the best picture race! Most disappointing would have to be no nomination for Amy Adams, but hopefully she’ll be back with another great performance (or two or three) next year.
Here are the numbers: La La Land gets pretty much the most nominations ever at 14, tying Titanic and and All About Eve. Arrival and Moonlight come in next at 8 apiece. Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester by the Sea both were nominated 6 times. Lion comes in with 5, while Hell or High Water and Fences both get 4. Hidden Figures and Jackie both bring home 3 nominations. A Man Called Ove, Passengers, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Kubo and the Two Strings, Florence Foster Jenkins, Deepwater Horizon, and Moana all get two each. Everybody else gets just one. Let me know what you guys think of what the Academy decided, and look out for my predictions in February! Cheers!