It’s most every film fan’s favorite time of the year again: Oscar Season (unless you’re like me and the Summer Movie Season takes precedence). The nominees were announced Tuesday and as expected, “La La Land” cleaned up house with a record-tying 14 nominations including Best Picture, and there were a few surprises along the way as well. After a month-plus of (slightly exaggerated) hopes, “Deadpool” did not get a Best Adapted Screenplay or Best Pic nod, but not getting Makeup and Hair Styling, and losing that slot to “Suicide Squad” nonetheless, is a bit of a shocker. “Passengers” got two nominations and “Silence” got one, so. I mean, there’s that. So let’s rundown the “big” nominations and give a few thoughts on who I love seeing included and who got snubbed.
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Nothing overly surprising here, everything fell into place after the Globes and BAFTA nominations. Frontrunners (read: only films with a chance of winning) “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea” all got their noms, “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Hell of High Water” both rode their popularity waves to the finish and “Hidden Figures,” which is now going to continue slaughter at the box office after earning three nominations, snuck in that 9th slot.
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
No massive surprises here, with Gibson getting in over Martin Scorsese and Tom Ford for the 5th slot 21 years after winning for “Braveheart.” Denis Villeneuve did better work in “Prisoners” and “Sicario” but it is cool he finally gets an Oscar nomination and Damien Chazelle gets his expected nod for the impossibly fun “La La Land” (which it’s his award to lose).
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences
Casey Affleck is going to win, so him getting a nomination is all but a formality. I’m glad Viggo Mortensen got in, I enjoyed “Captain Fantastic” until its climax and he gives an emotional and darkly amusing turn. Denzel Washington gave one of his best 21st century performances in “Fences” and Ryan Gosling, like everything else in “La La Land,” was charming and funny. Andrew Garfield’s nomination almost makes up for his 2010 snub for “The Social Network” (except not really).
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Amy Adams is the biggest name left off the list, but I said in my review in November that she wouldn’t get nominated (not bragging about being right, merely stating a fact). Meryl Streep getting a nomination for simply appearing in a movie is white noise at this point but Ruth Negga and Isabelle Huppert earning their first career nominations is very well deserved. Emma Stone is the frontrunner here, and while she is great in “La La Land” I don’t get the flooring hype surrounding her. Still, I won’t complain when my future third wife wins an Oscar (this is after my first two marriages to Anne Hathaway and Janelle Monáe unfortunately don’t work out).
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
Like every year, this category caused me so much stress in the month leading up to nomination announcements and still has me shaking with anxiety afterwards. I would have *loved* to see Hugh Grant earn his first career Academy Award nomination, but him being replaced by Lucas Hedges’ work in “Manchester by the Sea,” arguably the best supporting performance of 2016, will have you seeing no complaints for me. Frontrunner Mahershala Ali got his nomination after losing the Golden Globe to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who wasn’t in turn nominated here. Instead, his co-star and national treasure Michael Shannon got his second career nomination, which has me giddy.
Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
Viola Davis should finally win her Oscar which is cool, and Michelle Williams gets her 4th career nomination. Octavia Spencer was the weakest of the three performances in “Hidden Figures” (my vote would’ve been to future wife #2 Janelle Monáe) but still turns in subtly powerful work. Naomie Harris gets her first career nomination for a role she filmed in her free time during promoting “Spectre,” so that’s a fun factoid.
Best Adapted Screenplay
“Hidden Figures” getting in over “Nocturnal Animals” is probably the biggest joke of the entire show, not because “Figures’” screenplay is bad but because it is by-the-numbers while “Animals” balances three narratives with impressive finesse and features some fantastic dialogue. So glad “Fences” got in because it has many powerful monologues, and it’s also interesting and respectful because August Wilson completed the screenplay prior to his death in 2005. There was talk of “Deadpool” getting in, which would’ve been cool but the Oscars aren’t known for being “cool.”
Best Original Screenplay
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women
Glad to see “Hell or High Water” get in, and likely winner “Manchester by the Sea” often balances numerous emotions in one scene brilliantly. “The Lobster” and “20th Century Women” were both darkhorses that beat out the likes of “Jackie” and “Zootopia,” and “La La Land” has some fantastic dialogue to make up for its standard narrative (I love the film but don’t think it deserves to win here, if for nothing else but parity’s sake).
Best Original Song
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
Justin Timberlake is now an Academy Award nominee which is awesome and “La La Land” got two nominations which is obvious (even if “Someone in the Crowd” and “Another Day of Sun” are both better songs), but where is “Sing Street?” “Drive It Like You Stole It,” “Brown Shoes” and “To Find You” are all fantastic songs that deserved recognition, and while it was announced months ago “Hail, Caesar!” (which got a Production Design nod) wasn’t going to put “No Dames” in the running, that song also was better than half the songs on this list. Oh well.
What say you? Who was snubbed, who shouldn’t have gotten in? Let me know.
The Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, air on February 26 on ABC.