The 89th Annual Academy Awards just released their list of the nominees for this year’s ceremony and, overall, it’s a pretty solid one. There’s a lot to be happy about, but also a few things that were a bit disappointing, so let’s talk about all of it. Here are my five winners and losers from this year’s list of nominees.
Winner: “La La Land”
The most obvious victor from the morning announcements is Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land”, as the film racked in a record-tying 14 nominations across the board. This is a number only matched by “Titanic” in 1997 and “All About Eve” in 1950, and is a feat that many may say is a bit too much for this film, and that the Academy should have shared the wealth for some of the smaller categories. Regardless, this is a beautifully made film from top to bottom, and it’s hard to see anything but loads of gold coming for “La La Land” at the end of February.
There were a few films that had early Oscar hype, but none missed out more on the noms than Martin Scorsese’s “Silence”. This film, which has been in the works for around three decades, is a gorgeously made, tremendously acted film, yet its only nomination was for cinematography, which was a completely deserved one. There’s a case for this film to be nominated for the Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and even Best Picture categories, yet this 161-minute epic goes home with only a single nom to look forward to.
Denis Villeneuve’s brilliant sci-fi drama made some waves, bringing in eight nominations, tied for the second most of any movie this year. From the lovely cinematography to Best Director to the incredibly well-deserved Best Picture, it was great to see such an excellently made film that dared to be different be rewarded by the Academy for its originality. “Arrival” landed every nomination that it should have, except….
Loser: Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Poor Amy Adams, who is a truly tremendous actress and has been nominated five times before, was completely hosed here in the Best Actress category. She was passed up by the surprise choice of Ruth Negga, who, I will admit, was great in “Loving”. Still, for as good as Negga was, Adams was even better, as she held her own against both her human and alien counterparts with an incredible performance that stuck with me long after viewing. While I am happy for Negga to get her first nom, I think that Adams was completely robbed in the process.
Winner: Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”
While Mrs. Adams may have been robbed, it was a very nice surprise to see Michael Shannon receive his second career nomination for his excellent turn in “Nocturnal Animals”. Shannon had already been beaten out by his counterpart, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who not only was nominated but won at the Golden Globes, but it is Shannon who now has a shot at the major trophy. Shannon’s supporting role in the film was one that felt gritty and genuine, and he is certainly just as worthy as anyone to be in this category.
Loser: “Finding Dory”
I can’t say that “Finding Dory” was robbed, as I have heard both “The Red Turtle” and “My Life as a Zucchini” are both great, but I haven’t seen either of them, and it comes as a pretty major surprise to see “Zucchini” beat out Pixar’s billion-dollar film. While I certainly can agree the three original ideas that are “Zootopia”, “Moana”, and “Kubo and the Two Strings” are all the superior animated films, “Dory” still packs a heavy emotional punch and has some real gorgeous animation to boot, so while I’m not necessarily mad about the snub, it did come as quite a surprise.
Winner: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, “The Lobster”
They certain aren’t the easiest names to say, but it was a joy to hear Lanthimos and Filippou called for their brilliant screenplay in “The Lobster”. This was a huge favorite of mine early in the year, and based on pure originality, this is a screenplay that deserves recognition. Never has a movie swept me away simply on its bizarre style and completely balls out creativity, but that is exactly what “The Lobster” did for me, and I love that it is now an Oscar-nominated film.
Last year, all the talk coming into the ceremony was about how racist the Academy was when choosing nominees. This year, hopefully, there will be much less of that, as there are loads of diverse films that were chosen in various major categories. Three of the nine Best Picture films feature strictly black leads, and there is a person of color in each of the five major categories: Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Director. Even further, “Moonlight”, a movie with strictly black actors, is tied for the second most nominations with eight, and is a favorite to potentially with the night’s major prize. This is a step forward for the Academy, and are all great signs moving forward as a whole for the Oscars.
This early favorite that stole the hearts of all those who love crude, meta-humor was sadly blanked at this year’s Oscars, not that that’s the most surprising of facts. Still, after the two Golden Globe nominations, there was some hope for Ryan Reynolds and company, maybe even if it would have just been in the makeup department, which did a fantastic job with Reynolds’ wounds. Being able to call “Deadpool” an Oscar nominee would have been a beautiful thing, but instead….
Loser: The fact that “Suicide Squad” is an Oscar Nominee
Look, I can live with “Passengers” getting two nominations, I GUESS, but “Suicide Squad”? Hell no. I get it, the makeup and hairstyling for the film are fine, but this movie does not deserve to have a title like this. “Suicide Squad” sucked, there should be no debate about this now, it is a very bad movie, and there was solid makeup in plenty of other films including “Deadpool”, so the Academy should have certainly picked anything else besides this turd.
What did you think of the nominees? Who were the biggest winners and losers? Comment below with your thoughts.