2017 Oscar Nominations: 'La La Land' Dominates, 'Moonlight' Shines
Updated 10:57 a.m.
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When the nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards were announced this morning, La La Land racked up 14 nods, tying records held by Titanic and All About Eve.
Martin Scorsese's Silence received only a single nomination for cinematography, while the small but critically praised Western/crime film Hell or High Water performed above expectations, with nominations for best picture, best supporting actor (Jeff Bridges) and original screenplay.
Call it Oscars Slightly Less White: Unlike last year, when no people of color managed to secure acting or directing nominations, the Academy nominated Denzel Washington for lead actor in Fences, Mahershala Ali and Dev Patel for supporting actor in Moonlight and Lion, respectively, Loving's Ruth Negga in the lead actress category, and Viola Davis ( Fences), Naomie Harris ( Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer ( Hidden Figures) were nominated for best supporting actress. Moonlight's Barry Jenkins was also nominated for best director.
ABC will telecast the 89th Annual Oscar Awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 26.
First Impressions:If you loved La La Land and were worried that the buzz around it was peaking too early for it to make a strong showing at the Oscars, the raft of nominations it received this morning will either allay your fears, or cement them. One the one hand, it shows, yet again, how much Hollywood loves movies about movies — on the other, we've now got 33 whole days for the film's detractors to feed the palpable, and growing, backlash.
Otherwise, no particular surprises here. Except:
Notable Snubs?: The poor showing of Martin Scorsese's Silence isn't a surprise, if you've been following Oscar prognosticators, but it's striking.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
First Impressions:If there's a surprise here, it's Mortensen, if only because
Captain Fantastic came and went so quickly. This is likely shaping up into a battle between Affleck and Washington.
Notable Snubs?: Joel Edgerton's performance in Loving was powerful but inwardly directed, and there may be room for only one stoic-mumbler performance (Affleck) on this list.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
First Impressions:Florence Foster Jenkins is a chewy role, and Streep attacks it with Streepish verve, while Portman's performance as Jackie O. risks something by running right up to the edge of satire before retreating to find something smaller, and real. Negga ensures that audiences register the love between Richard and Mildred Loving in a nuanced, grounded way that never feels cloying, and Stone makes the most of some lovely moments in La La Land. But in Elle — a challenging, uncompromising film — Isabell Huppert is icy and ferocious, and she earns our sympathy while remaining unlikable. That is, as they say in acting conservatories, a neat trick.
Notable Snubs?: Just about everyone expected to see Amy Adams in here for her quiet but hugely emotional performance in Arrival. And personally, I'd have loved to see Annette Bening in here, because she does so much in 20th Century Women that's small and quiet, unshowy and true.
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
First Impressions: Hedges is a slight surprise here, but you can't say he didn't earn his place. Ali is heavily favorited.
Notable Snubs?: Many expected Hugh Grant to earn a nod for Florence Foster Jenkins.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
First Impressions: Williams made the very, very most of her relatively brief screentime, as did Harris, Kidman and Spencer. But screentime doesn't matter to Oscar voters (ask Judi Dench), emotional weight does. And by that metric, there's no contest — this is Davis's to lose.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
First Impressions: Kubo has a great story, The Red Turtle is achingly beautiful, Zootopia is wildly popular (which doesn't hurt) and delivers a message (ditto), Moana is the juggernaut that is Moana, and My Life as a Zucchini .... I haven't seen My Life as a Zucchini.
Notable Snubs?: Many expressed surprise this morning that Finding Dory failed to make a showing here, which makes it the second Pixar film in a row (after 2015's The Good Dinosaur) to fail to earn a nomination.
First Impressions: Silence's only Oscar nomination this year.
First Impressions :Jenkins is only the fourth African-American director to be nominated for an Oscar in the 89-year history of the ceremony.
Notable Snubs?: Directors of four of the nine films nominated for best picture — Fences, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures and Lion — didn't make the cut, here. Neither, as noted, did Scorsese.
First Impression:Depending on whom you talk to, the O.J. doc is either heavily favorited or — because most people saw it on T.V., not in a movie theater — a longshot. That may depress its votes, allowing the widely praised I Am Not Your Negro to take home the Oscar.
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
First Impressions: A Man Called Ove is a crowd-pleaser, while The Salesman is ... not particularly interested in pleasing crowds. This will be interesting to watch.
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
First Impressions:The West Coast just woke up to a world in which the phrase "the Oscar-nominated Suicide Squad" is a thing people can say, with their mouths.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)
First Impressions: Probably La La Land's to lose, particularly if the voters don't go for it in the major categories.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
First Impressions: Two songs from the same movie hasn't happened in a while, so they might split the vote. But the real story here is that Lin-Manuel Miranda, of "How Far I'll Go," is one O short of an EGOT. Voters might want to be a part of that milestone.
First Impressions: The Coen Brothers' Hail, Caesar! makes its only appearance in the 2017 nominations.
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
First Impressions:The screenplay categories offer a chance for both Moonlight and La La Land to get a victory on Oscar night, in case one or the other runs the table — but don't count out the goodwill that's still gathering behind Hidden Figures.
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
First Impressions: I love that The Lobster got a nod — but then, the screenplay categories are historically where films too weird for the Academy get recognized. 20th Century Women isn't weird, exactly, but it's pleasantly shaggy and unconventional in structure. That said, if La La Land takes this award, you're probably looking at a sweep.
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