Oscars Watch 2017: The Less-Depressing Campaign: THE NOMINATIONS ARE HERE

I want to waste no further adieu in build-up, so let’s dive right in and find out what got nominated for the 85th Academy Awards.

If it’s in red, that means I didn’t predict it.

Best Picture:
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

  • So no huge surprises here in the way of snubs or shockers. Silence, Loving, or Jackie were already out of the race a while ago and Deadpool didn’t end up Cinderellaing its way in. PGA without Deadpool. 
  • Still thrilled that Arrival ended up making the show it did, and glad that Lion didn’t lose momentum.

Best Actor:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

  • Again, pretty much just the SAG 5. I guess I’ll finally watch Captain Fantastic, it does feel good to see recognition for Mortensen.

Best Actress:
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

  • AGH. I PULLED RUTH NEGGA AT THE LAST MINUTE. FOOLISH. It’s a great performance, I just thought that the pretty much total ignoring of Loving would take her out of the running. Still, glad to recognize good work.
  • Also, wow Isabelle Huppert! The little European performance that could. I guess I need to suck it up and see Elle. 
  • And here comes the first one that irritates me. It’s not just snubbing Amy Adams for Arrival, where she does wonderful and emotionally complex work. Or Annette Benning, a long underrated actress who apparently does something worthwhile.
    It’s that we are AGAIN recognizing Meryl Streep for coasting on a frankly lazy performance. She has not pushed herself in years and she still gets nominated for work that would get other people rightfully ignored. Florence Foster Jenkins is really not interesting or challenging and she’s a large part of that. “It’s Meryl” is absolutely not enough anymore.

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

  • WHOA MICHAEL SHANNON, AWESOME. Not just because the one he managed to replace here is Hugh Grant (my least favorite of the likely nominees), but because he does legitimately strong work as a Jim Thompson-type sheriff in Nocturnal Animals. And also because Michael Shannon is THE BOMB and had a great year and deserves to be recognized.
  • This is probably my favorite category. A strong group of actors doing varied work in really great movies. Everyone here deserves all the recognition.

Best Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

  • Again, no real surprises. This is a category that was set pretty early on and didn’t seem to have any real shockers, which meant it was a category prepped for it. No real motion besides which Hidden Figures actress was going in.

Best Director:
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

  • Hooray 4/5 of this list. A strong group of people.
  • UGH MEL GIBSON. Hacksaw Ridge is bad and Gibson does not deserve to have a career revival for that toxic propaganda. It’s a worse film about faith than Silence, which got shafted, so this particularly raises my hackles.

Best Original Screenplay:
20th Century Women
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
The Lobster

  • I called this one perfectly! So…hooray for The Lobster! Seriously, The Lobster is an amazingly clever and real piece of writing and it absolutely deserves to be recognized.

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

  • Looks like this is where Nocturnal Animals‘ surprising run through the Writing Awards stops. Otherwise, pretty standard stuff.

Best Original Score:
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

  • PASSENGERS! PASSENGERS?! PASSENGERS?!! I don’t even remember that the film had a score, much less a best score and much less having ignored Arrival for it. Also, Passengers SUCKS. So…no. No. I get why it’s here, but no.
  • While this is La La Land‘s category, I want to shout out the rest of these scores. They are all legitimately awesome, especially Mica Levi’s Jackie score. Mica Levi is an awesome composer and I hope we keep seeing her.

Best Original Song:
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream) – La La Land
City of Stars” – La La Land
Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

  • Man, those Documentary songs always sneak up on you. Always a surprise there.
  • Other than that, pretty expected. Just saying though, we had Popstar and Sing Street this year and this is the Original Song category? Come on guys, some variety would really be nice.
  • It’s weird that La La Land isn’t getting “Another Day of Sun” or “Someone in the Crowd” nominated, they’re way better songs. And which “City of Stars” is this?

Best Cinematography:
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

  • Again, called this one dead-on. This is a gorgeously shot group of films and I’m thrilled to see them all here.
  • Bradford Young is the first African-American person ever nominated for this award. That’s pretty cool.

Best Costume Design:
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

  • Allied should have been an obvious one, can’t believe I missed that.
  • Other than that, makes sense. Mostly period pictures plus the primary colored pretty that is La La Land. 

Best Editing:
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

  • Again, no real surprises. A lot of films with big editing challenges, so the Most Editing award. The nonlinear time of Arrival, the intense Hacksaw Ridge portion of Hacksaw Ridge, the crosscutting finale of Hell or High Water, the musical numbers of La La Land, and three different timelines in Moonlight. Pretty much just pick the hardest movies to edit, and there’s your award.

Best Production Design:
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

  • Thank god Hail, Caesar! got something. In a just world, it would have popped up in Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, and Original Song. I’ll do for it at least getting recognized here.
  • PASSENGERS AGAIN! NO. FUCK THAT. Passengers looks like an Apple Store in that mall you can’t really afford to go to. There are so many movies with INFINITELY more impressive design. No. Why? Why do we do this? The Witch, Silence, Popstar, 10 Cloverfield Lane. No.

 Best Sound Editing:
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Best Sound Mixing:
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

  • Don’t know enough about sound to make any real judgments here.
  • 13 Hours apparently is an industry respected mix, so that’s the surprise for us, not so much for the insiders.
  • Sully’s only nomination. Damn, that one went out of the public eye fast. Other than that? No surprises, just filling out the technical awards.

Best Visual Effects:
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

  • If you don’t know, Kubo is a big deal for being here. Only the second Animated Feature ever nominated in this category, the work being pulled off on that movie really shows and I’m proud to see it here.
  • Deepwater Horizon is a surprise! It must be mostly Practical, I guess I’ll give that a watch. Barry Jenkins did rave about it.
  • Yay Doctor Strange! That’s a legitimately impressive piece of visual effects work, actually pushing what we see on screen. Same with The Jungle Book. Rogue One must be there for the idea of Tarkin more than the actual execution.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

  • HAHAHAHAHA Suicide Squad. I guess. The design work isn’t good, but I guess the makeup is actually pretty impressive, and there’s a hell of a lot of it.
  • A Man Called Ove has a makeup team that’s made a surprise show before, so good to see them following up.

Best Animated Feature Film:
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

  • Pixar gets left out for basically the second time ever. Finding Dory was popular and did well, but was definitely not quite up to snuff with the rest of this category. I really thought the standard Pixar love would get it in here.
  • Haven’t seen the foreign ones, but I am excited to see both.
  • Other ones are expected. This is still Zootopia‘s to lose.

Best Documentary:
13th
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
OJ Made in America

  • Damn, really surprised Weiner didn’t show up here. Mad relevant right now! That’s actually pretty shocking. And shocking Cameraperson didn’t show up. Maybe Fire at Sea is more relevant and Life, Animated is crowdpleasing.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
Tanna
Toni Erdmann
The Salesman

  • Haven’t seen any of these yet. Excited for a chance to see them.

Best Documentary Short
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Best Animated Short
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

Best Live Action Short
Ennemis Interieurs
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

  • Seen two of these. Both Animated.

TAKEAWAYS:

Stats:
62 films nominated.
La La Land ties Oscar nominations all-time record with 14.
Arrival and Moonlight both garner 8 nominations.
Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea all garner 6 nominations.
Hell or High Water and Fences both garner 4 nominations.

  • Overall, not too bad this year. Some major snubs like Amy Adams or Silence notwithstanding, this was a largely deserving crop of movies, so any cull is gonna yield some good results. The bad (Streep, Gibson) isn’t as egregious this year. Irritating, but not awful.
  • Original Song continues to be a shockingly uncreative category in a year loaded to the brim with musicals.
  • Arrival is definitely the surprise story for this year. A film I really loved, but expected to miss the Academy. Instead, it’s by-the-numbers one of the fiercest competitors this year.

Personal Success Rate: 82%

  • Where’d I go wrong? My biggest above-the-line miss is in Actress, where I lost faith in one and stubbornly refused to give the other. Then a series of Below-The-Line tech awards that I partially missed due to a lack of inside knowledge (i.e. not necessarily knowing how the Guilds felt about Deepwater Horizon for example) or missing the legitimate surprises (i.e. Kubo or Passengers).
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