Today, the Academy announced its 2017 Awards’ nominations. Many nominations were predictable, e.g., “La La Land”, while some omissions/inclusions were surprising. Here, I will briefly comment on 7 categories: (1) Best Picture; (2) Best Actress; (3) Best Actor; (4) Best Animation; (5) Best Foreign Language Film; (6) Best Documentary; and (7) Best Original Song.
- Best Picture
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Hell or High Water
- Hidden Figures
- La La Land
- Manchester by the Sea
In my review of “La La Land”, I said how the movie was a perfect Academy Awards material, celebrating what is, in fact, Hollywood, well…even the Academy Awards itself. So, it is no surprise to see so many (14!) nominations for the movie. That is, of course, on top of the fact that “La La Land” is an excellent movie in its own right. “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight” are predictable nominations, but, I think, that “Lion” was nominated on the strength of its story, rather than on the quality of the film per se. Going through the list I did not expect to see there “Nocturnal Animals”, and it was not included, but I think the movie was unjustly bypassed in some other categories, such as the Best Actor/Director/Score categories.
- Best Actress
- Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
- Ruth Negga (Loving)
- Natalie Portman (Jackie)
- Emma Stone (La La Land)
- Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
I am very happy to see Isabelle Huppert being nominated for “Elle” (see the review here); a well-deserved nomination for an emotionally exhausting and complex role. Huppert was mesmerising. I am also pleased to see Meryl Streep being nominated for “Florence Foster Jenkins” (see the review here), because Streep’s performance was very believable and memorable. Negga, Portman and Stone are more or less predictable, but where is Amy Adams for “Arrival”?
- Best Actor
- Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
- Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
- Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
- Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
- Denzel Washington (Fences)
I am pleased to see Washington being nominated for “Fences”, but I am rooting for either Affleck or Garfield to win. Also, it is surprising to see no Tom Hanks here for “Sully”. Ok, the Academy may have been wrong not to nominate him for “Captain Phillips” (2014), but ignoring his performance in “Sully” now as well…
- Best Animation
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- My Life as a Zucchini
- The Red Turtle
What? No “Your Name”? Shinkai’s “Your Name” deserves not only an Oscar nomination, but also a win (see my review here). The fact that it was not even nominated is beyond belief and, frankly, criminal. Previously, the Academy was nominating Studio Ghibli’s “When Marnie Was There” (2014) and Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” (2014), so why not now recognise other (just as great) animation directors/writers working in Japan? Studio Ghibli’s “The Red Turtle” is a very strong contender in this category, and I think that “Zootopia” still has its flaws to come out a winner (see the short review here).
- Best Foreign Language Film
- A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
- Land of Mine (Denmark)
- The Salesman (Iran)
- Tanna (Australia)
- Toni Erdmann (Germany)
Firstly, it is totally beyond belief and any concept of justice that Park Chan-wook’s “The Handmaiden” (see my review here) has not been chosen as an official selection by South Korea for the Academy’s consideration. “The Handmaiden” is a “must-see” movie: stunningly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, deserving of a worldwide recognition. It should have been not only selected, but nominated and, then, emerge as a winner (it is that good!). Ok, and now back to reality: the strongest in this category seems “The Salesman”, and, probably, it is the favourite to win. “Toni Erdmann” has already had its fare share of attention at numerous festivals around the world, including being nominated for the Palme d’Or at the last year’s Cannes Film Festival, and may be too “out-of-the-box” for the Academy “winner” preferences.
- Best Documentary
- Fire At Sea
- I Am Not Your Negro
- Life, Animated
- OJ: Made in America
I am delighted to see “13th” being nominated in the category of “Best Documentary”. This documentary examines the roots of America’s mass incarceration by looking at the loopholes in America’s 13th Amendment of the Constitution which abolishes slavery. The documentary debates an important issue, which often gets ignores, and raises some valid questions, such as why the land of freedom (the US) hosts 25% of the world prisoners or 2.3 million people? Also, I also do not see why “Weiner” documentary was completely ignored, even though, arguably, it is no worse than “Life, Animated” – which was nominated. “Weiner” is a thought-provoking documentary about a former Congressman whose political career came under fire after he had sent some photos of himself online through Twitter. Politically important, “Weiner” documentary may not be to the taste of many, but it is still well done, and opens a new perspective on a current societal issue.
- Best Original Song
- La La Land – Audition by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
- La La Land – City of Stars by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
- Moana – How Far I’ll Go by Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Trolls – Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
- Jim: The James Foley Story – The Empty Chair by J Ralph and Sting
Here, there are predictable (maybe a bit unfair) multiple nominations in the song department for “La La Land”, and a very surprising nomination for the “The Empty Chair” song. However, the biggest snub here maybe no nomination for “Hidden Figures”, and, actually, there is not even any nomination in the best score department for “Hidden Figures”.
As for other categories, I am glad to see “The Lobster” (see my review here) finally gaining some recognition as the film was nominated for the “Best Original Screenplay” Award, and am happy for Justin Hurwitz and his well-deserved nomination for the “Best Original Score” Award in “La La Land”. On a sad note, more painful it is to accept that Hugh Grant was ignored and not recognised for his excellent performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and that Martin Scorsese was not at least nominated for the “Best Director” Award for his work on “Silence”.
Overall, maybe it is just me, but the Academy Awards do get more predictable each year that comes, or maybe we just watch more movies and are more aware about too many films and their competition through online sources, etc.