Tuesday, January 24, 2017

2016 Oscar Nominations: What happened

This morning, in a rather convoluted and lackluster online announcement, the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were announced. Yesterday, I posted my predictions of what I thought would get nominated in the major categories; now it's time to see how I did compared to the real nominations.

As usual, the Oscar nominations continue to befuddle and aggravate me, although there were a few pleasant surprises.

Best Picture
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

Analysis: I wasn't sure how many movies would be nominated for Best Picture this year since it's never a consistent number. I picked all nine of these and then added a tenth, so I'd say I got 9/9. Of course, I was hoping the Academy would throw in a nomination for Deadpool to add some cool factor, but then I remembered: it's the Oscars.

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Analysis: I went 5/5 here. No surprises whatsoever, although I wondered whether Joel Edgerton could slide in for his performance in Loving, but the Oscar nominees in this category are identical to those nominated for the SAG award.

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

Analysis: I went 4/5 here, but this is category #1 of aggravation. I don't know what the hell Annette Bening needs to do to win an Oscar, but it appears she and Glenn Close are destined to remain also-rans while younger actresses win one or two awards (not always because they deserve it). And wherefore art thou, Amy Adams? I get that Huppert has never been nominated before, and Negga gave a fantastic performance as one half of the couple whose love broke down the barriers to interracial marriage, but come on already. Look, I love Meryl Streep, but sometimes she doesn't deserve to be nominated. She was perfectly pleasant in Florence Foster Jenkins, but this was a nomination for Meryl Streep, icon, not Meryl Streep, actress. Oh, and the other person missing in this category? Viola Davis. Supporting actress, she is not. Ugh.

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

Analysis: I went 4/5 here, but not where I expected. I honestly am surprised that Hugh Grant didn't finally land his first nomination (after being passed over for Four Weddings and a Funeral 22 years ago) for Florence Foster Jenkins, although I'm pleased to see Hedges included among the nominees. And I told you about Michael Shannon...I just should have taken my own advice in the next category.

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

Analysis: I went 4/5 here, although I should have known better. I said yesterday that the only thing that would make me as happy as Annette Bening landing a nomination was if Janelle Monáe was nominated for Hidden Figures, not to mention her superlative work in Moonlight. Clearly the Academy didn't care about making me happy. I thought Octavia Spencer would get in over Monáe because, like Michael Shannon, the Academy went with the established former winner (or nominee, in Shannon's part) instead of the younger actor. And of course, then there's Viola Davis. (Lead, cough cough, not supporting.)

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

Analysis: I went 3/5 here, but I'm not surprised by what happened. I thought the Academy might not yet be ready to welcome Gibson back with open arms, and I thought Villenueve wasn't well-known enough. I thought Garth Davis might get nominated for his film debut in Lion and thought the directors' branch might opt for perennial favorite Martin Scorsese instead, but his movie Silence languished at the Oscars. I'm not overly disappointed or surprised, though.

With a record-tying 14 nominations, certainly La La Land seems like the film to beat, and despite nearly everyone else I know, I loved it. But it will be interesting to see what the next month brings before a few lucky people can use the words "Oscar winner" before their names...

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