After weeks of speculation, the Oscar nominees were officially rolled out Tuesday morning. Other than a small handful of surprises, the nominees largely met expectations. However, after last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy, this year’s 89th Awards show seems to have positioned itself safely from any real internet outrage. You can view the nominations here, but below are some key takeaways:
- The academy lavished La La Land with an overwhelming amount of nominations. Its 14 nominations tie a record. It’s no secret that the Academy loves films about filmmaking, so this isn’t surprising at all.
- The Oscars are much less white this year. With Fences, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight all receiving recognition as Best Motion Picture, it reverses last year’s lock out of films with diverse casts. After last year’s fallout, the Academy made a conscious effort to restructure its voting membership to become more diverse and it seems to have paid off.
- After early acclaim and a standing ovation at Sundance, Birth of a Nation was nowhere to be found on the nominations list. When Director Nate Parker’s ambiguous prior rape scandal got increased scrutiny from the media, it was predicted that the academy would distance itself from the film and it seems to have done so in a major way by completely avoiding any mention of it.
- There is no other way to say it so I’ll just call it like it is: Amy Adams was snubbed. Her role as Louise Banks in The Arrival was terrific but apparently not better than any of the other lead actresses according to the Academy. Interestingly, Adams appeared as a nominee on the Oscars website for 10 minutes after the official announcement and was later replaced by Ruth Negga after Twitter uses noticed the glitch. Like many, I didn’t see Florence Foster Jenkins, but did Streep really need to be nominated?
- Deadpool seemed to have a lot of momentum in going into Oscar season, much of which I didn’t understand at all (probably because I watched in on a flight), but despite its box office success and positive reviews, it was nowhere to be found on the nominations list.
- It’s no secret that movie theatres are feeling the chill of streaming services and video on demand, so it seemed like a good of time as any for the Academy to champion box office successes. However, out of the top 20 grossing films, only one made it to any of the major award categories: Mona for Best Animated Film. This means popular films like Rogue One, Finding Dory, Deadpool, and Captain America: Civil War just weren’t held in that high of esteem by the Academy.
- Amazon’s Manchester by the Sea nomination makes it the first streaming service to be in awards contention. I’m still not over Beasts of No Nation being shut out last year though. Maybe the academy got my tweets?
- Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge being represented in the Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director categories seems to suggest Hollywood has taken him of the blacklist. Say what you want about him, but this man knows story structure. Ever since Apocalypto, I’ve been looking forward to more historical dramas from him.
The Oscars will air on Sunday February 28th on ABC and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. That leaves a lot of time for controversies, think pieces on what’s wrong with Hollywood, and bitter Presidential tweets. If the Golden Globes are any indication though, we should expect lots of interesting speeches that are sure to grab headlines. So for better or worse, this year’s show is sure to be a momentous one that probably goes beyond film and won’t be forgotten.