Oscars Nominations: Recap and Reactions

On January 24th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the upcoming 89th annual Academy Awards, scheduled for February 26th.

A full list of nominees can be found on the official Oscars website.

The nominees for the major categories are as follows:

Best picture:

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Lead actor:

Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington, Fences

Lead actress:

Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Ruth Negga, Loving

Natalie Portman, Jackie

Emma Stone, La La Land

Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Best director:

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

2017 proves to break records at the Oscars! Los Angeles-based musical La La Land has 14 nominations across the board. Viola Davis became the first black actress to have three nominations. Dev Patel became the third South Asian actor to receive a nomination. Unlike the past two years of #OscarsSoWhite, a hashtag created to protest the lack of actors of color in nominations, 6 actors of color have been nominated across all four categories, and Viola Davis basically has her award in the bag.

ABC mistakenly reported both Amy Adams and Tom Hanks as nominees for Best Actress and Best Actor, respectively, creating uproar when film fans realized that these actors definitely deserved the honor. According to an article on Variety, Adams' film Arrival was nothing without her. Many are outraged that it was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, and completely ignored the actors. Meanwhile, Meryl Streep received her 20th nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins in the Best Actress category. Following her inspiring political speech at the Golden Globes on January 8th, one can only hope that she was nominated for a job well done and not because she is Meryl Streep.

The same point can be made for Hanks’s snub. His role in Sully carried the film. The story was simple and emotional, but Hanks’s portrayal of Captain Sullenberger’s trauma, post landing a plane on the Hudson River, was phenomenal. Once again, who needs to be booted off the list to incorporate him? Or is it time to expand the list for special circumstances?

In the Best Supporting Actor category, Jeff Bridges was nominated for his role in Hell or High Water, a film I am personally very passionate about. When the film came out in September, I predicted that Ben Foster would get a nomination. Unfortunately, the Academy let me down when it came to this film. In a world where very white movies about nothing, such as La La Land, took precedence, films about both white and black protagonists facing struggles were overlooked. Hell or High Water tackled poverty and corrupt money systems. Manchester By The Sea tackled grief. Moonlight tackled self-identity as a minority. My point is, Hell or High Water did and always will deserve better, and I will advocate for it eternally.

Speaking of the elephant in the room, La La Land, it seems people either loved it or hated it. I remain the latter. As a Los Angeles native, I knew this film was not for me. It is for people who aren’t from LA who want some sort of glorified Hollywood world to daydream in. I gave it a chance, regardless, only to realize that the hype was not worth it. The screenplay was funny, the cinematography was excellent, and some (that is, “City of Stars” and that one John Legend jam) of the songs were lovely, but Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling carried the whole thing. I am disappointed to see it receive so many nominations, and I know that a better written, more important film could win Best Picture.

The Golden Globes proved that we cannot use them to make predictions just yet. After all, Aaron Taylor Johnson won Best Supporting Actor at the Globes and wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar. After reviewing the Screen Actors Guild Awards (aired January 29th) winners, things might get clearer. Stay tuned, and happy Oscar season!