This week, the 89th Academy Award nominations were announced. As always, there are some shocks, snubs, and surprises, but here are the five topics of interest you should be geared into.
“La La Land” has tied the record for most nominations at 14
It isn’t surprising that an awards juggernaut like musical “La La Land” would tie the record for the most Academy Award nominations with 1950’s “All About Eve” and 1997’s “Titanic.” It’s further evidence that the surefire Best Picture winner will win, since both “All About Eve” and “Titanic” won in their respective years.
What is worth discussing is how likely it is to break the record for most Academy Awards won for a single film with 12 in its sights, only Best Actor out of reach and its double-nomination for Best Song making it impossible to win at least one of its prizes. At the very least, it’ll probably tie the record for 11 wins. It doesn’t have much stand-out competition in most of the categories. “Manchester By the Sea” might secure Best Original Screenplay with its author Kenneth Lonergan’s playwright roots and “Jackie” could take Costume Design out of sheer time period-replication, but expect “La La Land” to make further history.
No #oscarssowhite this time
If you’re going out of your way to read an article about the Academy Awards, you’re probably in the loop enough to know that for the past two years every single acting nominee has been white. While it was misinformed to deem the Oscars racist for this given that 1) the Academy is made up of famously liberal Hollywood insiders and 2) non-white people were still nominated in those two years, including consecutive Best Director winner Alejandro G. Inarritu, the lack of non-white acting nominees was indicative of a deeper problem: the lack of diverse casting in the film industry.
If the 89th Academy Award nominations show anything, it’s that 2016 was a better year for diversity in prestige film. Seven of the acting nominees aren’t white, and three of the nine Best Picture nominees, “Fences”, “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight,” feature a predominately black cast. This isn’t really a victory, but it is progress.
“Deadpool” was snubbed
On the outside it might not be surprising that “Deadpool” didn’t get a nomination. An R-rated superhero flick full of lowbrow meta-comedy, “Deadpool” is the antithesis of the classiness and sophistication the Oscars tend to exude.
However, “Deadpool” secured nominations in both the Producers Guild Awards and the Writers Guild Awards, two influential preliminary awards bodies when it comes to Oscar nominations. And given that the year before the Academy went against type in nominating action-film “Mad Max: Fury Road” for Best Picture and Best Director, it seemed logical “Deadpool” could score at least a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
In the end, “Deadpool” got snubbed. It’s a shame too since its high-commercial appeal would have turned a lot more people on to watching the ratings-dwindling Oscars to see if their fourth-wall breaking hero would nab the trophy.
Michael Shannon gets nominated
It wasn’t impossible for Michael Shannon to get an Academy Award nomination. After all, he’d been nominated before, and that’s enough to boost your credibility. It’s just that he wasn’t even the actor from his film that was in the conversation.
Shannon’s “Nocturnal Animals” co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson was the one who out-of-nowhere won a Golden Globe and scored the BAFTA nomination. He was the one experts were cautiously slotting into their predictions against the young Lucas Hedge from “Manchester By the Sea”. But alas Shannon got the slot -and he didn’t even need to beat out Hedges, who was nominated over the momentum-fueled Hugh Grant from “Florence Foster Jenkins”.
Amy Adams misses out on Best Actress
The most exciting category to anticipate this year was Best Actress. Potential nominees with worthwhile merits were overflowing, with nine nominees that were all likely one way or another to get a slot, with only Emma Stone for “La La Land” and Natalie Portman for “Jackie” locked for a nomination. Still, even here, there can be upsets.
Most people thought Amy Adams would get a nomination based on her five prior ones and the late-awards momentum of her film “Arrival” (which got both a Best Picture and Best Director nomination). Instead, Ruth Negga made it in, despite the flagging awards reception to her film “Loving”. What’s odd isn’t so much that Negga was nominated, but that it was over Adams instead of Isabelle Huppert, whose foreign film “Elle” didn’t even receive a nomination for Best Foreign Picture.
The 89th Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, February 26th on ABC