Surprise! They do know about diversity!
For those who are new to this, this post is just some thoughts on my immediate reactions to the nominees. My comprehensive guide to the 2017 Oscars, where I go through each category and talk about who I think should win and who will win based on Vegas odds, will drop February 19th, so stay tuned! I have a lot of work to do between now and then.
Big Winners: La La Land, Mel Gibson, Manchester by the Sea, Diversity
Now let's talk about the not-so-obvious! First and foremost, wow did Hacksaw Ridge have a great day. The film pulled out a surprising six nominations, including a Best Director nomination for Gibson himself. It's hard for me to be excited about the prospect of Gibson being "back" in Hollywood, after all I still haven't forgotten the disgusting anti-Semitic comments he's made in the past, but it looks like Hollywood is excited about it. But we'll see if those nominations turn into actual wins for Hacksaw Ridge. I'm not holding my breath too much.
Another big winner of this year's Oscar nominees is Manchester By the Sea. Initially premiering at Sundance way back in January, I thought Manchester By the Sea was going to receive an acting nomination for Casey Affleck and that's it, but instead it pulled away with a whooping six nominations, including for Best Director and Best Picture. I haven't seen this one yet but I hope it can live up to the hype now.
Finally, the elephant in the room: after two years of repeated #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy surprised even me and gave a record six nominations to people of color in the acting categories, including three in an absolutely stacked Best Supporting Actress category. The Academy even handed out its fourth ever Best Director nomination to a person of color, a well-deserving nod for Barry Jenkins's masterful work in Moonlight. Which is a must-see and my second-favorite film of the year so far, by the way. Were it not for Damien Chazelle, this would even be my favorite, but unfortunately for Moonlight and many other films this year, La La Land exists, and La La Land is primed to run the table.
Big Surprises: Michael Shannon, Arrival, Meryl Streep
Another surprising film that received a lot of love from the Academy was Arrival. With six nominations, the year's strongest sci-fi film was not lost to the depths of time in what has overall been one of the most disappointing years for the genre in recent memory. I loved this film, and it will certainly be in my top 5 for the year, but I was certainly shocked to see the film got as much love from the Academy as it did.
I was also surprised to see Meryl Streep receive a nomination. There's little doubt the Academy was emboldened by her speech and a certain someone's childish response to it, and gave her this nomination out of spite, but in the process it cost two far more deserving actresses a nomination between Annette Benning for 20th Century Women and Amy Adams for Arrival. On the bright side, though, this is Streep's 20th Oscar nomination, which further increases her lead for most nominations for an actor or actress in Oscar history. So I think it's safe to say she is anything but overrated.
UPDATE 1/25: Just watched Hidden Figures, and I can safely say that Taraji P. Henson was snubbed as well. Just goes to show how strong the Best Actress category is this year!
Big Losers: 20th Century Women, Silence, The Nice Guys, Peter Berg
Another big loser is Silence. The latest from acclaimed director Martin Scorsese, Silence seemed to get caught in all the noise leading up to the nominations, so while it is a loser, it didn't surprise me as much as 20th Century Women's snubbing did. I haven't seen Silence yet, and I look forward to it since Scorsese is my favorite director in Hollywood right now, but after his last film (The Wolf of Wall Street) received five Oscar nominations, I was very surprised to see Silence receive only one.
Finally, you have the films that missed out on the party altogether. While everyone is talking about Deadpool's lack of love, I am far more shocked by The Nice Guys goose egg. Easily the best film of 2016 that no one saw, I thought for sure The Nice Guys was going to be this year's Grand Budapest Hotel or Mad Max and sneak in with at least a few nominations. Like screenplay, at least! But instead, nothing. And yes, it does suck that Deadpool wasn't nominated either, but c'mon. The Nice Guys was much better, and it was a made-for-Academy-voters kind of film.
Finally, also in the realm of goose eggs, is the surprising snubbing of all things Peter Berg-related. Berg had two high-flying, high-emotion films based on recent traumatic events in Deepwater Horizon and Patriot's Day, but all he has to show for his hard work is a throwaway sound editing nomination. Personally, I didn't think either of these films deserved any nominations, but I figured given the amount of money they made, the amount of stars that were in both of them, and their explosive and emotional subject material that would make them easy targets to gobble up nominations.
Well, there you have it! My first reaction to this year's Oscar nominations! Hope you enjoyed and I will be back soon with my look back at 2016 and actual preview of the upcoming Oscars. DEUCES!
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jos1JK8EgxU/VtTGDI4PquI/AAAAAAAAPLI/_4P-8ueXUbs/s1600/2017-Oscars-89th-Academy-Awards.jpg (2017 Oscars)
http://static.rogerebert.com/uploads/blog_post/primary_image/interviews/you-cant-play-a-symbol-michael-shannon-on-nocturnal-animals/primary_Michael-Shannon-2016.png (Michael Shannon)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4385888/mediaviewer/rm511639808 (20th Century Women)