The Oscars ceremony traditionally serves as the semi-official conclusion to the movie awards season every year – and 2017 will be no exception. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, with help from a number of either Oscar-winners and Academy Award nominees from previous years, has now formally revealed the nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards ceremony. The event will take place in a month, leaving film buffs with plenty of time to discuss and/or debate not only which movies, actors and filmmakers received Oscar nominations in 2017, but which ones were not – or, depending on who you ask, should have been – recognized with nominations from the AMPAS this year.
Movies as varied as Mad Max: Fury Road to The Revenant and Spotlight took home big prizes at the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony and the lineup for 2017 is similarly eclectic, in its own way. Leading the way with a total of 14 Oscar nominations (tying the all-time record) is Damien Chazelle’s critically-acclaimed musical La La Land, with leads Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone picking up nominations for their own acting, singing and dancing. In addition, 2016 critical darlings like Barry Jenkins’ coming of age(s) drama Moonlight, David Mackenzie’s neo-western crime flick Hell or High Water, and Denis Villeneuve’s first contact sci-fi tale Arrival managed to secure a healthy number of Oscar nominations for themselves, across a variety of categories.
As we have done in years past, we’re going to break down our general analysis of the 89th Academy Awards into two separate categories of their own: what was nominated – and what was “snubbed”.
What Was Nominated
La La Land may have gotten a lot of love from the Academy in terms of the sheer number of Oscar nominations that it received (Best Picture, Director, Actor/Actress and so forth), but its competition didn’t fare poorly by comparison. Moonlight picked up eight Oscar nominations total for itself, including nods in both the supporting actor and actress categories for Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, respectively. Arrival also secured a total of eight Academy Award nominations for itself; though unlike Moonlight, most of the sci-fi film’s nods were in technical areas (such as sound editing/mixing and production) and it wasn’t recognized for any of its performances (more on that later). For related reasons, it will be interesting to see if the Academy winds up spreading the love around to these three movies in particular; if so, Arrival could prove to be this year’s Mad Max: Fury Road and end up taking home a number of golden statuettes for its technical elements and sheer craftsmanship.
Fellow Best Picture Oscar nominees such as Mel Gibson’s WWII drama Hacksaw Ridge, Theodore Melfi’s historical drama Hidden Figures and Hell or High Water are in a similar boat, in the sense that they landed multiple big Academy Award nominations – but missed some other significant ones, in the process. Both Hell or High Water and Hidden Figures proved unable to secure Best Director Oscar nominations, signaling that both films are underdogs (at best) to be crowned Best Picture this year. On the other hand, Hacksaw Ridge did land three major Oscar nominations (for Picture, Director and Actor) and landed an additional three in technical categories. Problem is, Gibson’s war flick hasn’t been generating the sort of buzz necessary for it to gain the advantage over its competitors in either those “top” Oscar categories or areas such as film and/or sound editing – meaning, it might end up going home empty-handed, come Oscar night.
It’s plausible that the Academy will decide to “split” its decision for Best Director and Picture this year, as the organization has frequently done in the past – like last year, when Spotlight won Best Picture, but The Revenant took home Best Director. If so, then the odds are in favor of those prizes going to Moonlight and La La Land; seeing as those films have, by this stage, firmly cemented themselves as being the two frontrunners to beat in the movie awards season race. Alternatively, the Academy may follow in the Golden Globes’ footsteps and shower La La Land in Oscars (including, those for both Best Picture and Best Director), setting the stage for Damien Chazelle’s musical to essentially “sweep” the ceremony. Then again, there could also be something of a split in the technical areas, with La La Land winning the “top” Oscar prizes but not sweeping the awards show in other areas (see, for example, what happened with Birdman in 2015).
Indeed, there are a number of films that stand to win at least one or two “big” Oscar prizes at this year’s Academy Awards, no matter how heavyweights like La La Land and Moonlight wind up performing at the ceremony. Fences, for example, is a dark horse candidate to win Best Picture, but the Denzel Washington-directed play-turned movie is easily the frontrunner to take home Best Supporting Actress, for Viola Davis’ performance in the film. Similarly, Kenneth Lonergan’s drama Manchester by the Sea doesn’t have as much forward momentum in the Best Picture race as most of its competitors do right now, but is very much expected to take home the Best Actor Oscar for Casey Affleck’s performance. Last, but not least, Garth Davis’ true story-based Lion may end up going home empty-handed itself come Oscar night, but at least it’s a contender in several big categories (Best Picture, Supporting Actor, etc.) that others got shut out of. And speaking of shut-outs…
What Was Snubbed
It was always a long shot at best, but we can now confirm that Tim Miller’s Deadpool did not land a Best Picture Oscar nomination – or any Oscar nominations, for that matter. The irreverent superhero action/comedy had been picking up momentum during its awards season run (between it being nominated at the Golden Globes and being nominated for Best Picture by the PGA) but when all is said and done, the film didn’t succeed at winning over the Academy crowd. Meanwhile, Deadpool‘s fellow critically-acclaimed superhero comic book movie adaptation, Captain America: Civil War was never really in the Oscars discussion to begin with and failed to land a single Academy Award nomination, even in the technical categories. Tthe only 2016 superhero//comic book tentpoles that got any love from the Academy were Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange for its trippy visual effects and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, for its makeup on such larger-than-life characters as Harley Quinn, The Joker and Killer Croc, among others.
Elsewhere, Martin Scorsese’s religious/historical drama and longtime passion project, Silence was mostly shut-out at the Academy Awards (save for Best Cinematography), much like it was at this year’s Golden Globes event. The lack of Oscar nominations for Silence comes as less of a surprise in the aftermath of the film being ignored at the Golden Globes, but the fact that an Academy favorite like Scorsese only landed a single nomination for his latest critically-acclaimed work, is nevertheless unexpected in the grand scheme of this year’s awards season race. Perhaps it was because Paramount Pictures held off on launching a full-blown marketing campaign for Silence until about a month or so before it was released in theaters; coupled with the significant forward momentum that films like La La Land and Moonlight gained from their tours of the 2016 film festival circuit, this may have prevented Scorsese’s decades-in-the-making film from being able to earn much love this awards season.
Other noteworthy “snubs” at this year’s Oscars ceremony tend to involve actors and/or actresses getting passed over for nominations, rather than entire films or movies (though there are those too). Amy Adams was considered all but a shoo-in to land a Best Actress nod for her work in Arrival ahead of the Academy Award nominations announcement. However, Adams ultimately failed to land a nod for her performance; something that has even prompted a statement from Villeneuve, saying that he’s “deeply disappointed for Amy” and that the actress (who has never won an Oscar before, despite having received multiple nominations) is “the soul” of his sci-fi film. Meanwhile, the true story-based dramas Sully and Hidden Figures both picked up Oscar nominations this year, yet their respective stars (Tom Hanks and Taraji P. Henson) went unrecognized for their widely-applauded lead performances.
Other miscellaneous snubs and/or unexpected nominees/non-nominees include:
- Both Pixar Animation’s critically-acclaimed sequel Finding Dory and the R-Rated animated comedy Sausage Party missed out on Best Animated Feature nominations.
- Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond landed an Oscar nomination for its makeup and hairstyling, but nothing for visuals effects and/or other technical elements.
- Morten Tyldum’s critically-derided, big-budget, sci-fi tentpole Passengers managed to land as many Oscar nods as the far better-received Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
- Nocturnal Animals costar Michael Shannon was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, even though it was Aaron Taylor-Johnson who actually won for his supporting role in the Tom Ford-directed film at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony.
There are no doubt other snubs or films, actors, and/or filmmakers that you feel should have landed an Oscar nomination (or more) this year, so be sure to let your voices be heard in the comments section of this article!
The 89th Annual Academy Awards ceremony is going to be telecast on Sunday, February 26th, 2017 on ABC, starting at 8:30 p.m. EST.
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