Today is one of my favorite days of the year – it’s Oscar nomination day! I was a little off my game this year because the weather delayed my commute so I missed the live announcement. It was actually a lot less stressful to just see the compiled list at the end rather than waiting for each individual category to be announced and yes, I fully own that it is ridiculous that I am stressed out at all about a process that has absolutely nothing to do with me. But when you love movies, you are invested and it’s nice that my cold, black heart still gets excited about something.
Overall I can’t say that there were a ton of surprises in this year’s nominations as they shook out generally how I thought they would. As much as I loved Deadpool I knew that wasn’t going to be an Oscar contender in anything other than at best some of the technical categories. That’s the downside of the wacky Golden Globes nominations – they get your hopes up about some movies that the Academy is never going to recognize. What was most shocking to me was that Mel Gibson somehow squeaked out a Best Director nomination for Hacksaw Ridge. I haven’t seen the film yet, so I cannot comment on how well it was directed, but I figured that Gibson would be persona non grata a while longer for being a generally despicable person. I guess there is an expiration date on anti-Semitism in Hollywood, at least enough to get the nomination. I don’t think there’s any way that he actually wins.
The other big surprise was that Amy Adams didn’t receive a nomination for her performance in Arrival, which managed to nab a Best Picture nomination but none of the actors were recognized. There was a lot of buzz about Adams leading up to the nominations, so her omission took a lot of people by surprise. I think a lot of people had Ruth Negga on the bubble for her performance in Loving, so her inclusion over Adams may have added to people saying that Adams was snubbed. I like Amy Adams a lot and thought that she was quite good in Arrival, but I think this was just a year where there were a lot of good performances and unfortunately someone had to be left out.
After last year’s #Oscarssowhite controversy, this is certainly a much more diverse group of nominees. I think some of that had to do with changes in the Academy membership this year, but I also think that this was a very good year for performances by people of color to choose from. Even more encouraging – the types of roles was also diverse. Minority actors had roles in all sorts of stories beyond historical dramas and celebrity biopics. I hope this trend continues.
Some other random thoughts:
- Thank the dear Lord that Silence got nominated for something because I’d hate to think that I spent nearly three hours on Jesuit missionaries in 17th century Japan for my own amusement.
- Lin-Manuel Miranda is one step closer to being the youngest EGOT member with his nomination for best original song for “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
- Viola Davis makes history by being the first African-American actress to earn three Oscar nods.
- Personally I would have preferred Janelle Monáe got the Best Supporting Actress nomination over Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures as I thought Monáe’s performance made more of an impression. Of course, Spencer is great so I’m not really mad at her nomination. Besides, they are all losing to Viola Davis anyway so it’s kind of a moot point.
- I’m in decent shape for my Oscar Death Race – to date, I’ve seen 7/9 of the Best Picture nominees, 3/5 of the Best Actor nominees, 2/5 of the Best Actress nominees, 3/5 of the Best Supporting Actor nominees, 5/5 of the Best Supporting Actress nominees and 4/5 of the Best Director nominees. Biggest potential hurdles to seeing everything – Hacksaw Ridge (not in theaters and not yet out on video), Nocturnal Animals (ditto), the difficulty in tracking down the foreign films and some of the animated films, and my general refusal to watch anything Star Wars.
- I doubt I’ll actually complete my Oscar Death Race to see everything that is nominated as I’ve never done it to date. It’s my white whale and I don’t know if I’ll ever pull off this quixotic quest. There’s also a legitimate chance that if I do pull it off, it’s going to be pretty anticlimactic. It’s not like there is a prize or anything.
- As I’ve done in previous years, I’ve created a new category on the blog specifically for my review of films that are nominated this year. I have a backlog of reviews that will slowly be posted over the next few weeks so that category will continue to grow as we approach the Oscar ceremony on February 26th.
Any reactions to today’s Oscar nominations? Anything that you rooting for to win? Are you part of the La La Land backlash? What’s the biggest snub? Sound off in the comments section.