Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Oscar Oscar Oscar

It's Hollywood's second biggest day--the Oscar nominations are out.  Some surprises, but not too many.  Here they are, with my comments.

La La Land got a ton of nods, as expected.  Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea, did well, as expected. Lion, too, I suppose. Better than expected were the nominations for Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge and Hell Or High Water.  And maybe Fences and Hidden Figures.

Best Picture
  • "Arrival"
  • "Hacksaw Ridge"
  • "La La Land"
  • "Hidden Figures"
  • "Lion"
  • "Manchester by the Sea"
  • "Hell or High Water"
  • "Moonlight"
  • "Fences"
Everyone knew La La Land, Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight were locks.  The rest aren't that surprising--except maybe Hacksaw Ridge--but aren't especially inspiring either.  Fences is the most ordinary of the bunch, and the most obvious Oscar bait.  It shouldn't matter, but I'm sure many will note after complaints last year that three of these titles are about the African-American experience.  I didn't see The Birth Of A Nation, which had a scandal that seemed to harm its box office, but a year ago it was probably the African-American film most expected to win awards.  Note there are no surprise nominees like Deadpool
Lead Actor
  • Casey Affleck -- "Manchester by the Sea"
  • Andrew Garfield -- "Hacksaw Ridge"
  • Ryan Gosling -- "La La Land"
  • Viggo Mortensen -- "Captain Fantastic"
  • Denzel Washington -- "Fences"

Once again, not too surprising.  Hacksaw Ridge apparently impressed a lot of people (but not so much Andrew Garfield in Silence, which I'm sure seemed like the better bet a year ago).  Also, they haven't forgotten Viggo, even if they've forgotten his film.  Many snubs, of course, and it appears old Oscar favorite Tom Hanks can't buy a nomination any more.  The battle is between Affleck and Gosling, though Affleck is the strong favorite. Some thought the revitalized Michael Keaton had a shot, but The Founder just didn't excite enough people.
Lead Actress
  • Isabelle Huppert -- "Elle"
  • Ruth Negga -- "Loving"
  • Natalie Portman -- "Jackie"
  • Emma Stone -- "La La Land"
  • Meryl Streep -- "Florence Foster Jenkins"

The only slight surprise is Ruth Negga.  She apparently took the place of the snubbed Amy Adams (for Arrival, or even Nocturnal Animals--maybe those two films split the Adams). Also no Taraji P. Henson, though that was less surprising.  I would have liked to see Annette Bening, but didn't expect it.  Meryl Streep wasn't a lock, but it's never smart betting against her.
  • Denis Villeneuve -- "Arrival"
  • Mel Gibson -- "Hacksaw Ridge"
  • Damien Chazelle -- "La La Land"
  • Kenneth Lonergan -- "Manchester by the Sea"
  • Barry Jenkins -- "Moonlight"

Looks like Mel is back.  And Denis Villeneuve also impressed the Academy.  The other three were certain.  Chazelle has to be the favorite.  Some thought maybe Scorsese or Eastwood would sneak in, but it wasn't never in the cards.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Mahershala Ali – "Moonlight"
  • Lucas Hedges – "Manchester by the Sea"
  • Jeff Bridges - "Hell or High Water"
  • Dev Patel - "Lion"
  • Michael Shannon - "Nocturnal Animals"

Usually the best category of the night, these choices are obvious and uninspired.  Lucas Hedges wasn't certain (and, opposed to everyone else, I don't think he deserved it--why not Aaron Taylor Johnson instead?).  Michael Shannon is becoming a favorite, I guess--odd that he's playing the same role as Jeff Bridges.  I think they picked the wrong guy from Moonlight.  Dev Patel is a cheat, since he's arguably the lead.  Some thought maybe Kevin Costner for Hidden Figures, but his part was too hidden.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Viola Davis -- "Fences"
  • Naomie Harris -- "Moonlight"
  • Nicole Kidman -- "Lion"
  • Octavia Spencer -- "Hidden Figures"
  • Michelle Williams -- "Manchester by the Sea"

These performances were the kind that win supporting awards, though I'm not sure if I would have voted for any of them.  Not sure why Octavia Spencer gets special love from that cast.  The most memorable thing about Nicole Kidman's performance was her wig.
  • "Arrival"
  • "La La Land"
  • "Lion"
  • "Moonlight"
  • "Silence"

Martin Scorsese's Silence is mostly being ignored, so why not a technical nod? 
Documentary Feature
  • "Fire at Sea"
  • "I Am Not Your Negro"
  • "Life Animated"
  • "13th"
  • "O.J.: Made in America"

The majority of nominees have African-Americans in central positions.  I can't comment because I haven't seen any on this list, but I saw a number of obscure docs last year that I liked quite a bit and I guess none of them had a chance.
Production Design
  • "Arrival"
  • "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"
  • "Hail, Caesar!"
  • "La La Land"
  • "Passengers"

Good choices all. The Academy is spreading the wealth here, with Hail, Caesar! and Passengers.  The question is will La La Land sweep everything before it, or will the voters look at each category separately.
Costume Design
  • "Allied"
  • "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"
  • "Jackie"
  • "La La Land"
  • "Florence Foster Jenkins"

Jackie, or its publicity, anyway, is built around her costume.  I'm sure when they made Allied, they had higher hopes than just this nomination.
Animated Feature Film
  • "Kubo and the Two Strings"
  • "Moana"
  • "My Life as a Zucchini"
  • "The Red Turtle"
  • "Zootopia"

None of these are too inspiring.  The huge shock here is no Finding Dory.  I'm sure The Secret Life Of Pets and Sing are asking what's so special about Zootopia?
Original Song
  • "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" -- "La La Land"
  • "Can't Stop the Feeling" -- "Trolls"
  • "City of Stars" -- "La La Land"
  • "The Empty Chair" -- "Jim: The James Foley Story"
  • "How Far I'll Go" -- "Moana"

The main problem "City Of Stars" will have is competition from the other La La Land selection.  A little surprising not to see (or hear) the song from Hidden Figures.
Original Score
  • "La La Land"
  • "Lion"
  • "Jackie"
  • "Passengers"
  • "Moonlight"

Does this include La La Land's songs?  Doesn't matter, the voters will think it does.
Visual Effects
  • "Deepwater Horizon"
  • "Doctor Strange"
  • "The Jungle Book"
  • "Kubo and the Two Strings"
  • "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Star Wars finally gets some attention (not that it needs it).  Kubo is a type of animation, so seems odd here.  Good choices, even though the films here don't have too many other nominations
Foreign Language Film
  • "Land of Mine"
  • "A Man Called Ove"
  • "The Salesman"
  • "Tanna"
  • "Toni Erdmann"

Haven't seen enough of them to have any opinion.
Makeup and Hairstyling
  • "A Man Called Ove"
  • "Star Trek Beyond"
  • "Suicide Squad"

Interesting.  Almost seems like the Academy went out of its way to pick films that have nothing else to brag about.
Live Action Short Film
  • "Ennemis Intérieurs"
  • "La Femme et le TGV"
  • "Silent Nights"
  • "Sing"
  • "Timecode"

I usually see these after they're nominated and put together in one show.
Sound Editing
  • "Arrival"
  • "Deepwater Horizon"
  • "Hacksaw Ridge"
  • "La La Land"
  • "Sully"

Can't tell it apart from Sound Mixing.
Sound Mixing
  • "Arrival"
  • "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
  • "Hacksaw Ridge"
  • "La La Land"
  • "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi"

Can't tell it apart from Sound Editing.
Adapted Screenplay
  • "Arrival"
  • "Fences"
  • "Hidden Figures"
  • "Lion"
  • "Moonlight"

It would be absurd to give August Wilson this award--not because he's long gone, but because he barely adapted his play.  The action this year is in original screenplay.
Original Screenplay
  • "Hell or High Water"
  • "La La Land"
  • "The Lobster"
  • "Manchester by the Sea"
  • "20th Century Women"

Hey, Lobster made it, finally.  It should have been nominated for Best Film.  Same for 20th Century Women.  Hell Or High Water did pretty well in its nominations, but everyone knows this is a battle between the irresistible force of La La Land and the immovable object known as Manchester By The Sea.
Animated Short Film
  • "Blind Vaysha"
  • "Borrowed Time"
  • "Pear Cider and Cigarettes"
  • "Pearl"
  • "Piper"

See my comment for Live Action Short
Documentary Short Subject
  • "Extremis"
  • "4.1 Miles"
  • "Joe’s Violin"
  • "Watani: My Homeland"
  • "The White Helmets"

Won't even get to see these.
Film Editing
  • "Arrival"
  • "Hacksaw Ridge"
  • "La La Land"
  • "Moonlight"
  • "Hell or High Water"
Not sure why some of these (especially Hell Or High Water) made it over some exciting action films.


Blogger New England Guy said...

Hmm. Will have to see more of these. Liked Manchester By The Sea. Liked Nocturnal Animals and would understand the supporting actor nod. Just saw 20th Century Women and while I liked (I was 17 in 1979 and listened to punk too), it seemed a little too odd- I guess screenplay is a good category for it though I would have thought it would get other nods too.

Have to see La La Land, Moonlight and Fences (grew up a few miles from where it is set) and some others (maybe one of the H films). Mrs. NEG wants to see Lion but it looks too earnest and movie of the week-ish (does anybody under 50 understand that?) for me. I was going to say "No love for Rogue One?" but I see it got a couple techie ones

11:41 AM, January 24, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I think Lion is a bit better than that. Besides, you get two films for one.

12:54 PM, January 24, 2017  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I haven't even seen Rogue One yet, but Arrival is on tap for this weekend (it's at the $2 theater). Obviously another Oscar party coming where I don't know what's going on.

8:27 AM, January 25, 2017  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter