Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goody Goody

The Good Place has been renewed.  13 more episodes next season.  Good news. But, as I've noted, the new direction of season 2 isn't promising.

(Spoilers ahead)

The first season was all about a women who found herself in heaven by mistake. She spent all her time trying to remain in the good place and not go to the bad place.  Till the last episode when she discovered this so-called good place was actually a fiendishly designed bad place.

Now she'll start out in the bad place. The audience knows it--as do most of the people in the "good place"--but she doesn't.  The question becomes how will she find her old friends and discover (or uncover) her situation.

I loved the premise of the first season.  It was fun to see someone fight to be happy. Now she's already miserable, and is being tortured, but doesn't know it.  Not so fun.

I'll watch because I like the cast. I'm sure creator Michael Schur has some new tricks up his sleeve.  Perhaps by the end of the season, there'll be another switcheroo. I hope there is, because I no longer like the premise.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Star Wars Babies

In 2018 Disney will release a film about Hans Solo's early days.  Alden Ehrenreich will play Han and Donald Glover will play Lando Calrissian.

Here are some numbers (according to the IMDb):

Harrison Ford:  6' 1"

Billy Dee William:  6'

Alden Ehrenreich:  5' 8"

Donald Glover:  5' 9"

I know this won't matter, thanks to the magic of movies, but I just want to be sure--they'll be adults in this film, right? I mean, not teenagers who are still growing.

Your slip is showing

Here's an odd sentence from AP:

The directive did not do anything to prevent attacks from homegrown extremists who were already in America, a primary concern of federal law enforcement officials.

It's buried in an article about Trump's immigration actions.

This kind of sentence almost never makes sense. There are an infinite number of things not done by every definite action that does do something. You always need to write about what is happening, not the infinite number of things not on the table. Trying to fold something in creates an argument, and a heavy burden, to show that the thing not done is so intimately related to thing done as to justify our attention.

What does "homegrown" have to do with immigration? Nothing, of course. It might be much more or much less important, but it's a different topic. If you want to explore how the two concepts could be related, there are several choices--violence, of course, but then why not write "The directive did not do anything to prevent date rape" or any other violent act. This sort of reaching isn't appropriate for a news story; it's appropriate for a study of framing issues, maybe, but not a news story.

There is some possibility that the sentence refers to all the odd little "lone wolf" attacks that Obama was more likely to describe as work place violence, though they all had this strange, though consistent and predictable, tendency to have some relation to Islamic extremism outside the country--being converted or some such. Not likely, though. AP has been on the side working hard to convey that Islamic extremism is less important, not the side working to convey that it's more important. Even if this is the intended reference for the sentence, it's still a different issue (not to mention, if this is the intended meaning, then it's an argument that Obama should have done what Trump did many years earlier, so as to reduce the influence and contacts from these sources of influence that are converting the homegrown Islamic terrorists).

Of course what's really at stake is the politics. AP, like Obama and many others, still believes the Tea Party is a threat, but Islamic terrorists are just a coexist issue. All this sentence is really saying is, "Why are you making me write this story, instead of a story about the REAL threat to America, including Trump, the Tea Party and Republicans, in that order."

(Another sign of inherent weakness: How does AP know it's a concern of federal law enforcement officials, much less a "primary" one? It might or might not be, but there is no quote or work to support it. Again, it's just a sign of a reporter straining to convey what he isn't quite willing to say directly: YOU PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS! WHY DID YOU ELECT TRUMP!)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Call Me

I got a robocall yesterday.  I get them all the time, but this seemed odder than most.

The call said I've been flagged to get a special rate on my student loan payment. (In case you're wondering, I don't have a student loan to pay off, and haven't been in college for quite a while.)

Don't they even try to get this right? I mean, don't they hope to call people who might have a loan, so they can believe the call is meant for them?

Or are student loan payments so widespread they figure it doesn't matter?

Nice titanic titular

'Mary Tyler Moore Show' bloopers are just as charming and hilarious as you expect

 Possibly, though if they came at the end of the show's life they're probably a bit insufferable, like the last half of MASH.

But what I want to note is a diction and style issue. Here's how the article introduces the bloopers and refers to Moore's death: "As we continue to mourn the loss of its titanic, titular star, we have been coping the best way we know how. . ."

Okay, titanic, maybe, but generic and vague. Not a very strong word choice.

And if you have titanic, then titular, okay, you went for the alliteration. But by this time you're really wallowing in writing that is unmoored from Moore altogether.

Of course this is a silly little entertainment article that might have been written by AI precursors, so it can't bear much weight in any case. But still. What is really the purpose of noting that something is "titular" or "self titled" or some such? Possibly you need to eliminate the ambiguity of noting that there is no title apart from the performer's name, but usually it's pretty obvious what the title is. Mostly, all the writer is doing is a sort of meaningless check, telling us for no reason that he knows what "titular" means.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Dog's Life

Last year, The Birth Of A Nation was the hot film from Sundance that would make money and win a bunch of awards. Then an old charge of rape against the director came out, and he didn't seem apologetic.  The film didn't do that well, and has been forgotten at Oscar time.

Maybe it would have happened anyway, but it's the ultimate nightmare for a producer.  The film is made, ready to be released, and something not related to its quality brings it down.

Looks like it's happening again with A Dog's Purpose.  I saw the trailer a couple months ago and figured it wasn't for me.  But the producers probably thought they'd made a crowd-pleaser (it scored an A with test audiences) that would turn a solid profit.

Then a behind-the-scenes video that allegedly shows animal abuse came out. (I haven't seen the video so I can't comment.) The people who worked on the film claim it's taken out of context, but the damage has been done.

Which I why, over at the IMDb, this top-testing film has been rated by those who visit the site a 1.8.  You have to understand that a bad film will get, say, a 5.2.  A 1.8 is reserved for a film where people are trying to show their hatred for its existence.  I doubt any of these people have even seen it.

The film isn't flopping, but is performing below expectations.  It's inexpensive enough that it may make a profit, but you get the feeling it'll do tens of millions less than it would have, and may even be tossed down the memory hole, never to return.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fry-Day

I don't go to fast food places as often as I used to, but unless things have completely changed, this ranking of franchise french fries is absurd.

Here's the list, bottom to top:

14.  Five Guys
13.  In-N-Out
12.  Sonic
11.  Chick-fil-A
10.  KFC
9.    Burger King
8.    Steak n' Shake
7.    Del Taco
6.    Shake Shack
5.    Popeyes
4.    McDonald's
3.    Carl's Jr.
2.    Wendy's
1.     Arby's

Wow, wrong just about everywhere.

Five Guys is fairly new in L.A., and I don't think I've tried their fries.  Some people swear by this place, so can the fries be that bad?  In-N-Out fries are great--among the best.  And if you want, you can watch the whole process, starting with them slicing up the potato.  Sonic I've never tried, either.  Chick-Fil-A has good waffle fries (and they've got their own special sauce), so their rating seems too low.

I've never had fries at KFC--don't people get the mashed potatoes? Based on the photo at the website, not only wouldn't I eat them, I wouldn't want them touching my other food.  Burger King fries used to be okay many years back, but a while ago they got much worse--if anything, their rating is too high. (In general, you want fries to be simple--a lot of coating or seasoning ruins them.)

I've never been to Steak n' Shake.  If I was at Del Taco, it would have been years ago, and anyway, I don't get fries at taco places.  Shake Shack I've never been to, though the photo at the website makes their crinkle-cut fries look pretty good.  I don't think I've had the Popeyes fries either.

McDonald's is the gold standard of fast-food fries--they probably should be higher than #4.  Carl's Jr., on the other hand, has (if I recall) lousy fries.  It's now selling waffle fries that are nowhere near as good as Chick-fil-A's.

Wendy's used to have pretty good fries, but they changed a number of years ago and are now quite poor--it's insane to have them ranked so high.  Top-ranked Arby's used to have great curly fries, but now they're all but uneatable.  That, I guess, is the problem with this list--the author promotes that they're heavily seasoned with a spiced batter coating, which is what makes me want to avoid them.

There were a few places not mentioned.  For instance, where's White Castle (even if there's no White Castle west of the Mississippi)? Locally, we've got Astroburger, which has pretty good fries, but not enough locations to make the cut, I suppose. On the other hand, what about Fatburger, which has well over 100 locations?  They should be on the list, and somewhere in he top half.  Their fries are pretty good, and you've got two choices, fat fries (my preference) or skinny fries.

Richard? You mean Richard Chamberlain?

"Obama’s success rate is “significantly lower” at just 50.5 percent, the lowest Epstein and Posner found."

Epstein and Posner? You mean Richard Epstein and Richard Posner published together?

Ah, no, Lee Epstein, and Eric Posner.

Alt title: Pick Your Dick

UPDATE: Turns out, it's Bob's your uncle

Thursday, January 26, 2017

True dat

"They weren’t sorry about saying no at all."

She Had Spunk

I loved Mary Tyler Moore.

I'm old enough to remember when The Mary Tyler Moore show was on the air. I watched it from the start. In fact, I remember checking out the pilot in while my parents were playing bridge in the next room.  They wanted me to turn it down (it was the only TV in the house, so I couldn't watch anywhere else).

At the time, CBS was tossing its rural shows off the air, and turning towards a smarter type of comedy.  The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the first of that group and the best.  It almost didn't make it.  Moore, a hot star after her work a few years before on The Dick Van Dyke Show, had tried Broadway (a musical version of Breakfast At Tiffany's that closed before it opened) and movies (Thoroughly Modern Millie, What's So Bad About Feeling Good?--which I saw at the cinema--and A Change Of Habit--where she played a nun opposite Elvis as a doctor), but had not quite made it.

She did a special with her old TV husband entitled Dick Van Dyke And The Other Woman, and CBS was impressed enough to offer her a show. She and husband Grant Tinker started MTM Productions and hired James L. Brooks and Allan Burns to create the show--and stuck by them even as CBS had one problem after another. (The writers wanted Mary to be divorced, but the suits said everyone would think she left Dick Van Dyke.) The first run-through in front of an audience died, but after a few small changes, it played beautifully.

It took a while for the show to pick up viewers, and critics, but it became a hit that settled into a long run, from 1970 to 1977, winning more Emmys than any program up to that time.  Mary herself, who'd won two Emmys on DVD, won four for MTM (and would receive yet another in the 1990s).

During its run, CBS developed the Saturday night lineup that included MTM plus All In The Family, M*A*S*H, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. TV has never topped that.

Mary went off the air with grace, knowing enough to quit just before things got stale.  The show started a vein of smart comedy that's still with us--either written by the same writers (for instance, James L. Brooks went on to do Taxi and The Simpsons) or inspired by that kind of writing.  Shows that had relatable characters, and situations from real life, even as they managed to be funnier than anything else on the air.

Around then, I also discovered The Dick Van Dyke Show in reruns, which was the greatest sitcom in its time. In fact, you could argue Moore starred in the two greatest comedies ever on TV.

The story is producer Carl Reiner was having trouble casting Dick's wife, but once he found Mary, he knew she was it.  She was young, and hadn't yet shown her comedy chops, but had such chemistry with Van Dyke (though he thought at first she was too young for him), and such style, and was so sexy, that the show expanded her role. Originally it might have focused more on his workplace adventures, but with Mary around, his home life became central.

The show also inspired countless young men to become comedy writers--imagine cracking jokes all day with your pals and getting paid for it, and then coming home to a beautiful home in the suburbs to be with Mary.

After The Mary Tyler Moore Show, she starred in other shows which weren't bad, but never caught fire. (It's hard to match the greatest show of all time.) She also did movies, most notably Ordinary People, for which she got an Oscar nomination.  The story is director Robert Redford saw her walking on the beach by herself, and felt a solitude and even sadness that would work well for the rather closed-off character she'd be playing. 

She also was pretty good years later playing Ben Stiller's Jewish mother in Flirting With Disaster.  Director David O. Russell had hoped to get her and Dick Van Dyke for different roles, but when that fell through he cast Moore against type and she knocked it out of the park.

She also did some Broadway shows, fought for causes, saw tragedy in her life, and so on--sorry if I don't go into it. It's just that I know what I think of when I think of her--the amazing work she did on TV, and the wonderful mix of humor and warmth (a word that usually makes me run, but not in her case) that she embodied.  That's what will live on.

The funny thing is, as much as I loved the show from the start, it was in reruns that I came to cherish it.  It was even funnier than I remembered (maybe because I was just a kid the first time through), and the characters were indelible.

After college I moved to New Jersey, and there was a local station that showed Mary each weeknight from 2 to 3 in the morning.  I always caught it--they showed it in order, and if you missed it there were 168 episodes to cycle through.  It was a weird feeling when they showed the finale, with an experienced Mary saying goodbye to her friends at WJM, and the next day she returned, fresh-faced, moving into a new place in a new city.

Years later I visited Minneapolis, and my friends showed me the house that was used as her apartment's exterior. (I hear the people who lived there got tired of tourists and put political signs in their window like "U.S. out of El Salvador" so the TV show wouldn't shoot anything new.) They also showed me the spot where she tossed her beret in the opening credits, which now has a statue.

The show, by the way, made a statement, but unlike a Norman Lear production didn't have characters screaming their beliefs at each other.  Mary and those around her just lived their lives--making friends, finding jobs, going on dates, etc.  It was about people, not politics.  Mary was unmarried, and in the pilot, leaves her boyfriend, a doctor.  This didn't happen on TV.  Single women in their 30s were rare, and were usually chasing after a man, or had a steady. (MTM tried a steady for a few episodes late in its run.  He was played by Ted Bessell, who had been the steady on MTM's precursor That Girl.  It didn't work.)

And Mary, demure Mary, had sex.  They didn't make a big deal of it, but she was constantly going on dates (often disasters) and was on the Pill.  She also learned to stand up for herself--when she discovered the man who'd held her job earned more, she insisted on a raise.  I almost don't want to bring all this up, because the show was, above all, delightful entertainment, and never hectoring.  The show may have been groundbreaking, socially speaking, but it doesn't even need it.

A lot of woman have said the show inspired them. (Among them, Oprah.) It showed you could have friends and live a fulfilling life without necessarily doing everything the conventional way. Though I guess that message applies to all people.

There's a lot more I could say about Mary, and her work on TV, but I already have blogged about that a fair amount.  So if you want more (or Moore), try here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wall Nuts

Some game shows are essentially all skill.  The classic example is Jeopardy!.  Some game shows are pretty much all luck, like Deal Or No Deal.  Most fall somewhere in-between.

Which brings us to the new NBC Tuesday prime time game show The Wall.  I'd say it's more luck than skill, though both are required. It's an hour long, and, while not that complex, still kind of tricky to explain.

The centerpiece of the show is a huge pegboard.  You drop balls from seven different areas on top, and they bounce downward till they land in one of the fifteen slots at the bottom.  These slots each represent money, in alternating small and large amounts.

The host is Chris Hardwick, and each episode features a couple as contestants.  They last the whole hour (so far--it's possible to lose the first round and be kicked off, but I haven't seen that yet).

There are three rounds.  In the first, the show drops three balls as the contestants have to answer a question with two choices (by hitting a button).  If they answer correctly before a ball lands in a slot, the balls become "green" and the contestants gain whatever money amounts are listed.  If they get the question wrong, or answer too late, the balls become "red" and the contestants lose the same amount.

This round features five questions.  As long as the couple ends up with a positive amount, they can go on to the next round.  The money is not small, with the richest slot offering $25,000.  It's pretty easy to win money here since the questions are not hard and even guessing gives you a 50% chance.  Also, while you can lose money, you're not allowed to go below zero.

In the second round, one of the contestants goes into an isolation chamber to answer questions.  He or she will not know which answers are correct, or how much money is being won or lost, while the game is being played.

This time there are three multiple-choice questions, each with three possible answers.  The other contestant is shown the potential answers and decides how many balls will be dropped before hearing the answer, with an extra possible ball added for each new question.  If the answer is correct, the balls are green balls, if incorrect, red balls.

Before this, two green balls are dropped, and after, two red balls, from the same spots as determined by the contestant. The cash is considerably bigger here, with the highest slot offering $250,000.

The third round is similar, but there are now four choices for each question, four balls are dropped at the start and finish, and larger amounts are involved--the richest slot now offers $1,000,000.

At the end of these three rounds, it's possible for the players to be up millions of dollars, or have nothing.  There's one final twist.  The player in isolation is offered a contract which allows the couple to keep the money they won in the first round plus $20,000 more for each correct answer given in the last two rounds.

The isolated player already know how much was won in the first round, which is often a considerable amount.  Add in the correct answers and the contract will often be worth more than $100,000.

But the game potentially offers millions, so the most likely choice is to rip up that contract.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.  In the first episode, the couple won over a million. In the second, nothing.  I'm guessing the producers chose the two episodes that would best represent the show, regardless of the order in which they were taped.

The questions are not really the main attraction of the show. The Wall is. Watching the balls bounce in unpredictable directions is exciting.  I'm reminded of a game I played as a kid, Avalanche.

But what really makes the program are the large amounts available--only possible in prime time, I suppose.  Most game shows are of interest (to me, anyway) because of the game itself.  Here, even though the contestants know they're on TV, you get real drama when you see people's lives potentially being changed.

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.
Directing
  • 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.
Cinematography
  • "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.

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