Oscars 2017: The Blackening

oscars 2017

There's a lot to digest following the nominations for the 89th annual Academy Awards:

La La Land tied the record for most Oscar nominations (14) originally set by All About Eve and matched 47 years later by Titanic;
Viola Davis became the first black actress to earn three nominations, like, ever, even though god (Meryl) knows she deserves like 10 more;
But her coup represents the #Oscars officially not being #SoWhite, with a record six black actors up for acting awards, including Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali for Moonlight;
And speaking of Meryl, La Streep continues to be the most honored thespian in Oscars history, with her 20th nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins.

If you've been following the awards season, because I can't think of anything else newsworthy happenig in the world, the nominations aren't really surprising. Moonlight and La La Land go in with strong momentum, having picked up every major award between them. And while La La Land is no All About Eve—but honestly, WHAT IS?—Hollywood does love a movie about itself and it could easily walk away with Best Picture, whether or not it actually is the best picture of the year. (Hint: It's not—that would be Moonlight.)

Related | Trevante Rhodes Shines in Moonlight, This Fall's Essential Queer Black Film


 

Casey Affleck is basically a lock for Best Actor for his critically-lauded turn in Manchester by the Sea; Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Emma Stone (La La Land) will have to fend off Golden Globe winner Isabelle Huppert (Elle) in the Best Actress category; Viola already has her acceptance speech ready, and Ali is probably the front-runner for Supporting Actor, especially after a strong year that also included memorable performances in House of Cards, Luke Cage, and Hidden Figures.

In terms of surprises, apparently we've forgiven Mel Gibson, who's been nominated for Best Director for Hacksaw Ridge (also up for Best Picture). Of course, it's largely a symbolic gesture, as the race is really between Moonlight's Barry Jenkins, who could be the first black director to win that category, and (likely winner) Damien Chazelle for La La Land

Annette Bening was snubbed for her marvelous work in 20th Century Women, but at least that saves her the embarassment of losing once again to Natalie Portman. I would consider Meryl's nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins an upset—over perennial also-ran Amy Adams in Arrival—but after that epic Golden Globes speech, ask me if I care.

Meanwhile, Ruth Negga is having a wonderful year, picking up a nod for the historical drama Loving, though her co-star Joel Edgerton looks like he was pushed out by either Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) or Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw  Ridge).

Related | Loving Actors Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga Talk How One Couple’s Love Can Make History

Among other snubs: Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals, as well as star and noted hot piece Aaron Taylor-Johnson who, unexpectedly, won Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes.  

While one could argue that the more diverse crop of nominees this year is a direct reaction to the #OscarsSoWhite backlash, a lot of these films have been in production for years. However, the Academy's decision to overhaul its membership meant that great movies with essentially non-white casts—Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures—may have actually received the attention they might otherwise have been denied in previous years. 

Related | A Brief History of Diversity (or Lack Thereof) at the Oscars

And also, 2016 was just an incredibly fruitful year for black art and culture—besides the major nominees, the Best Documentary category includes Ava Duvernay's gut-wrenching 13th, the epic OJ: Made in America, and Raoul Peck's searing James Baldwin piece I Am Not Your Negro—all which speak as eloquently, or sometimes more so, to the black experience than some of the narrative fare also nominated. 

Related | I Am Not Your Negro Director Raoul Peck on the Need for Baldwin’s Brilliance in Trump’s America

 

So we're in a good place when the 89th annual Academy Awards airs February 26, 8:30pm EST on ABC, with host Jimmy Kimmel. Check out the full list of nominees below:

BEST PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

BEST DIRECTOR
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

BEST ACTRESS
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

BEST FILM EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

BEST 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

BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

BEST SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe's Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

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