The 89th Academy Awards

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It’s that time of year again: Oscar season. The 89th Academy Awards are a month away. The nominees were announced yesterday morning.

With the expanded field for the Best Picture nominees it gets harder each year to watch every single film. Let’s start with two of the most notable films. “Moonlight” was probably the film that made the first big splash after premiering at Telluride Film Festival on September 2nd. The director, Barry Jenkins, received a nod for Best Director; the film was nominated for 6 other awards.

Recently “La La Land” has taken the box office by storm; it has grossed ten times as much as the smaller “Moonlight.” Damien Chazelle, the film’s director, also received a Best Director nomination to go along with the film’s record–tying fourteen nominations. “La La Land” won seven Golden Globes, a good indicator of success at the Oscars and a new record for Golden Globes wins.

The violent, World War II film “Hacksaw Ridge” directed by Mel Gibson (nominated for Best Director) was also nominated for Best Picture. The sci-fi film “Arrival”, “Hell or High Water” whose script originated from the website Black List, and “Hidden Figures” which is a true story about female African-American mathematicians at NASA received nominations. “Fences” was directed by and stars Denzel Washington and was adapted from the great African-American playwright August Wilson’s play of the same name. Rounding out the category are the drama films “Manchester by the Sea” and “Lion.”

The Best Director category includes the aforementioned Jenkins, Gibson and Chazelle as well as Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”). Best Actor in a Leading Role category only features one actor from a movie that wasn’t also nominated for Best Picture: Vigo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”). Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”), Denzel Washington, Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea) were also nominated. Affleck’s nomination has caused some controversy as the star was named in sexual-harassment suits a few years ago. Affeck’s situation has been compared to Nate Parker, star and director of “The Birth of a Nation”, who was unable to recover from bad publicity stemming from details surrounding a 1999 alleged rape that Parker was accused of having done. “The Birth of a Nation received no Oscar nominations.

The Best Actress in a Leading Role category includes actresses from four films that did not make the Best Picture category. They are Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), Ruth Negga (“Loving”), Natalie Portman (“Jackie”), and Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”). This is Streep’s 20th Academy Award nomination. Emma Stone rounds out the category for her work in “La La Land.”

Bits and Bobs

In the supporting Actor and Actress categories all of the nominations, save for Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”) were culled from the Best Picture films….“The Lobster” and “20th Century Woman” received their only Oscar nominations for Original Screenplay…. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was nominated for Visual Effects….The Coen Brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!” was nominated for Production Design….One of the major television events of the year “O.J.: Made in America” was nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

 

The Academy Awards will be held on February 26, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel is slated to host. You can look at all of the nominees and fill out a ballot here. With one month to go you still have time to see some of the more obscure choices on the ballot so get to your local cinema and enjoy.

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