The 2017 Academy Award nominations have been announced and, as expected, Damien Chazelle’s wonderful musical ‘La La Land’ leads the pack with a record-equalling 14 nominations, with ‘Arrival’ and ‘Moonlight’ just behind it with eight nods each.
As ever many of the nominations were expected, with Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis all receiving acting nominations, but what about the surprises?
We have to wait until 26 February to find out who will win the biggest prizes, but until then let’s take a look at the nominations worth celebrating.
#OscarsSoWhite will not return
After two consecutive years without a single person of colour being nominated in the four major acting categories, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy forced the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to take action.
In June it extended invitations for Academy membership to 683 actors, writers, directors, producers and other Hollywood figures, of which 41% were people of colour. It only upped the number of minority members from 8% to 11%, but it’s a start.
We’re not saying this move is directly linked to the number of actors of colour nominated this year, but the fact there won’t be another #OscarsSoWhite furore in 2017 is a sure sign that it did the right thing.
Ruth Negga (Best Actress) Denzel Washington (Best Actor), Mahershala Ali, Dev Patel (Best Supporting Actor), Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Naomie Harris (Best Supporting Actress) were all nominated this year.
Dev Patel, Ruth Negga, Naomie Harris and Andrew Garfield’s nominations
Those are the three faces flying the flag(s) for the British Isles at this year’s Oscars. With the utmost respect to Helen Mirren and British acting royalty, it’s nice to see that they’re such young faces as well.
Dev Patel is the most likely winner, though Negga (who is part-Irish and grew up in Limerick) would be a worthy one in the eyes of many. In a packed fields, Garfield and Harris have outside chances, but their nomination alone are worth celebrating.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Best Original Song nod
We’re disappointed ‘Sing Street’s ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ missed out on a Best Original Song nomination, but we’re glad Lin-Manuel Miranda has received his very first Oscar nod.
He’s unlikely to beat whichever of the two ‘La La Land’ songs ends up winning (‘Audition’ please) but if he managed to upset the odds with ‘How Far I’ll Go’ he’d become only the thirteenth EGOT winner in history.
An EGOT winner is someone who manages to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, and Miranda has already won three. If he did win the Oscar this year, he’d have done it in nine years – the shortest amount of time ever.
‘Deadpool’ wasn’t nominated for Best Picture
In the run-up to this years nominee announcement, 20th Century Fox’s R-Rated superhero hit ‘Deadpool’ appeared to be building some momentum. There was talk of a Best Picture nomination, but it wasn’t to be.
Good. ‘Deadpool’ is fun, funny and well-made, but it’s not Best Picture material. This isn’t snobbery (there have been many other superhero movies more worthy of being nominees over the years) it’s just that the film isn’t as out-of-this-world fantastic as some would have you believe.
‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ Best Visual Effects nod
Rarely do animated features get any love in the Best Visual Effects category, in fact you have to go all the way back to the 1993 Academy Awards before you find the last nominee in the category: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.
That film didn’t win, but to be fair, it was up against ‘Jurassic Park’.
This year, Focus Features’ ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ breaks a 24-year streak. A feat accomplished thanks to its incredible stop-motion animation. It isn’t likely to win, but this is a nomination the film can arguably be prouder of than its equally-deserved Best Animated Feature nod.
Australia’s first Best Foreign Language Film nomination
This isn’t a film any of you are likely to have seen or are likely to see, but Australia’s first ever nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category is worth acknowledging.
The nomination was for ‘Tanna’, a take directed by co-directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler about the true story of Tanna people living on the island of Vanuatu and the two young lovers who challenged their people’s customs.
Mica Levi’s Best Original Score nomination for ‘Jackie’
Mica Levi, who also goes by the stage name Micachu, was overlooked in the Best Original Score category back in 2015 for her astounding work on Jonathan Glazer’s creepy sci-fi ‘Under The Skin’.
Justly, she’s now been nominated for her work on ‘Jackie’. As Mark Kermode writers in his review for The Guardian: “From the saddening glissando strings of the opening theme, with its falling invocations of death and discord, Levi provides the unifying emotional glue for [director Pablo] Larraín’s deliberately shattered film.”
The 89th Academy Awards take place on 26 February 2017.