By Sam Bussell
It’s just another day of sun for “La La Land.“ This past Tuesday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards. While a lot of peoples predications came true in most categories, there were a few snubs that occurred in which people have called into question of asking why this person or film didn’t get nominated. But before I address any snubs or huge surprises, let’s talk about the big giant elephant in the room that’s in the form of a musical.
Leading the pack with a whopping 14 nominations is “La La Land,” who seems poised to have a record-breaking night come February 26. The 14 nominations tie the film with “Titanic” and “All About Eve” with the most nominations in Oscar History. The only film to ever win all of the awards it was nominated for was “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” back in 2004 when it was nominated for 11 awards and won all 11. There are only two other films along with Return of the King that have won 11 awards and that would be “Titanic” and “Ben-Hur.“ “La La Land” was a musical for the ages and will without a doubt sweep up most of the technical awards, along with those awards it is the clear-cut frontrunner right now for Best Director and Best Picture. While I do believe it has a competitor or two in the Best Picture race, without any doubt the director for La La Land, Damien Chazelle, is the clear-cut frontrunner in the Best Director category. While the hit musical might be the clear frontrunners in a bunch of categories, don’t expect all the other films to just bow down without a fight.
Coming in with the second most nominations with 8 would the sci-fi film “Arrival” and the coming of age film “Moonlight.“ While it may not have a good enough shot at scoring wins in the major categories like Picture and Director, look for this film to be a major player in the Technical awards field of the Academy. “Moonlight,” on the other hand, has a much better shot at taking away some of “La La Land’s” thunder in the major categories. It could very well be the only major threat to the musical at this stage of the game.
The Best Actor race is looking to be a tight one and right now between Casey Affleck for his heartbreaking performance in “Manchester by the Sea” and Denzel Washington for his reprisal of the role from the award winning play “Fences” for that golden statue. While Ryan Gosling, Andrew Garfield and Viggo Mortensen are fantastic in their respective roles, it’s really Affleck and Washington that are neck and neck in this category. The Best Actress category is also a really close race that can’t be called now with Emma Stone and Natalie Portman leading the way for their roles in “La La Land” and “Jackie.“
While their were some people and films that I believe were snubbed this year, such as Amy Adams for “Arrival” and Martin Scorsese and his passion project “Silence” in which it took him years to make, I overall felt that this years Oscars satisfied everyone. The Academy has been plagued over the past few years for the #oscarssowhite, but this year they can take that off of their shoulders as all of the major categories have so much diversity among them. Three out of the nine Best Picture films are about and have non-white actors as the leading characters and, among the Best Supporting Actress nominees, 3 out of the 5 women are of African American descent and one of them has a very good chance of winning this year for the first time in her outstanding career. This woman is the one and only Viola Davis who also made history in becoming the first African American actress to score 3 nominations in her career.
This an amazing time to be a movie fan all types of films ranging from dramas, musicals and even sci-fi films are up for so many awards and have the potential to win. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year; see you at the Oscars!
The 89th Academy Awards take center stage on February 26 at 7 P.M EST/ 4 P.M. PST and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.