La La Land dominates as diversity returns in Oscar nominations

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling singing and dancing their way to the Oscars in La La Land
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling singing and dancing their way to the Oscars in La La Land

Tune-filled and bittersweet, La La Land proved to be a juggernaut when nominations for the 2017 Oscars were announced on Tuesday by the Motion Picture Academy.

The original musical for the big screen, a rarity among films these days, La La Land was nominated in 14 categories. That ties the all-time-record set by All About Eve in 1950 and Titanic in 1998, which both went on to win the Oscar for best movie of the year.

While La La Land was the sweepstakes winner, this year’s Oscar nominations were notable for their inclusiveness.

After last year’s heated controversy and denunciations over the all-white nominations in major categories, this year’s nominations turned out to be the most diverse since 2007, a complete reversal from 2016 which gave rise to the #OscarsSoWhite twitter handle.

Seven actors of color snagged noms, and many more are nominated in other important categories. Moreover, three of the best film contenders — Fences, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight — feature predominantly black casts.

Meryl Streep also set a record with yet another best actress nomination, her 20th. She got the nod for her sympathetic portrayal of badly out-of-tune 1940s opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins, in the movie of the same name.

Meryl Streep as the titular character in the biographical comedy-drama Florence Foster Jenkins
Meryl Streep as the titular character in the biographical comedy-drama Florence Foster Jenkins

President Donald Trump, in an angry tweet, called the three-time Oscar winner “one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood” after she took direct aim at the then President-elect in a scorching acceptance speech after winning the best actress award at the recent Golden Globes.

La La Land, inspired by the golden age of 20th century musicals, scored nods for best picture; best actor and actress for leads Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone; and two nominations for Damien Chazelle, the 31-year-old boy wonder who directed the film and wrote the original screenplay.

The movie is nominated in every category for which it was eligible, including honors for best score and two for best song — the rest are in technical categories.

The other eight films nominated for the best picture are Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight.

Trailing La La Land in totals, Arrival and Moonlight each got eight Oscar nominations, followed by Manchester by the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge and Lion with six.

Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler and Lucas Hedges as Patrick Chandler in Manchester by the Sea

The other three nominees for best actress in a leading role are Natalie Portman, Jackie; Ruth Negga, Loving; and Isabelle Huppert, in French film Elle. A surprising omission was Amy Adams, widely praised for her role in sci-film Arrival.

In addition to La La Land’s Gosling, the other four best leading actor nominees are Casey Affleck, in Manchester by the Sea; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; and Denzel Washington, Fences. It was Washington’s seventh nomination, the most for any black actor.

Affleck is considered the front-runner to get the Oscar, for his portrayal of someone tortured by his role in a horrific incident.

In addition to Chazelle, the other four best director nominees are Denis Villeneuve, Arrival; Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight; and Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea. Lonergan was also nominated for best original screenplay.

For Gibson being named is a redemption of sorts. The Australian actor-director, who in 1995 won two Oscars for Braveheart, including best director, has been in the doghouse for the last decade because of anti-semitic remarks he was overheard making.
He’s apparently back in Hollywood’s good graces with the nomination for Hacksaw, a war movie about a conscientious objector. Gibson has even more reason to celebrate. His ninth child, a boy, was born last week to his girlfriend Rosalind Ross.

Three notable directors didn’t make the cut. Nominated for his acting in Fences, Washington also directed the film, adapted from a Pulitzer-prize winning Broadway play by the late August Wilson, but was overlooked.

Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson and Viola Davis as his wife Rose in Fences
Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson and Viola Davis as his wife Rose in Fences

Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood, both previous Oscar-winners, were shut out. Scorsese, boasting nine previous best director nominations including an Academy Award for Departed, didn’t get any respect for Silence. The passion project about Portuguese missionaries in 16th century Japan, though well reviewed by many critics, has so far been his worst ever box office bomb. Silence did get one nomination, for cinematographer Robert Prieto.

Eastwood’s Sully, about the airline pilot who made a successful emergency landing on New York’s Hudson River, was a major box-office hit and a favorite of critics, but only had one nom — for sound editing. Its star Tom Hanks was uncharacteristically left out in the cold.

Viola Davis received her third best-supporting-actress nomination for Fences, the most for any black actress. Other nominees in the category: Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Nicole Kidman, Lion; Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures, about three African-American women working behind-the-scenes at NASA who contributed significantly to the space program; and Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea.

For best-supporting actor, the nominees are Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water, Lucas Hedges — at 20 the youngest nominee — for Manchester by the Sea; Indian actor Dev Patel, Lion; and Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals.

The Oscars will be handed out at the Academy Awards on February 26. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel is set to host.


Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

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

Actor in a leading role
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Actor in a supporting role
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Actress in a leading role
Emma Stone, La La Land
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Ruth Negga, Loving
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Actress in a supporting role
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Adapted Screenplay
Lion, by Luke Davis
Arrival, by Eric Heisserer
Moonlight, by Barry Jenkins
Hidden Figures, Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder Interview
Fences by August Wilson

Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea, by Kenneth Lonergan
Hell or High Water, by Taylor Sheridan
La La Land, by Damien Chazelle
20th Century Women
The Lobster,by Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos

Bradford Young, Arrival
Linus Sandgren, La La Land
Greig Fraser, Lion
James Laxton, Moonlight
Rodrigo Prieto, Silence

Documentary feature
Fire at Sea
I am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
OJ: Made in America

Documentary short
4.1 miles
Joe’s Violins
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

Foreign language film
Toni Erdmann, Germany
The Salesman, Iran
A Man Called Ove, Sweden
Tanna Australia
Land of Mine, Denmark

Sound editing
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Sound mixing
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours

Original score
Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
Mica Levi, Jackie
Nicholas Britell, Moonlight
Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran, Lion
Thomas Newman, Passengers

Original song
“City of Stars” La La Land
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
“Audition” (The Fools Who Dream), La La Land
“The Empty Chair” Jim: The James Foley Story
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Trolls

Production design
Arrival (Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock
Hail, Caesar! (Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh)
La La Land, David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
Passengers, Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Visual effects
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Makeup and hairstyling
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Costume design
Mary Zophres, La La Land
Madeline Fontaine, Jackie
Consolata Boyle, Florence Foster Jenkins
Colleen Atwood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Joanna Johnston, Allied

Film Editing
Hell or High Water
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Live-action short
Ennemis intérieurs, Selim Azzazi
La femme et le TGV, Timo von Gunten
Silent Nights, Aske Bang, Kim Magnusson
Sing, Kristof Deák, Anna Udvardy
Timecode, Juanjo Gimenez

Animated Short Film
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Animated Feature Film
Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle

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