Tuesday, 24 January 2017

My Reactions to the 89th Academy Awards Nominations

Julien Faddoul

Below is the full list of nominees for the 89th Academy Awards with my written reactions.

A few notes:

Overall I did well in terms of predictions this year, frequently predicting 5/5. Everything else was well within the realm of possibility. No real shockers.

Nomination Tally:
14 (La La Land),
8 (Arrival, Moonlight),
6 (Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, Manchester by the Sea),
4 (Fences, Hell or High Water),
3 (Hidden Figures, Jackie)
2 (Deepwater Horizon, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Florence Foster Jenkins, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Man Called Ove, Moana, Passengers, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story)

For the first time since 2013, they went with 9 BEST PICTURE nominees.

La La Land makes history by joining All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997) as the now golden three who have received the most nominations ever at 14! Pretty big deal.

Hidden Figures’ low nomination tally is fairly odd, missing out in COSTUME DESIGN and both MUSIC categories, despite its inevitable placement at the top.

Um, where the hell did Passengers come from? Really?

Manchester by the Sea’s BEST PICTURE nomination marks the first nomination for Amazon Studios and the first for a theatrical division of a streaming service of any kind.

How they treated Arrival might be the oddest thing of all, as it received plenty of nominations (8) yet it missed in at least two of its more assured categories: ACTRESS and VISUAL EFFECTS.

That MAKEUP category cracks me up every year.

Michael Shannon!

Mica Levi!




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

9/9 correct, though I did throw the net to 10 for the sake of fortuitousness.

I feel validated in sticking with Fences when others abandoned it.

The fact that Jackie received the same amount of nominations as the lowest numerated film here leads me to the conclusion that it was probably the 10th film. Oh well.


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

4/5 correct, missing Gibson for David Mackenzie.

My doubt of Hollywood’s supposed minor clemency of Gibson proved ultimately to be in vain. Whatever. I still think his movie sucked.

Jenkins becomes the fourth black director nominated, after John Singleton, Lee Daniels and Steve McQueen.


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

5/5 correct.

The expected five. Poor Tom Hanks.


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

4/5 correct, missing Negga for Amy Adams.

The category that gave us all the biggest headache this year. Although Adams’ snub was unexpected, it isn’t really surprising given the fierceness of the category.

At the risk of being accused of cynicism, I’d love for someone to try and convince me that Negga’s nomination isn’t the result of most academy members feeling that a black nominee in a lead category was required of them, irrespective of how good she is in the film. Any thoughts?


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

4/5, missing Shannon for Hugh Grant.

Many will feel sorry for Grant here but Shannon’s performance is (typically) superb. It’s funny that my fear of Nocturnal Animals – a terrible movie – being nominated for anything resulted in the one Oscar nomination it actually deserved and nothing else.


Fences – Viola Davis
Hidden Figures – Octavia Spencer
Lion – Nicole Kidman
Manchester by the Sea – Michelle Williams
Moonlight – Naomie Harris

5/5 correct.

Nothing to add; these were expected.


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

4/5 correct, missing Mills for Captain Fantastic.

Pretty great line-up, no?


Arrival – Eric Heisserer
Fences – August Wilson
Hidden Figures – Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
Lion – Luke Davies
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins

5/5 correct.

Hey, remember when we were scared of Deadpool getting nominated for anything? That was stupid of us.


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

5/5 correct.

As I thought, they went with two foreign candidates. I’ll be standing over here waving my flag for Dory.

Interesting that both Kubo and Moana received recognition in other categories and Zootopia only appears here.


Land of Mine – Denmark
A Man Called Ove – Sweden
The Salesman – Iran
Tanna – Australia
Toni Erdmann – Germany

4/5 correct, missing Tanna for It’s Only the End of the World.

Will Xavier be pissed? I hope so.


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

5/5 correct.

Great line-up, which includes a black guy, a Swede, a Mexican and an Australian.


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

3/5 correct, missing Hail, Caesar! and freaking Passengers for Jackie and Silence.

The crop contains two sci-fi assignments and two old-Hollywood assignments.


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

3/5 correct, missing Allied and Beasts for Hidden Figures and The Handmaiden.

I really thought Hidden Figures had this one. I guess they really liked those fantastic beasts.


Arrival – Joe Walker
Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
Hacksaw Ridge – John Gilbert
La La Land – Tom Cross
Moonlight – Joi McMillion, Nat Sanders

5/5 correct.

This one was easy. Only Lion had an outside shot.


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

4/5 correct, 13 Hours for Deepwater Horizon, which appeared in the editing category instead.


Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

3/5 correct, missing La La Land and Sully for 13 Hours and Rogue One, both of which appeared in the mixing category instead.


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

4/5 correct, missing Deepwater Horizon for Arrival.

Arrival’s exclusion here is weird.

A couple of points:

1) I am fairly saddened to see the most heinous and misguided piece of CG technique of the year resulting in a nomination for Rogue One.

And 2) Kubo’s nomination – which I predicted – makes no goddamn sense! It is an animated film; therefore it is literally a visual effect in its entirety. This is yet another example of most people, including those in the film business, not knowing what animation actually is. Because the form it utilizes is stop-motion puppetry, idiots think that its post-production process is somehow different from its CG and hand-drawn counterparts. Whatever, rant over.


A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

1/3 correct, missing Ove and Suicide Squad for Deadpool and Florence.

This bloody category ever year makes fools of us all. Whatever wins here, it will be a strange film to call “Academy Award Winning”.


Jackie – Mica Levi
La La Land – Justin Hurwitz
Lion – Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka
Moonlight – Nicholas Brittel
Passengers – Thomas Newman

3/5 correct, missing Mica Levi (yay!) and Newman for John Williams (BFG) and Alexandre Desplat (Florence).

This category is notorious for being very a difficult club to get into if your hand isn’t already stamped, which is why I predicted Williams and Desplat.

What we have here is a rarity with four first-time nominees – including Levi who is only 29.

And instead, the old-timer they went for was Thomas Newman? I don’t get it.


Jim: The James Foley Story – “The Empty Chair”
La La Land – “Audition”
La La Land – “City of Stars”
Moana – “How Far I’ll Go”
Trolls – “Can’t Stop This Feeling”

2/5 correct.

My worst category. Here was my thought process:

I betted against “Audition” because a La La Land double seemed, even to me, to be an overestimation. I was wrong.

I knew a documentary would get in because that has become standard, but I betted on Miss Sharon Jones instead.

And I left out Timberlake because 1) the song is awful (like that matters) and 2) he lacks snob appeal for the academy.

Those who adore Sing Street must be pissed at its shutout.

The two I got right were “City of Stars” and “How Far I’ll Go”.


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

5/5 correct.

The three racial films all got in. I’d also like to take a minute to brag that I predicted that Weiner (a great film) would not be the Academy’s cup-of-tea when others did.


4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

4/5 correct, missing Watani for The Mute’s House.


Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear and Cider Cigarettes

3/5 correct, missing Blind Vaysha and Borrowed Time for Inner Workings and The Head Vanishes.

A rare occasion where Pixar gets in but Disney doesn’t.


Ennemis Interieurs
Le Femme et le TGV
Silence Nights
Sing (Mindenki)

3/5 correct, missing Sing and La Femme for Graffiti and Nocturne in Black.

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