The nominations for 89th Academy Awards have been announced, and as predicted movie musical La La Land dominated the table with nods in 14 different categories.
In fact, the shortlist in general laid out exactly as most commentators had called it, with Moonlight, Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Lion, Fences and Hidden Figures picking up most of the nominations (alongside the aforementioned La La Land) for a generally satisfactory set of potential winners.
However, there were a few high-profile films and individuals notable for their absence from the finished list. Some thought that Martin Scorsese’s religious epic Silence might squeak into the major categories somewhere despite its mixed reviews, but it left with only a cinematography nod while Tom Ford’s divisive Nocturnal Animals had only a Supporting Actor nomination for Michael Shannon.
Some fans will also have been dismayed to see Amy Adams’ performance from sci-fi Arrival (itself nominated for Best Picture and Best Director among other awards) passed over, while sweet Irish comedy-drama Sing Street’s omission from the Best Original Song nominations (an omission it shares with animated movie Sing!) is a shame, even if it was only an outside chance to begin with.
The incredibly long shot of foul-mouthed superhero movie Deadpool making it onto the list (which some fans thought was possible after action movie Mad Max: Fury Road scored a large number of nominations last year) also came to nothing, so comic book fans will have to make do with Doctor Strange’s visual effects nom in their quest for Oscar recognition.
Still, not all the biggest surprises were omissions. The nomination of Captain Fantastic’s Viggo Mortenson in the Best Actor category is a welcome left-field choice, as is Ruth Negga’s nomination in Best Actress for her performance in Loving (though that film in general was expected to pick up a bit more recognition than it ended up getting).
The nominations in general may also be seen as pleasantly surprising step forward for The Academy Awards after last year’s shortlist was accused of lacking racial diversity (with next to no people of colour nominated in any categories), culminating in the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that ended up overshadowing the ceremony itself.
This year, the Best Supporting Actress shortlist is made up of primarily women of colour (Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Naomie Harris alongside Nicole Kidman and Michelle Williams), while the nominations elsewhere of people including Denzel Washington, Dev Patel, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga and director Barry Jenkins among others will go some way to salvaging The Academy’s damaged reputation.
So thanks to the revamped Oscar voting pool and some truly brilliant pictures this year, the times may be a-changing – but it’s nice to know some things NEVER change, with Meryl Streep’s near-obligatory Best Actress nod (this year for Florence Foster Jenkins) marking her 20th Academy Award nomination.
It’s important to stick with tradition, after all.
The 89th Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday 26th February