The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards are out! Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land,” a love song to Los Angeles, led by a landslide with 14 Oscar nominations, including for best motion picture. Only “Titantic” (1997) and “All About Eve” (1950) tied with this many nominations. (In the end Titanic won 11 Oscars while “All About Eve” received six gold statuettes.) “Arrival” and “Moonlight,” also both nominated for best motion picture, scored the next highest number of nominations with eight each.
The Damien Chazelle musical received nods in almost every category in which it was eligible, including in the main acting nominations for co-stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. And for best song, La La scored two nominations, with the songs “Audition” (The Fools Who Dream) – Emma Stone’s big number – and “City of Stars.” Both songs feature music by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
The Academy unsurprisingly nominated nine films for best picture. In addition to La La Land, Moonlight and Arrival, the other nominees are Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion and Manchester by the Sea.
In the best actor category, in addition to Gosling, the nominees are Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) and Denzel Washington (Fences). The only surprise is possibly Mortensen, who turned in a terrific performance in a quirky but worthwhile film that was not widely seen and that earned only $5,879.73 so far at the box office according to Box Office Mojo.
Andrew Garfield, who was a no show at the press conference for Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” last month in Manhattan, so he could campaign for Hacksaw, stars as a pacifist in a war film that marks Mel Gibson’s comeback after being a Hollywood persona-non-grata for more than a decade. Hacksaw received six nominations, including for Gibson as best director and for the film’s editing.
As for snubs, always the most fun to fume about, there was some grumbling about Tom Hanks’ omission in the best actor category for Clint Eastwood’s “Sully,” about Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s landing of a disabled plane on the Hudson River, although Hanks’ understated performance verged on being boring.
The nominees for best actress, in addition to Emma Stone, are Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins). This marks Streep’s 20th Oscar nomination. Most critics expected Amy Adams in this slot for her acclaimed performance as a scientist and grieving mother in Arrival. And when 20th Century Women premiered at the New York Film Festival, I was sure Annette Bening would finally get her an Oscar. Now, sadly, she’s not even nominated.
There’s no telling if Streep’s speech at the Globes slamming Donald Trump gave her an advantage. But for sure her reaction statement today to the press was entertaining and imaginative, with a GIF of the actress smiling and dancing and looking blissed out about her nomination.
Ruth Negga in her statement to the press said, “I am truly humbled by the news this morning, and I thank the Academy for this recognition, which I share with my co-collaborators Jeff Nichols and Joel Edgerton. It has been such an honor to have been given the opportunity to tell the incredible story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who serve as an inspiration that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. The Lovings fought quietly yet tirelessly, and changed the course of American legal history. Today, to be among such extraordinary women – my fellow nominees, my peers with films this year, and the legendary performers whose work of years past has long inspired me…this means a great deal to me.”
And after nods as best actress at the Gothams, Golden Globes and New York Film Critics, to mention only a few of the awards Isabelle Huppert received as best actress for Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” the French actress is now the Oscar frontrunner in a leading female role. At the Gotham Awards back in November, Huppert told me in the pressroom that she rushed from a performance on the stage in Paris to a flight to New York to get there, even though she was told foreign actors never win major acting awards in the U.S.
Since that win, she’s attended every awards show at which she was nominated and patiently gave press interviews to almost every journalist in a move that proves her campaigning has paid off. The legendary actress, who is 63 and gorgeous, has made more than 120 films and deserves the Oscar not only for Elle, but also for her extensive body of work that spans more than four decades. The last time a foreign actress received an Oscar was French actress Marion Cotillard in 2007 for portraying Edith Piaf in “La Vie En Rose.”
In the supporting actor category, the nominees are Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges, (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion) and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals).
In his amusing statement, Shannon, who plays a jaded and ailing sheriff in “Nocturnal Animals,” said, “I am thrilled! Loved making this film. I would work with Tom Ford anytime, anywhere. Jake Gyllenhaal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Karl Glusman made it easy for me. Nice to get some good news in the midst of all the carnage, so to speak.”
Lucas Hedges, who is only 20, is worthy but somewhat of a wild card in a crowded field. Last month on the red carpet at the National Board of Review gala, I asked him how he was coping with the dizzying round of awards madness and what the highlight was for him.
“At the Critics’ Choice I got to go up and speak, and tonight I’m going to get to speak,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to put words to why I’m grateful for this experience and why it has had such a positive effect on my life. (This is) just another opportunity for me to get clarity on my life right now, so that’s a beautiful thing, yeah.” The frontrunner in the supporting actor category may be Mahershala Ali, but for Hedges, all his practice giving speeches, both on the red carpet and the podium, is sure to pay off for the young actor who is only beginning his career.
A name I am sorry to see missing from the supporting actor list is Hugh Grant for “Florence Foster Jenkins” in probably the best role of his career.
The actresses in the supporting role category featured no surprises. They are Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea). All these women are amazing and worthy of Oscars, but everyone knows the little gold man will go to the fabulous Viola Davis for a role that really belongs in the best actress category, which she had a real shot at winning.
And if you have not over dosed on reading about La La Land, please check out my interview with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Linus Sandgren in MovieMaker.
Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on February 26, 2017.
Here’s the complete list of Oscar nominees.