Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reel Facts & Opinions: Oscar Nominations - The Good, The Bad, & The Glorious

The movies always give us something to talk about, and each year the Oscar Nominations provide plenty of material. Today’s announcement of the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards have plenty of Good, Bad, and Glorious to discuss. Here’s the breakdown:

The Good

-HELL OR HIGH WATER, Reel Speak’s No. 1 film of 2016 (HERE), was nominated for four Oscars; which includes key categories such as Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. The fourth belongs to Jeff Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, which is his seventh career nomination.

-This Blogger also said (HERE) that 2016 was one of Disney's best overall years, and the Academy agreed; six Disney films earned a total of eight nominations.

-Meryl Streep gets made fun of a lot for getting into the show nearly every year, and some of those many nominations seem obligatory, but this year she is well-deserving for her marvelous role in FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS.

-After taking it on the chin the last few years for a lack of diversity (an industry-wide problem, not the Academy’s), this year the selections are much better. For the first time in history, black actors and actresses are nominated in every acting category, including Viola Davis…who is the first black actress to achieve three career nominations. And the nominations were not limited to the acting. Barry Jenkins became the first black director/writer to earn nominations in Directing and Screenplay (for MOONLIGHT), and Ava DuVernay’s 13th was nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

-This Blogger still finds MOONLIGHT, which earned eight nominations, to be vastly overrated (no goddamn plot), but said from day-one that Naomi Harris was the best thing about it. Harris was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

-Sometimes the Academy deserves credit for not nominating something or somebody. Many expected Tom Hanks to compete for his third career Oscar for his role in SULLY, but the Academy passed…and this Blogger agrees; it was a good pass because SULLY was a bit underwhelming.

-Another good pass that was made was Amy Adams for ARRIVAL. While ARRIVAL was outstanding and Adams was very good…she’s done much better, and didn’t show us anything new.

-One last good pass was Michael Keaton for the seldom-mentioned THE FOUNDER, a film which was released on the same day the nominations were due.


-Martin Scorsese’s outstanding SILENCE only received one nomination (Best Cinematography), which is one less than that stupid PASSENGERS received.

-Composer Thomas Newman earned his 14th career nomination for stupid PASSENGERS. Newman has never won in 14 tries, and it hurts to root against him because PASSENGERS was stupid and deserves nothing.

-Not necessarily bad but worth mentioning; Pixar’s FINDING DORY, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide, was not nominated for Best Animated Feature. The last time Pixar failed to get in this category was with MONSTERS UNIVERSITY in 2014.

-The traditional format of announcing the nominees in a “live” format was changed this year in favor of a pre-produced video with past nominees introducing the categories. Although this was a nice change of pace and well-produced, it took away from the spontaneous atmosphere the old format offered.


-Pixar’s outstanding short film, PIPER, was deservedly nominated for Best Animated Short.

-ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY earned two nominations, which brings the total number of nominations for the entire franchise up to 29; second only to THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Along those same lines, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM also scored two, which brings the total number of nominations for the HARRY POTTER franchise to 14.

-Mel Gibson is back! The embattled director’s outstanding HACKSAW RIDGE earned six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson. The inspirational powerhouse WWII film is a tribute to all veterans and deserves the recognition, and it seems Gibson’s past sins have finally been forgiven.

-Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL was also a deserving nominee, earning eight; including Best Director and Best Picture; making the alien-landing flick the first sci-fi film to be a legit contender to bring home the top prize since ET: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL in 1982.

-Damien Chazelle’s LA LA LAND is the one to talk about, as his musical about life, love, and art earned a record-tying 14 nominations; including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), and Best Actress (Emma Stone). The film also received two for Best Original Song.  In a world full of negativity, LA LA LAND was the feel-good experience of the year, and deserves every bit of praise.


The Oscars will be awarded February 26th.

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