Well its that time of year again, awards season! This morning Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science President Cheryl Boone Isaacs along with a handful of Academy members including Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson and Jason Reitman revealed the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards. When all was said and done La La Land had tied an Oscar’s record with 14 nominations. This ties it with All About Eve and Titanic for the most nominations all time. Right behind La La Land, both Arrival and Moonlight eight nominations a piece. It should also be noted that the Academy had taken a huge step forward in terms of diversity this awards season. Four of the nine best picture nominees center around people of color, seven of the twenty acting nominees are minorities and there are even people color nominated for Best Director, Screenplay and Cinematography. Overall a great step forward for the Academy. Below I will list each of of the nominees, give my quick reaction, list off some snubs and then give my early pick to win for each category. Let’s get started!

Best Picture

  1. Arrival
  2. Fences
  3. Hacksaw Ridge
  4. Hell or High Water
  5. Hidden Figures
  6. La La Land
  7. Lion
  8. Manchester by the Sea
  9. Moonlight

Overall this is a great list. Very well rounded with a lot of great movies. No movie is quite like another on this list and that makes hard to disagree with any of the choices here. The Academy did a fantastic job here and I honestly have no quarrel.

Snubs: Nocturnal Animals, Silence, Loving
Dark Horses: Arrival, Lion
Contenders: Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight
Winner: La La Land

Best Director

  1. Damien Chazelle- La La Land
  2. Mel Gibson- Hacksaw Ridge
  3. Barry Jenkins- Monlight
  4. Kenneth Lonergan- Manchester by the Sea
  5. Denis Villeneuve- Arrival

Another great list that is hard to argue with. All of these guys deserve it. I am little surprised the Academy did not go with respected legend and perennial favorite Martin Scorsese for his epic Silence, but otherwise nothing to get to riled up about here. If I had to change one on personal preference I would drop Gibson in favor of David Mackenzie for Hell or High Water.

Snubs: David Mackenzie, Tom Ford, Denzel Washington
Dark Horse: Gibson
Contenders: Jenkins, Villeneueve
Winner: Chazelle

Best Actor

  1. Casey Affleck- Manchester by the Sea
  2. Andrew Garfield- Hacksaw Ridge
  3. Ryan Gosling- La La Land
  4. Viggo Mortensen- Captain Fantastic
  5. Denzel Washington- Fences

Like the previous two categories the Academy once again got this one right. A little surprised to see Mortensen get love for the under seen Captain Fantastic, but I hear nothing but rave reviews for his performance. Also some in the community feel Garfield’s better performance last year was in Silence, but Hacksaw Ridge is a more commercial movie so it makes sense that the Academy went with that one because he is fantastic in both.

Snubs: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hanks
Dark Horse: Mortensen
Contenders: Garfield, Gosling
Winner: Affleck

Best Actress

  1. Isabelle Huppert- Elle
  2. Ruth Negga- Loving
  3. Natalie Portman- Jackie
  4. Emma Stone- La La Land
  5. Meryl Streep- Florence Foster Jenkins

This is the first category where the Academy really messed up. The fact that Amy Adams did not get nominated for her career best work in Arrival is criminal. Also, we understand that Meryl Streep is awesome at what she does, but she does not need to be nominated for every single role. From what I hear FFJ is a fine movie with a perfectly good performance from Streep, but there is no need for her on this list. I am glad to see Negga slip in though.

Snubs: Amy Adams, Annette Bening
Dark Horse: Negga
Contenders: Huppert, Portman
Winner: Stone

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Mahershala Ali- Moonlight
  2. Jeff Bridges- Hell or High Water
  3. Lucas Hedges- Manchester by the Sea
  4. Dev Patel- Lion
  5. Michael Shannon- Nocturnal Animals

This a pretty good category and should be very competitive. I am so happy to see Lucas Hedges get nominated as I thought he was fantastic and really shot to prominence as one to look out for in the future. Also interesting to see Shannon get the nod for Nocturnal Animals as Aaron Taylor-Johnson was the one from that movie to get nominated and win the Golden Globe. This was a crowded category this year with a lot of great performances so its hard to argue with any of the nominees.

Snubs: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Hugh Grant, Ben Foster, Kevin Costner
Dark Horse: Hedges
Contenders: Bridges, Patel
Winner: Ali

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Viola Davis- Fences
  2. Naomie Harris- Moonlight
  3. Nicole Kidman- Lion
  4. Octavia Spencer- Hidden Figures
  5. Michelle Williams- Manchester by the Sea

Another category this year where I cannot argue with the picks made. All of these women had fantastic years and all really have a chance of winning. Not too much else to say here except, yay for divesity!

Snubs: Greta Gerwig, Janelle Monae
Dark Horse: Harris
Contenders: Spencer, Williams
Winner: Davis

Original Screenplay

  1. 20th Century Women
  2. Hell or High Water
  3. La La Land
  4. The Lobster
  5. Manchester by the Sea

A very eclectic group this year with quite a few contenders. Many around the movie community are excited to see under seen favorites 20th Century Women and The Lobster get nods. Overall a very interesting group.

Snub: Zootopia
Dark Horse: 20th Century Women
Contenders: Hell or High Water, Manchester by the Sea
Winner: La La Land

Adapted Screenplay

  1. Arrival
  2. Fences
  3. Hidden Figures
  4. Lion
  5. Moonlight

This is another group that his hard to argue with. Eric Heisserer’s work on Arrival is just fantastic as is August Wilson’s adaptation of his own play, Fences. Also great to see diversity in this category as well.

Snubs: Loving, Nocturnal Animals
Dark Horse: Hidden Figures
Contenders: Fences, Arrival
Winner: Moonlight

Animated Feature

  1. Kubo and the Two Strings
  2. Moana
  3. My Life as a Zucchini
  4. The Red Turtle
  5. Zootopia

A great list overall with the usual two minor inclusions. Kind of surprised that the Academy shut out Pixar this year, but the animation and story telling in the two foreign animated movies must be stunning. Nothing to quarrel about here.

Snubs: Finding Dory
Dark Horse: The Red Turtle
Contenders: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana
Winner: Zootopia

Production Design

  1. Arrival
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  3. Hail, Caesar!
  4. La La Land
  5. Passengers

A rather odd mixture of movies in this category. La La Land and Arrival seemed like locks and even Fantastic Beasts makes sense due to its period setting which was recreated wonderfully. The Passengers nod is a little mind boggling considering the quality of the movie, but I guess it did look nice.

Snubs: Hidden Figures, Jackie, Silence
Dark Horse: Hail, Caesar!
Contenders: Arrival, Fantastic Beasts
Winner: La La Land

Best Cinematography

  1. Arrival
  2. La La Land
  3. Lion
  4. Moonlight
  5. Silence

A lot of fantastic choices here. The cinematography set the tone for Arrival, Moonlight and La La Land beautifully. Also fantastic to see Bradford Young finally get some recognition for the amazing work he had done over the past few years.

Snubs: Nocturnal Animals, Hacksaw Ridge
Dark Horse: Silence
Contenders: Moonlight, Arrival
Winner: La La Land

Costume Design

  1. Allied
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  3. Florence Foster Jenkins
  4. Jackie
  5. La La Land

As we get further down this list I have less and less to say about these categories. I think its interesting to see Zemeckis’ Allied get a nod here considering how little buzz it had, but all of the others seem like good choices.

Snubs: Live by Night, Silence
Dark Horse: Fantastic Beasts
Contenders: Jackie, Florence Foster Jenkins
Winner: La La Land

Editing

  1. Arrival
  2. Hacksaw Ridge
  3. Hell or High Water
  4. La La Land
  5. Moonlight

Nothing much to complain about here. Tom Cross’ editing of the musical numbers in La La Land is nothing short of breathtaking and the action in Hacksaw Ridge is left room to breathe which is always a sign of a good editor. Also the way tension is built through the selection of scenes in Hell or High Water is amazing so this is a great category.

Snubs: Manchester by the Sea, Lion
Dark Horse: Arrival
Contenders: Moonlight, Hacksaw Ridge
Winner: La La Land

Makeup and Hair-styling

  1. A Man Called Ove
  2. Star Trek Beyond
  3. Suicide Squad

This category actually baffles me. I have never heard of one of these movies and the fact that we now have to mention that Suicide Squad is now an Academy Award nominated movie disheartens me.

Snubs: Deadpool, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dark Horse: Suicide Squad
Contender: A Man Called Ove
Winner: Star Trek Beyond

Sound Mixing

  1. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
  2. Arrival
  3. Hacksaw Ridge
  4. La La Land
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

This category is typically dominated by war and action movies simply due to the large number of sounds needed in those films. Musicals also usually make their way in because of the skill needed to mix the music and other sounds around it. With that said, still surprised to see 13 Hours in this category.

Snubs: The Jungle Book, Deepwater Horizon
Dark Horse: Rogue One
Contenders: Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge
Winner: La La Land

Sound Editing

  1. Arrival
  2. Deepwater Horizon
  3. Hacksaw Ridge
  4. La La Land
  5. Sully

Not much to say different about this category compared to the last. Glad to see Deepwater Horizon get some love even if its in these deep technical categories.

Snubs: Rogue One, The Jungle Book
Dark Horse: Deepwater Horizon
Contenders: La La Land, Arrival
Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

Visual Effects

  1. Deepwater Horizon
  2. Doctor Strange
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Kubo and the Two Strings
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Very surprised to see an animation get a nod here and its cool to see a biopic/action movie get some love. Otherwise nothing too different this year than any other year in this category.

Snubs: Arrival, Captain America: Civil War
Dark Horse: Kubo and the Two Strings
Contenders: Doctor Strange, Rogue One
Winner: The Jungle Book

Original Score

  1. Jackie
  2. La La Land
  3. Lion
  4. Moonlight
  5. Passengers

Passengers once again makes a surprise appearance at this year’s Oscars. This category is hard because so many great scores were disqualified due to this branch’s many rules. La La Land seems to be the clear favorite.

Snubs: Nocturnal Animals, The BFG, Rogue One
Dark Horse: Passengers
Contenders: Jackie, Moonlight
Winner: La La Land

Original Song

  1. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”- La La Land
  2. “Can’t Stop the Feeling”- Trolls
  3. “City of Stars”- La La Land
  4. “The Empty Chair”- Jim: The James Foley Story
  5. “How Far I’ll Go”- Moana

Once again the music branch throws a song at us from a documentary that really has no business being there other than they want to get Sting to the show. Otherwise really nothing to surprising here.

Snubs: “Drive It Like You Stole It”- Sing Street, “Runnin”- Hidden Figures
Dark Horse: “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
Contenders: “Audition”, “How Far I’ll Go”
Winner: “City of Stars”

Documentary Feature

  1. 13th
  2. Fire at Sea
  3. I Am Not Your Negro
  4. Life, Animated
  5. OJ: Made in America

It’s great to see many of these really going for the pressing social issues in today’s society. This a great list and its going to be hard for the Academy to pick a winner. My hope is Ava Duvernay’s 13th pulls it out

Snubs: Gleason, Weiner
Dark Horse: I Am Not Your Negro
Contenders: Life, Animated, OJ: Made in America
Winner: 13th

Foreign Film

  1. Land of Mine
  2. A Man Called Ove
  3. The Salesman
  4. Tanna
  5. Toni Erdmann

I honestly do not know much about any of these movies, but I have heard that both Toni Erdmann and The Salesman are great.

Snubs: It’s Only the End of the World, My Life as a Zucchini
Dark Horse: A Man Called Ove
Contenders: The Salesman, Land of Mine
Winner: Toni Erdmann

Sorry to all of the short categories, but I do not know enough about them to make an informed opinion, so I will not be predicting those.

Well that’s it for your Oscar nominations. We will see La La Land can break or tie the record for most Oscars won. The record right now is 11 held by Ben-Hur(1959), Titanic, and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Other than that keep an eye out for Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea to scrape up a few trophies. We will see it all go down as Jimmy Kimmel hosts the show on February 26th at 7 pm (ET)/ 4 pm (PT) on ABC.

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