Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reactions to the Oscar Nominations: 2017

Image result for oscar trophyIt was a fairly uncontroversial nominations announcement this morning. The one thing that stuck out to me, however, is how horrible the pre-produced segment was to unveil the invitees. On paper, it should have worked. Seeing past nominees talk about what it was like to hear about their nomination and what the Oscars mean to them should have been interesting, but it was jumbled and really random when the disembodied voice announced categories in no particular order. Also, being on the west coast, it was at 5AM, so it didn’t air during Good Morning America. It aired during local news, so they had no idea what to do. They talked over the segment because it looked like a commercial of sorts and really ruined it. Stick to the press conference, AMPAS. Stop trying to be hip. Traditional is not always bad. Tradition is what sets your awards show apart. Don’t mess with that. However, it was still much better than the Seth MacFarlane announcement four years ago. Anyway, check out my gut reactions to this year’s nominations below!

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Predicted: 9 for 9
Reactions: This was the easiest group of BP nominees to predict since I have been in the business. This seemed very predetermined. It was clear that these were going to be the top 9. It was just a matter if 8 or 9 would get nominated. Hell or High Water and Hidden Figures were right on the edge, but they both had a wide enough fanbase within the industry to get in. This award has already been decided. La La Land, leading the way with a record-tying 14 nominations, cannot be beaten.
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Preliminary prediction: La La Land

Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Denis Villeneuve - Arrival
Predicted: 5 for 5
Reactions: It was almost expected that Garth Davis would sneak in there after the DGA nomination, but Hacksaw Ridge was way too traditional for the Academy to overlook. This is Gibson’s first nomination since he won this award in 1995. The other four nominees have never appeared in this category. Villeneuve has finally hit the big time. His rise to A-list director has been as brief and seamless as anyone I can ever remember.
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Preliminary prediction: Damien Chazelle

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: I went with a shocker and predicted that Gosling would get left out in favor of Joel Edgerton, but that obviously didn’t happen. This is a pretty good group. Mortensen’s movie was garbage, but he did give a really good performance. Garfield was arguably nominated for the wrong movie, but supposedly nobody connected with Silence in Hollywood. This is Affleck vs Washington.
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Preliminary prediction: Casey Affleck

Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: While looking over this category in the past few weeks, I thought that under normal circumstances that Amy Adams could be vulnerable. I didn’t predict her to get snubbed, but Negga seemed like a nominee. I just couldn’t see whose place she would take. Huppert’s Golden Globe win cemented her status as a shoo-in nominee. Streep is always in. Portman and Stone are the frontrunners. Amy Adams is one of the Academy favorites who is nominated as often as she appears in serious films. She also had Nocturnal Animals, which should have strengthened her case. This is a confusing snub. I’m stunned, especially since it was the second most nominated film and a Best Picture nominee. This would be like if Sandra Bullock was snubbed for Gravity.
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Preliminary prediction: Emma Stone

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: The Golden Globe winner was snubbed for the first time since 1975, when that actor’s co-star ended up winning the Oscar. Sound familiar? Shannon can’t win this award, but it is an interesting trend, if you can call it that. I missed Shannon and Hedges in favor of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Hugh Grant. Grant’s snub is a bit of a head-scratcher. His performance was pure Oscar stuff, and he has never been nominated before. He got all of the important precursor citations. Maybe category fraud did him in, seeing as he was nominated for Best Actor at the GG. Hedges is a bit of a surprise as well. His movie is obviously beloved by actors, and he did give a really nice performance, but for him to be singled out in this category is quite an achievement. Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s snub clears the way for Ali to win this without any real competition.
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Preliminary prediction: Mahershala Ali

Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Predicted: 5 for 5
Reactions: This was the most pre-ordained set of nominees since 2006 Best Actress. Nobody else really had a realistic chance of getting in.
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Preliminary prediction: Viola Davis

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
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: Mike Mills making it in was a bit of a surprise. I had him ranked 8th. Captain Fantastic had everything going for it, and its quirky indie script was one of the most consistently singled-out elements of the film. I went with that instead. I love that I was right about The Lobster. It is such an unusual and beautiful movie. This will be a close call. La La Land won the GG in an upset. On paper, Lonergan should have this, but Hell or High Water is just sitting there waiting for an upset. Sheridan is the best young screenwriter in the business.
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Preliminary prediction: Manchester by the Sea

Arrival – Eric Heisserer
Fences – August Wilson
Hidden Figures – Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi
Lion – Luke Davies
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: I decided to ride the wave of the Golden Globes and BAFTA by predicting Nocturnal Animals to get the fifth spot. Hidden Figures was left off my list by just a hair. No real surprises here. Moonlight being shifted to this category makes it a real battle between that and the previous frontrunner Arrival.
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Preliminary prediction: Moonlight

La La Land
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: I had Hacksaw Ridge securing a spot over Lion. It is not an egregious omission, but it just shows how much the Academy really loved Garth Davis’s film. Worthy of noting: this is the only nomination that Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece Silence received. It is a bizarre case in the industry and one that I will never fully understand. Its cinematography was too good to ignore, though.
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Preliminary prediction: La La Land

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: The real surprise of the nominations was the love for the critically panned Passengers, which will also appear late in the nominations. I missed out on that and Hail Caesar! in favor of Café Society and Jackie. La La Land is going to win this, and it deserves to.
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Preliminary prediction: La La Land

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: I missed out on Fantastic Beasts and Allied. I predicted The Handmaiden (shut out) and the exquisite costumes of Love & Friendship. I must say, if there is one of these artistic categories that La La Land has a chance to lose, it is this one.
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Preliminary prediction: Jackie

Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: I missed the surprise inclusion of 13 Hours in favor of the more traditional choice of Sully. This seems about right. Traditionally, this category is won by action movies or musicals. We have the best of both worlds, and this could be an interesting race. Usually, this category goes hand-in-hand with Sound Effects Editing, but a musical cannot win that category.
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Preliminary prediction: Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Predicted: 5 for 5
Reactions: This is exactly how it should be. Worthy of noting is that Manchester by the Sea was left off, which is usually the nail in the coffin for its Best Picture chances. That was until Birdman bucked the trend, and of course if there is a criticism of Lonergan’s film it’s that it is too long. This should be a walk for La La Land.
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Preliminary prediction: La La Land

Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: I missed Sully and La La Land in favor of Rogue One and The Jungle Book. La La Land is officially the first musical to ever be nominated in this category, and I cannot figure out how it did it. It makes absolutely no sense.
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Preliminary prediction: Hacksaw Ridge

Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: I missed Deepwater Horizon and Kubo. I predicted Fantastic Beasts and Arrival to get in. This is really weird. Arrival was an absolute lock to win this category, but somehow it gets left off. It was nominated in all of the important categories, and yet its two shoo-ins Best Actress and Best Visual Effects are snubbed. In favor of an animated movie? Wow. I was not even aware until recently that it was even eligible. I don’t know what to think of this category…
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Preliminary prediction: The Jungle Book

A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad
Predicted: 1 for 3
Reactions: This is a complete miss on the part of the Academy. They supposedly went with strictly obvious makeup work and ignored hairstyling. I predicted Deadpool, which I thought would win, and Florence Foster Jenkins. I missed Suicide Squad (of course) and Star Trek. This is always a little quirky and they have no problems giving the award to bad movies.
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Preliminary prediction: Suicide Squad

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls
“City of Stars” – La La Land
“The Empty Chair” – Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: Justin Timberlake, Oscar nominee. Nice. I missed “The Empty Chair” and Trolls in favor of the songs from Gold and Hidden Figures.
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Preliminary prediction: “City of Stars”

La La Land
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: I missed Passengers, as expected, and Moonlight in favor of The BFG and Nocturnal Animals. La La Land is winning this.
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Preliminary prediction: La La Land

Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: I had The Eagle Huntress and Weiner in over Life, Animated and Fire at Sea. This is a great category and a good reflection of America right now. It is really relevant, and it is good to see O.J. breaking through. The Documentary voters seem to be ahead of the game in blurring the lines on what makes a movie “Oscar-worthy”. They were the first to really embrace streaming, and now we have a TV miniseries nominated. I love it.
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Preliminary prediction: O.J.: Made in America

A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Toni Erdmann
Land of Mine
Predicted: 3 for 5
Reactions: I had Paradise and My Life as a Zucchini in over The Salesman and Tanna, which I have never heard of. In most people’s prognostications, Toni Erdmann is the frontrunner, but it doesn’t feel like an Oscar winner.
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Preliminary prediction: Land of Mine

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Predicted: 4 for 5
Reactions: I had The Little Prince in over My Life as a Zucchini. I hate my brain seeing trends. I mixed up My Life as a Zucchini’s categories just because that is how they handled Waltz with Bashir in 2008. Whatever. This category has been over for months.
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Preliminary prediction: Zootopia

Overall predictions: 80/107; 74.77% (75.47% in 2016)
Without the last 5 categories: 64/82; 78.05% (79.01% in 2016)
On the Big 8 categories: 38/44; 86.36% (83.72% in 2016)

It’s amazing how similar my predictions are every single year. You would think that I would get better over time, but the lack of predictability is something that I have always loved about the Oscars.

1. Andrew Garfield
2. Justin Timberlake
Image result for justin timberlake can't stop the feeling
3. Mahershala Ali
4. Denis Villeneuve
5. Isabelle Huppert
6. Ruth Negga
7. Taylor Sheridan
8. Barry Jenkins
9. Naomie Harris
10. Yorgos Lanthimos

1. Amy Adams for Best Actress
2. Arrival for Best Visual Effects
3. Silence in all relevant categories
4. Nocturnal Animals for Best Adapted Screenplay
Image result for nocturnal animals movie
5. O.J.: Made in America for Best Film Editing
6. Florence Foster Jenkins for Best Makeup/Hairstyling
7. Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Best Supporting Actor
8. Love & Friendship for Best Costume Design
9. Finding Dory for Best Animated Feature
10. Hugh Grant for Best Supporting Actor

What are your thoughts on the nominations? Whose snub was most egregious? Stay tuned for our 9th Annual Oscar Challenge!


  1. You missed an obvious awesome first-time nominee. Lin-Manuel Miranda wraps up a landmark year complete with a Broadway phenomenon in Hamilton that dominated the Tonys with an Oscar nomination. He needed to be on your list!

    1. That's true, he could have easily made it. I sort of ran out of options at the end too. He'll be a future EGOT maybe like the people who wrote the Frozen songs. I also completely spaced on Ava DuVernay.