'La La Land' Lands 14 Nominations for 89th Academy Awards
A movie about movie people in L.A. is celebrated by movie people in L.A.
My main concern last night was that Oscar would follow the lead of BAFTA, which gave “Nocturnal Animals,” one of my least-favorite movies of the year, an astonishing nine nominations earlier this month. That didn't happen this morning. Tom Ford's pointless exercise in ennui and horror came away with a measly one nom, for Michael Shannon in supporting.
The big story is the 14 nominations “La La Land” landed. Only two other films have ever received that many noms: “Titanic” in 1997, which wound up winning 11, including picture and director; and “All About Eve” in 1950, which wound up with six, including picture and director. Does that mean we're done? Is “La La Land” getting this thing? Should director Damien Chazelle, who just turned 32 but looks 12, make room on his mantle? Probably, and it's not just the sheer number. Think about how much movie people in L.A. love movies about movie people in L.A. What sprawling historical epics were to the '80s (“Reds,” “Chariots,” “Out of Africa,” “Last Emperor”), movies about movie people in L.A. are to the 2010s (“The Artist,” “Argo,” “La La Land”). Take note, future filmmakers.
I haven't been paying attention much this Oscar season, but I was surprised by the love for “Hacksaw Ridge,” which came away with six noms, including best director for Mel Gibson (hello, you), and the lack of love for “Loving,” which got one: Ruth Negga for best actress. I don't like the word “snubbed” as it relates to Oscar, since we're talking a finite number of slots for a huge amount of talent, but if anyone in the acting categories got snubbed this year it was Joel Edgerton. His performance as Richard Loving was one of my favorites.
Meryl is up gain, for “Florence Foster Jenkins”: She has 20 nominations now, a record in acting. No one's close. (Jack Nicholson and Katherine Hepburn are tied for second with 12. Twelve. Meryl is the Yankees of actors, except we still love her.) Octavia Spencer got nominated again. Apparently she's the first African-American actress to get nominated after winning an Oscar. That's a sad little fact. Dev Patel, supporting for “Lion,” is the third Indian actor to garner a nomination. Viola Davis, meanwhile, for a supporting nod for “Fences,” became not only the most-nominated black actress in Academy history, but, according to Nathaniel Rogers at Film Experience, the most nominated black woman ever. She has three. She wasn't won yet? Yeah, that'll change this year.
Here are the best pictures:
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”
I still need to see “Hacksaw,” “Hidden” and “Lion,” but my vote would go with “Manchester by the Sea,” which sadly seems all-but-forgotten now. Go see it, if you haven't.
You can find the rest of the nominations on Nathaniel's site. Or pretty much anywhere.
One thing we won't get this year is an #OscarsSoWhite controversy, which was the furious social-media focus last year. This year was much more inclusive: seven of the 20 acting noms were for people of color, while nearly half of the best picture noms focused on their stories, while more than half (three of the five) documentaries focused on racial matters: “I Am Not Your Negro,” “OJ: Made in America,” and “13th.”
What's less inclusive this year? The White House and Congress. Win some, lose everything.
The Oscar ceremony is Sunday, Feb. 26.