Nominations for the 89th annual Academy Awards were revealed Tuesday in a pre-recorded short film that had, as a friend put it, “all the charm of the videos they show you before jury duty.”
In the future, Academy, we the people expect to see two live Hollywood types, at 5:18 a.m. Pacific time, reading from a teleprompter, looking like they were unhooked from an IV of coffee 30 seconds before air-time. #OscarsSoLazy!
Here are a few things we learned:
Black people exist: Unlike last year’s horrifyingly white nominee slate, talent of color and films directly relating to the African-American experience were decently represented this year. “Hidden Figures,” “Moonlight” and “Fences” all received best picture nods.
Director Barry Jenkins was nominated for “Moonlight.” Ruth Negga nabbed a best actress nomination for “Loving.” Denzel Washington and Viola Davis both received acting nominations for “Fences,” while the brilliant Mahershala Ali (for “Moonlight”) and British-Indian actor Dev Patel (for “Lion”) received best supporting actor noms. Other supporting actress nominees included Naomie Harris (for “Moonlight”) and Octavia Spencer (for “Hidden Figures”). #OscarsSoWoke?
The Academy really, really liked “La La Land:” The musical landed 14 nominations, which ties it with “All About Eve” (1950) and movie-that-made-Leo-DiCaprio “Titanic” (1997). The Damien Chazelle-directed ode to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (and, yes, fine, old Hollywood musicals) received nods in every major category, including best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best cinematography, best costume, best original score, TWO for best original song an best original screenplay. #OscarSoIntoSlightlyFlatRyanGosling
Loving (rather than merely liking) “La La Land” (and people not actually seeing “Moonlight”) has become such a thing that it was made fun of on Saturday Night Live.
Streaming services are players: Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester By the Sea,” produced by Amazon Studios, picked up six nominations (best picture, best director, Casey Affleck for lead actor, Lucas Hedges for supporting actor, Michelle Williams for supporting actress, and best original screenplay). Never before has a streaming service gotten a best picture nomination. #OscarsSoIntoNetflixAndChill
The documentary category remains incredibly strong: Speaking of streaming (and African-American talent, for that matter), the Netflix-produced “The 13th” from Ava DuVernay, a stunning look at how slavery morphed into the prison-industrial complex, picked up a nomination, as did “I Am Not Your Negro,” the award-winning “Fire at Sea,” the autism journey “Life, Animated,” and the epic, essential “OJ: Made in America.”
Not a lot of love for “Loving:” There was a bit of Oscar buzz last year for Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols’ “Loving.” It picked up exactly one nomination, a best actress nod for Ruth Negga’s performance as Mildred Loving. Dang.
The Oscars will air Feb. 26 on ABC.