By: Langdon Kessner ‘17
Arts and Life Editor
The Oscar nominees were announced Jan.16, and the response was more muted than in the past. Dare I say it, these nominees are boring. With one major exception, the list is lacking some surprises.
There is no real reason to watch except to see who will win, and honestly, we will have forgotten those winners by the time the next Academy Awards are announced. But enough of my cynicism, let’s see who was nominated.
Best Picture: There is Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight. La La Land also took an additional 13 nominations, and I will assume it is the winner here.
While it is too early to tell, this is a safe bet. The film is a love-letter to the Golden Era of Hollywood, Los Angeles, and also just a very well-crafted movie. Look up “Delightful” in the dictionary, and you will see the poster.
Best Actor: We have Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), and Denzel Washington (Fences). These are all great choices, but the winner will be Casey Affleck, and a deserved win at that. It’s a quiet, emotional, devastating performance in what is also a very powerful movie. But all these performances are so terrific, hardly anyone would be upset if Denzel Washington won. But the winner will be Manchester by the Sea, which you should see after La La Land. It’ll require your patience, but trust me, it will be rewarded.
Best Actress: This category is where the big surprise happened. No Amy Adams for Arrival? Or Nocturnal Animals? She gave a great performance twice and received no recognition for either one. What gives? Instead, we have Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins). Emma Stone will win for La La Land, with all the buzz and hype surrounding the film. Why is Meryl Streep nominated? What did she do that she hasn’t done better in the past? Did you even see Florence Foster Jenkins? She is a great actress, I get it, but she’s doesn’t need another nomination for a role that she could’ve done in her sleep, especially there are more worthy actresses.
If I had to nitpick some snubs other than Amy Adams, Martin Scorsese’s Silence was an odd choice for the Academy to leave out. Scorsese is widely considered to be one of the greatest directors of all-time, and Silence did rather well in the critical community. Then again, a three-hour religious drama is always going to be a tough sell (but if you have the time, it is quite excellent).
The 89th Annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26, and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.