Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Initial Reaction to the 2017 Oscar Nominations

So, after the major backlash against the Oscar nominations last year and the reappearance of the trend #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy finally got around to nominate 10 non-white actors and several films with non-white leads and stories. Unfortunately, we still have some bland titles getting in and ruining all of the fun.

I have only seen a third of the nine Best Picture nominations; that would be La La Land, Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight, all of whom made it into my Best Films of 2016. The only films I cringe at for their inclusion in this category is Fences (better as a play than a film), Lion (pure Oscar bait that evaporate into the ether), and Hacksaw Ridge (woof).

Seriously, the Academy had to forgive Mel Gibson and give him a Best Director nod for his hyper violent war picture that even your grandpa passed on? You had a great story to be had with Paul Verhoeven being included for the acclaimed Elle but I guess the dummies still can't forgive him for Showgirls. I'll gladly watch that "masterpiece" any day than sit through Braveheart again, which doesn't age well and becomes even more stupid once you hear some hilarious stand up routines about its accuracy to history.

The Best Actor category was pretty obvious except for Viggo. I can't believe he would make it that far with that strange indie.

Okay, it's time. Take a deep breathe and release...

WHERE THE HELL WAS AMY ADAMS?! I know she's most likely going to lose to Emma Stone but the fact that she was the biggest snub for Arrival is pure lunacy. And for what, another glad-handing for Meryl Streep?! Yeah, her Golden Globes speech helped her net it but her film itself isn't a quality choice, especially compared to the work done by Adams. Even my mother had a hard time liking Florence Foster Jenkins!

To make matters worst, Streep also knocked out Taraji P. Henson, despite being hailed for her work in Hidden Figures.

Michael Shannon with the surprise Best Supporting Actor nomination! And Lucas Hedges as well! Unless the voters want to continue the raves for Nocturnal Animals in this category for some reason (wink wink, look up the controversy), it has to go to Mahershala Ali.

Best Supporting Actress race should be changed to "The Battle For The Pity Oscar". It's either Viola Davis or Michelle Williams, with the odds going to the former after netting the Golden Globe. Still a bit odd that Davis is essentially playing the lead actress and was heavily advertised but whatever, the role was regulated to this same acting slot at the Tonys.

Now it's time to address the elephant in the room: La La Land and its record-tying 14 nominations. I still stand by my glowing assessment of the film but I do admit that it isn't that good for such a high honor. Further adding fire to the backlash against it is the sheer fact that everyone I have chatted and debated with largely give it a "meh" to a "good, not great" rating. Hidden Figures, on the other hand, has had nothing but very positives things to say about.

Best Original Screenplay for La La Land. Are you freaking kidding me? I guess Zootopia was too provocative and unoriginal to be considered.

Speaking of animation, the Best Animated Feature Film category once again has its special pool of voters giving a rub to the lesser seen and more visually imaginative works. My Life As A Zucchini and The Red Turtle getting in over the likes of Finding Dory, Trolls and Sing is pretty cool. I do kinda hate that Sausage Party didn't get in though but I understand.

Major congrads for Kubo and the Two Strings getting a nod for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as a surprise nod for Best Visual Effects. The crew at Laika really deserved it. That stinger at the end solidified that nomination.

Man, Elle couldn't even get into the race for Best Foreign Language Film. What the hell? And to a lesser extent, Pedro Almodóvar was snubbed for the little noticed Julieta.

Great selection in Best Documentary Feature. I would be ecstatic if O.J.: Made In America wins.

Borrowed Time has to be the winner for Best Short Animated Film. It just has to be.

Nice that Mica Levi's unconventional arrangements for Jackie got a lock in Best Original Score.

Now, let's talk about Best Original Song. I knew that the two songs from La La Land would be there and that Lin-Manuel Miranda would still have a chance to achieve an EGOT. "Can't Stop The Feeling!" is a fine choice as well. But seriously, "The Empty Chair"? A random political song from Sting for a documentary no one really remembers? Sing Street should have been in that slot!

How the hell did Hail, Caesar! not get a Best Costume Design nom?

Other snubs to remember: Sing Street, Sing Street, and Sing Street. Oh, and Ryan Reynolds, Janelle Monáe, Sunny Pawar, Silence, Swiss Army Man, Weiner for Best Doc and O.J.: Made In America for Best Editing.

That's all I can muster right now. Tune in next month for my predictions which I will obviously fail at.

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