AMPAS has responded to one of last year’s most hashtagged controversies with a 2017 Oscar ballot rich in such diverse visions as Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures.
Seven minorities have been pegged in the four acting categories, including three African American women in the Best Supporting Actress race – a new standard for the Academy. A third nomination for Viola Davis for her role in Fences (previously, for Doubt in 2008 and The Help in 2011) represents a first for a black actress. Other strong showings amongst Hollywood’s minority artists include Arrival cinematographer Bradford Young (only the second black DOP ever nominated); 13th director Ava Duvernay (the first black woman to earn a Best Documentary nod); La La Land editor Joi McMillon (the first ever black woman Best Editing nominee); and, Manchester by The Sea producer Kimberly Steward (only the second black woman to represent a Best Picture nominee).
While the 2017 nominee list is more culturally vast than recent Oscar races, there is no argument that the diversity issue is still a long way from resolved. No woman made the cut in the Best Director category, despite critically lauded films from Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women) and Andrea Arnold (American Honey); the sole woman to feature in either Screenplay category is Alison Schroeder, who shares a nomination with Theodore Melfi for their Hidden Figures script. But it is telling that the post-announcement analysis of those snubbed is a largely all-white affair, noticeably Amy Adams (no Best Actress consideration for either Arrival or Nocturnal Animals), Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood (denied any love for Sully), Hugh Grant (no Supporting Actor mention for Florence Foster Jenkins), Golden Globe winner Aaron Taylor Johnston (Nocturnal Animals, again), Jim Jarmusch and Adam Driver (total shut-out, Paterson) and Ralph Fiennes (A Bigger Splash).
No surprise at all was the record-tying 14 nominations bestowed upon Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (pictured, above); in AMPAS history, only Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) have achieved that honour. With 8 nominations apiece, Dennis Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama Arrival and Barry Jenkin’s African America LGBT-themed Moonlight offer the most resistance to the jazz musical’s award season momentum. Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, Garth Davis’ Lion and Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by The Sea scored six nominations; Denzel Washington’s Fences and David McKenzie’s Hell or High Water earned four. Three nominations apiece went to Hidden Figures and Jackie; dual nominees include Deepwater Horizon, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana, Rogue One A Star Wars Story, Kubo and The Two Strings and Passengers.
The Australian industry had one of the strongest showings of any international sector, with Garth Davis’ Lion emerging as a legitimate contender in Best Film, Supporting Actor (Dev Patel), Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman), Adapted Screenplay (Luke Davies), Cinematography (Greig Fraser), and Original Score (Dustin O’Halloran and Volker Bertelmann); surprisingly, Davis himself was bumped from the Best Director category. Mel Gibson returns to the Oscar fold after a controversy-filled absence with Hacksaw Ridge, the World War II drama that was shot in Oz with a full local crew and financial backing. Most endearingly, Australia earned its first ever Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee with Tanna (pictured, above), the Vanuatu-set romantic drama co-directed by Martin Butler and Bentley Dean, shot entirely in the Nauvhal language.
Other fascinating facts to emerge from the 2017 nominations include Meryl Streep resetting her own Oscar nomination record, notching up her 20th with a Best Actress mention for Florence Foster Jenkins; veteran producer Todd Black, whose IMDb page list 33 production credits dating back to 1988’s Spellbinder, earning his first Best Picture nomination for Fences; and, the late playwrite August Wilson earning a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Fences, twelve years since his passing in 2005.
Web indignation is rife following the snubbing of Adams, whose one-two 2016 acting punch in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals appears to have split her vote. The wave of goodwill for Deadpool and its star Ryan Reynolds came to nought, the film a no-show on the nominee list (while the critically-derided Suicide Squad and Passengers both earned nods). Annette Bening (20th Century Women; pictured, right) and Hayley Steinfeld (Edge of Seventeen) felt the pinch of an unusually strong year for lead actress contenders. Other works that must have come close to nomination glory include John Carney’s Sing Street (potentially Film, but undoubtedly Song and Score), Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson (a notable Best Documentary omission), Chan-wook Park’s The Handmaiden (a Foreign Film certainty at one point, with costume and production design credentials to boot) and Robert Egger’s The Witch (surely a cinematography, set and/or production design contender). And Pixar’s grasp on the Best Animation category was loosened slightly with the snubbing of their billion-dollar sequel Finding Dory, bumped by Mouse House stablemates Zootopia and Moana, foreign toons The Red Turtle and My Life As a Zucchini and Laika Animation’s Kubo and The Two Strings.
The full list of 2017 Academy Award nominations:
Arrival; Fences; Hacksaw Ridge; Hell or High Water; Hidden Figures; La La Land; Lion; Manchester by the Sea; Moonlight.
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Denzel Washington, Fences.
Isabelle Huppert, Elle; Ruth Negga, Loving; Natalie Portman, Jackie; Emma Stone, La La Land; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins.
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water; Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea; Dev Patel, Lion; Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals.
Viola Davis, Fences; Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Nicole Kidman, Lion; Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures; Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea.
Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge; Barry Jenkins, Moonlight; Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea; Denis Villeneuve Arrival
Kubo and the Two Strings; Moana; My Life as a Zucchini; The Red Turtle; Zootopia.
Blind Vaysha; Borrowed Time; Pear Cider and Cigarettes; Pearl; Piper.
Eric Heisserer, Arrival; August Wilson, Fences; Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures; Luke Davies, Lion; Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight.
Mike Mills, 20th Century Women; Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water; Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, The Lobster; Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea.
Bradford Young, Arrival; Linus Sandgren La La Land; Greig Fraser, Lion; James Laxton, Moonlight; Rodrigo Prieto, Silence.
Best documentary feature:
13th; Fire at Sea; I Am Not Your Negro; Life, Animated; O.J.: Made in America.
Best documentary short subject:
4.1 Miles; Extremis; Joe’s Violin; Watani: My Homeland; The White Helmets.
Best live action short film:
Ennemis Interieurs; La Femme et le TGV; Silent Nights; Sing; Timecode.
Best foreign language film:
A Man Called Ove (Sweden); Land of Mine (Denmark); Tanna (Australia); The Salesman (Iran); Toni Erdmann (Germany).
Joe Walker, Arrival; John Gilbert Hacksaw Ridge; Jake Roberts, Hell or High Water; Tom Cross La La Land; Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon Moonlight
Arrival; Deep Water Horizon; Hacksaw Ridge; La La Land; Sully.
Arrival; Hacksaw Ridge; La La Land; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte, Arrival; Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh, Hail, Caesar!; David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, La La Land; Guy Hendrix Dyas and Gene Serdena, Passengers
Mica Levi, Jackie; Justin Hurwitz La La Land; Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka, Lion; Nicholas Britell, Moonlight; Thomas Newman, Passengers
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” from La La Land — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from Trolls — Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster; “City of Stars,” from La La Land — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; “The Empty Chair,” from Jim: The James Foley Story — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting; “How Far I’ll Go,” from Moana — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Makeup and hair:
Eva von Bahr and Love Larson, A Man Called Ove; Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo, Star Trek Beyond; Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson, Suicide Squad.
Joanna Johnston, Allied; Colleen Atwood Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Consolata Boyle, Florence Foster Jenkins; Madeline Fontaine, Jackie; Mary Zophres, La La Land.
Deepwater Horizon; Doctor Strange; The Jungle Book; Kubo and the Two Strings; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.