5. New Record: La La Land Receives 14 Nominations
Matching past record-holders All About Eve and Titanic, La La Land now shares the crown for being the most Oscar-nominated film in history. It was obvious that the film would fare well with the academy, but this high a nomination tally was foreseen by very few.
Among its numerous nominations are Best Production Design and Best Costume Design, which are usually given to period pieces but the modern-set favorite still prevailed. Most eyebrow-raising is its inclusion in Best Sound Editing, making it the first musical to ever be recognized in the category which is usually reserved for louder and showier action films.
Even if the voters knew what the category entailed, their generosity in including La La Land just solidifies how deeply they adore it, and confirms its frontrunner status as the probable Best Picture winner.
4. Snub: Amy Adams for Best Actress
Since 2005, the beloved actress has yet to go more than two years without receiving an Oscar nomination, but that streak unfortunately ends now. Most puzzling is the fact that the film to end it was a starring vehicle that received a staggering eight other nominations including Best Picture and Best Director.
Just like Grant, Adams received a nomination from the Golden Globes, SAG, BAFTA and the Critics’ Choice Awards for one of her career-best performances in Arrival. She also had a few victories from critics’ awards groups and had attention for her other 2016 turn in Nocturnal Animals, which should have strengthened her spot in the race even more.
Perhaps she split votes between the two films, but that seems unlikely considering all the accolades she received for the widely acclaimed sci-fi drama. Her absence from this lineup is a rather peculiar one.
3. Surprise: Michael Shannon Defeats Golden Globe-Winning Co-Star
The Nocturnal Animals Supporting Actor debacle was quite the roller coaster this awards season. The phenomenal Michael Shannon was considered a major contender for a long while with plenty of support from critics’ awards, but his buzz began to evaporate once televised awards came into play. His co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson got a surprising Golden Globe nomination in place of Shannon, which many thought to be a fluke until he shocked the world two-fold by winning the award.
Followed by a BAFTA nomination, it seemed that Taylor-Johnson had stolen Shannon’s thunder in a sudden awards surge placing him higher in likelihood of an Oscar nomination.
Thus, when Shannon’s name appeared on the list without Taylor-Johnson, it came as a wonderful surprise. Not since 1975 has a performance in the Supporting Actor category taken home the Golden Globe only to be left out of the Oscar lineup, so the fact that Taylor-Johnson’s co-star was the one to take his place is all the more gobsmacking.
However, they are two of the best performances of the year so it is still great to see that at least one of them was recognized, even though the film itself was otherwise neglected.
2. New Record: Racial Diversity Galore
One year after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the academy has included four minority-led films in its Best Picture lineup, and has nominated the most racial minorities in the history of the awards.
For the first time ever, at least one person of color was nominated in each acting category, with Best Supporting Actress containing a record three black nominees out of five. Fences stars Denzel Washington and Viola Davis became the most Oscar-nominated black man and woman of all time, while Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th made her the first-ever black female director to be nominated.
Two of the other four Best Documentary nominees were also directed by African Americans. The Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing categories each included the second-ever black nominee in their lineup. Dev Patel’s Best Supporting Actor nomination for Lion makes him the first person of Indian descent to be Oscar-nominated in any acting category.
Some people may claim that the abundance of minorities present may be a sign of the academy’s guilt for the past couple of years. However, those people would be wrong, because 2016 just so happened to contain more high-quality mainstream films centered on racial minorities than Hollywood has seen in a very long time – or perhaps more than ever.
1. Bonus Awesome Nomination: The Lobster for Best Original Screenplay
This nomination doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, as the unusual lack of strong contenders in the category made its appearance in the lineup far from shocking. But it’s still totally awesome. In limited release during the first half of the year, The Lobster did not have the kind of traction generally required to last through the awards season up until the Oscars.
Furthermore, its inaccessibly bizarre nature makes it a super unlikely film to be embraced by high-brow Oscar voters. It is a European dark comedy about people literally being turned into animals when they fail to find a romantic partner. How often do we see that type of film in a major Oscar category? How often do we see that type of film, period? Never, which along with The Lobster’s genius makes it one of the coolest nominees in recent memory.
Author Bio: Ryan Jamison is a first-year film student from Vancouver, Canada who loves to watch, discuss and make films. Right now, he works at a movie theater, but in the long term he aspires to become a writer/director on a more public level.