Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
It’s official – the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards have been released. Among them are obvious choices and a few surprise inclusions, along with many films people had completely forgotten about. So here, in order of presentation from last year’s ceremony, is the full round-up of the nominations. Included are predictions from Norwich Film Festival’s editor, John Cheshire.
Best Original Screenplay
An early release in the year, HELL OR HIGH WATER is a Western heist film based on a script written by Taylor Sheridan over 4 years ago. Joining it is another film from early in the year – THE LOBSTER, written by Efthimis Filippou and director Yorgos Lanthimos, an absurdist film about romance. Two Oscar darlings also have nominations – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA and LA LA LAND. Both are written by the directors – the former by Kenneth Lonergan, the latter by Damien Chazelle. The final nomination is for 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, written and directed by Mike Mills. It’s a rather recent film and this is the only nomination, however due to being autobiographical it has a fair chance at winning.
Editor prediction: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Best Adapted Screenplay
As many successful films were based on pre-existing works, such as these five films which have all also been nominated for best picture. The first is ARRIVAL, a sci-fi film with a script by Eric Heisserer based on a 1998 short story “Story of Your Life”. August Wilson’s adapted his play “Fences” before his death in 2005, leading to the script for second nomination FENCES directed by and starring Denzel Washington. FENCES is not to be confused, as it was in the Golden Globes awards, for HIDDEN FIGURES, a film with a nominated script by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. The film LION, with a screenplay by Luke Davies based on Saroo Brierley’s book “A Long Way Home” has only just been released in most areas making the nomination a rather last-minute one. Final nomination is for MOONLIGHT, another film based on a play. The screenplay by Barry Jenkins was adapted from “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”, a play by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Editor prediction: MOONLIGHT
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Many films receive their second nomination already as Octavia Spencer is nominated for playing Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES, Nicole Kidman is nominated for an Oscar for the fourth time for her role as Sue Brierley in LION and Naomie Harris’s role as Teresa in MOONLIGHT, Viola Davis’ role as wife of the protagonist Rose Lee Maxson in FENCES and Michelle Williams’ Randi in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA all get nominations. After last year’s controversy over the lack of racially diverse nominations, a look at nominations in this category alone show a new drive for inclusivity and representation.
Editor prediction: VIOLA DAVIS – FENCES
Best Costume Design
Some new faces appear in the first technical award section. Joanna Johnson’s work in ALLIED, set in 1942, and Consolata Boyle’s costumes in FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS set in 1944 both show flair for World War costume design. Colleen Atwood’s costumes for FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM also shows beginning-of-the-century costumes mixed with magical sensibilities for the Harry Potter Franchise film. Madeline Fontaine’s costumes for JACKIE, about Jacqueline Kennedy, and Mary Zophres’ work on LA LA LAND, about Hollywood glitz and glamour, both also received nominations.
Editor prediction: JACKIE
Best Production Design
The award for overall film aesthetic again sees a few new faces, and again a focus on blockbusters as the technical awards tend to do. Patrice Vermette’s work in ARRIVAL, David Wasco’s design in LA LA LAND and Stuart Craig’s work in FANTASTIC BEASTS all add nominations to these three acclaimed films. New arrivals are HAIL, CAESAR! for Jess Gonchor’s work, netting the film its only nomination, and PASSENGERS for the work by Guy Hendrix Dyas. Both films utilised their aesthetic choices to great effect, so this one will likely be close.
Editor prediction: HAIL, CAESAR! or LA LA LAND
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
In a rather slim batch of nominations, A MAN CALLED OVE and the work by Eva von Bahr and Love Larson is the only film to receive any other award nods. The other two nominations are for STAR TREK BEYOND and the work of Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo and SUICIDE SQUAD for work by Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson. Both are science fiction works, indicating the Academy Awards’ increased focus on genre films.
Editor prediction: STAR TREK BEYOND
Rodrigo Prieto’s shooting for Scorsese’s recent SILENCE marks the only new film in this category. The other nominations are for Linus Sandgren’s work on LA LA LAND, Bradford Young’s acclaimed work for ARRIVAL, James Laxton’s cinematography on MOONLIGHT and Greif Fraser’s work on LION.
Editor prediction: SILENCE
Best Film Editing
In each new category a new acclaimed film seems to appear, and this is just as much the case for editing as John Gilbert gets HACKSAW RIDGE its first nomination. HELL OR HIGH WATER receives another nomination for Jake Roberts’ work, leaving it a second nomination. Frequent nominees ARRIVAL, editing by Joe Walker, MOONLIGHT, editing by Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon and LA LA LAND, editing by Tom Cross, all receive another nomination.
Editor prediction: HACKSAW RIDGE
Best Sound Editing
Frequently confused with the Sound Mixing Category, this category is for the most aesthetic sound design. New nominees are DEEPWATER HORIZON, the disaster film with sound by Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli and SULLY, with sound by Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman. Returners are Sylivain Bellemare for ARRIVAL, Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright for HACKSAW RIDGE and Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan for LA LA LAND.
Editor prediction: LA LA LAND
Best Sound Mixing
This distinction is for best post-production music work, although there is sometimes little difference in the result. Recurring nominations for ARRIVAL, with work by Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye, HACKSAW RIDGE with work by Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace and LA LA LAND with work by Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow. Two new films have nominations however – ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY for the mixing of David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson and 13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI for Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth.
Editor prediction: LA LA LAND
Best Visual Effects
The visual effects category fully embraces blockbuster territory with nominations for the teams behind the effects for DEEPWATER HORIZON, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY and delivers DOCTOR STRANGE, THE JUNGLE BOOK and KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS their first nominations, mostly for digital capture work.
Editor prediction: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
Best Animated Short
At this point in the awards show, whole films are beginning to be nominated. For the animated shorts nominations go to BLIND VAYSHA about a girl who can only see the past and future, BORROWED TIME about an Old West sheriff reliving past events in his life, PEAR CIDER AND CIGARETTES about a friend rescuing another friend, PEARL about a performer trying to provide for his family, and PIPER, a film about a young bird leaving her nest.
Editor prediction: PIPER
Best Animated Feature
Although this section is normally dismissed as a section for ‘kid films’, many important films get nominated and awarded this Oscar. Disney films MOANA and ZOOTROPOLIS both receive much-expected nominations, as does KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS which receives its second nomination. International features THE RED TURTLE and MY LIFE AS A COURGETTE (translated to American MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI for the awards) also receive nominations.
Editor prediction: ZOOTROPOLIS
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Taking a quick break from the alternative films for a second, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS receives its first nomination for the acting of Michael Shannon as Detective Bobby Andes, in a film that was expected to receive more awards. Also nominated is Dev Patel for his portrayal of Saroo Brierley in LION, Lucas Hedges for his role as Patrick Chandler in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, Mahershala Ali as Juan in MOONLIGHT and Jeff Bridges for his acting in HELL OR HIGH WATER as Marcus Hamilton.
Editor prediction: MAHERSHALA ALI – MOONLIGHT
Best Documentary Short Subject
Shorter documentary productions tend to be quite rare, but there are still several nominations in the category. They are EXTREMIS, following a doctor attempting to provide the best care she can, 4.1 MILES about a Coast Guard captain in the midst of the refugee crisis, JOE’S VIOLIN about a Holocaust survivor who donates a violin and makes a friend, WATANI: MY HOMELAND about children fleeing Aleppo to Germany, and THE WHITE HELMETS about volunteers in Syria searching through rubble after bombings for survivors.
Editor prediction: THE WHITE HELMETS
Best Documentary Feature Subject
Longer documentaries sees an interesting shift in subject. FIRE AT SEA is about the island of Lampedusa which many refugees land on during their voyage from the Middle East, 13TH shows the ongoing persecution shown towards African American citizens in America, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO examines race relations in relation to civil rights leaders based on a letter written by author James Baldwin, LIFE, ANIMATED shows the life of a child who only knows how to say lines from Disney films and O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA depicts the life of well-known figure O.J. Simpson in relation to his communities.
Editor prediction: FIRE AT SEA
Best Live-Action Short Film
This category, and many of the alternative categories for that matter, are known for respecting a wide range of world cinemas, and the list of nominations here is no exception. These are ENNEMIS INTERIEURS, about a police interview in the midst of France/ Algeria tension, LA FEMME ET LE TGV about a woman searching for a man she has had a correspondence with, SILENT NIGHTS about a woman falling in love with an immigrant from Ghana and SING (not to be confused with the animated feature) about a child who loves singing but hates her choir. The one American film nominated is TIMECODE, about a security guard fighting boredom and making a friend.
Editor prediction: SILENT NIGHTS
Best Foreign Language Films
The last category before the focus returns to Hollywood productions is a fun romp into the cinemas of other countries. Danish LAND OF MINE, directed by Martin Zandvliet, follows a Danish sergeant after World War II learning to respect the Germans he looks after. Swedish A MAN CALLED OVE, directed by Hannes Holm, explores the protagonist Ove learning to befriend a new generation of neighbours. THE SALESMAN, an Iranian film by Asghar Farhadi, shows the damaging effects of repression and withdrawl after a violent incident happens to a couple. The Australian film directed by Bentley Dean and Martin Butler TANNA is a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, where tribal rules restrict the relationship of two teenagers. The final nomination is German TONI ERDMANN, directed by Maren Ade, following a piano teacher attempting to reconnect with a figure from his past.
Editor prediction: A MAN CALLED OVE
Best Original Song
LA LA LAND was expected to win many awards, especially in the music category, so with two nominations in this one category for “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” Justin Hurwitz’s songs will prove hard to beat for the other nominees. These are “How Far I’ll Go” by Lin-Manuel Miranda from the soundtrack to MOANA, “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from the TROLLS soundtrack by Justin Timberlake and “The Empty Chair” by R. Ralph and Sting from JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY.
Editor prediction: CITY OF STARS – LA LA LAND
Best Original Score
Many composers nominated this year are those that are less well known, providing a good opportunity for up-and-coming composers. These are Mica Levi for the score to JACKIE, Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka for their score in LION, Nicholas Britell for his work in MOONLIGHT and Justin Hurwitz for LA LA LAND, who would be considered a newcomer if he hadn’t already earned two nominations in the category. One famous composer does get a nomination however – Thomas Newman for his score to PASSENGERS. He has previously had fourteen other nominations for his music, for films including THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and SKYFALL.
Editor prediction: JACKIE
All films listed henceforth have already been nominated multiple times, and it is expected that the film that wins in this category goes on to win Best Picture. The nominees are ARRIVAL by Denis Villeneuve, HACKSAW RIDGE by Mel Gibson, LA LA LAND by Damien Chazelle, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA by Kenneth Lonergan and MOONLIGHT by Barry Jenkins.
Editor prediction: KENNETH LONERGAN – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Best Actress in a Leading Role
The film LOVING, about interracial marriages in court history, receives its first and only nomination in this high-profile category for Ruth Negga’s portrayal of Mildred Loving. The same can be said for the film ELLE, where Isabelle Huppert claims the film’s only nomination for her depiction of Michele Leblanc. The other nominations are rather more predictable – Natalie Portman playing the titular character in JACKIE, Meryl Streep playing the titular character in FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS and Emma Stone as Mia in LA LA LAND.
Editor prediction: NATALIE PORTMAN – JACKIE
Best Actor in a Leading Role
The surprise nomination in this category goes to Viggo Mortensen for his role as Ben Cash, an alternative-style father, in CAPTAIN FANTASTIC which came out very early in 2016. Again the other nominations were to be expected – Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson in FENCES, Ryan Gosling as Sebastian in LA LA LAND and Andrew Garfield as Desmond T. Doss in HACKSAW RIDGE.
Editor prediction: CASEY AFFLECK – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
The final category, and without a doubt the most prestigious, also has the most nominations. The first is ARRIVAL, about a linguist who becomes involved in an effort to attempt to contact aliens that land on earth. HACKSAW RIDGE, a biographical piece, is about a Seventh-day Adventist who became the first conscientious objector to win a medal of honor as his role as a medic in World War II. FENCES, set in the 1950s, follows a man trying and failing to control his family and his life. HELL OR HIGH WATER shows detectives trying to halt some bank robberies that happen in the old west. HIDDEN FIGURES is a biographical piece about African American women who worked for NASA in the 1950s. LA LA LAND is a musical about dreams and romance in world of show business and Los Angeles. LION follows a man trying to reconnect with a past that he lost when he was adopted and left India. MOONLIGHT, set in Miami, chronicles a young black man growing older and coming to terms with his identity. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA follows a man having to connect with a family after a big burden is placed on him.
Editor prediction: MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
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