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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Oscar Nominees: Snubs and Surprises

Every year has them and this one is no different. Here are the biggest snubs and surprises from this morning's nomination announcements:

Surprise: Ruth Negga for Best Actress

It was a particularly crowded field this year in the Best Actress race and the fact that Ruth Negga was left off the Screen Actors Guild's list of the year's best, in combination with the fact that Loving seemed to find so little traction generally this awards season, made it look she would be one of 2016's worthy also-rans. Instead she made the cut in a field that includes Natalie Portman for Jackie, Emma Stone for La La Land, Isabelle Huppert for Elle, and Meryl Streep netting her 20th nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins.

Snub: Amy Adams for Best Actress

... But Negga's gain is Amy Adams' loss, as despite earning nominations for all the major awards leading up to this one, and being second only to Natalie Portman in the way that her performance basically is the film (which, incidentally, is nominated for Best Picture), she failed to make the cut. Adams had also been receiving some notice for Nocturnal Animals, so maybe this is a case of two strong performances from one actor splitting their vote and resulting in them being left out.

Snub: Hugh Grant for Best Supporting Actor

Hugh Grant gave what is arguably his best performance to date as the protective husband in Florence Foster Jenkins. AMPAS liked the film enough to nominate it in 3 other categories, but somehow Grant failed to make the final ballot in a field that seemed more or less wide open for nominations, thanks to the dominance of nominee Mahershala Ali in the precursor awards.

Surprise: Mel Gibson for Best Director

How fitting that this would be the year that Hollywood would welcome Mel "If you get raped by a pack of n***ers, it will be your fault" Gibson back from the wilderness.

Surprise: Michael Shannon for Best Supporting Actor

I haven't seen Nocturnal Animals, but I'm a fan of Michael Shannon, a consistently interesting and very skilled actor, to say nothing of hard working: in 2016 alone he's credited with appearing in 10 films.

Surprise/Snub: The Original Song Lineup

I suppose it shouldn't really surprise me that the people who last year gave the Best Original Song trophy to the worst possible option among its nominees would this year nominate "Can't Stop the Feeling," the most ubiquitous and annoying song of 2016. But to nominate that and not nominate Pharrell Williams' "Runnin'" from Hidden Figures (or nominate Williams in the Original Score category)? There's no accounting for taste, I suppose.

Snub: The Dressmaker for Best Costume Design

One word: Insanity!

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