The 89th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will honor the best films of 2016 and will take place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California on February 26, 2017. During the ceremony, AMPAS will present Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories.
The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards were announced on January 24, 2017, via global live stream from the Academy. LA LA LAND received the most nominations with a record-tying fourteen (1950’s All About Eve and 1997’s Titanic also achieved this distinction); Arrival and Moonlight came in second with eight apiece.
At the time of the nominations announcement on January 24, 2017, the combined gross of the nine Best Picture nominees at the North American box offices was $483.8 million, with an average of $53.8 million per film.
The previous two years, the awards had come under scrutiny for the lack of diversity among the nominees in major categories, which included no actors of color being nominated. After the nominees for the 89th Awards were announced on January 24, many media outlets noted the diversity of the nominations, which included a record-tying seven minority actors and a record-setting six black actors.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who is nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film for The Salesman, was revealed to initially be unable to attend the ceremony due to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. He boycotted the event saying, “I have decided to not attend the Academy Awards ceremony alongside my fellow members of the cinematic community.”
As the final preparations take place, here’s what to look out for in the main battles.
La La Land
The real tension in “La La Land” is between ambition and love, and perhaps the most up-to-date thing about it is the way it explores that ancient conflict. It’s an elating ramble of a movie, ardent and full of feeling, passionate but also exquisitely controlled.
A genre-defying film. Its visual splendor belies its tough, surface-level subject matter, while the performances pull us deep below that surface with their soulful naturalism. Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Moonlight is its open-endedness, its resistance to easy summary or categorization.
This drama about a trio of African-American women doing maths wonders for NASA has few subtleties, but is done with such verve it’s hard to dislike. Henson, Spencer, and Monáe’s stellar performances propel this feel-good biographical drama that teaches audiences about a little-known aspect of NASA’s history. It is the highest grossing of the best picture nominees!
Emma Stone (La La Land)
If La La Land is to sweep the board, then it will sweep Emma Stone along with it. She’s also at ‘that’ age, and that stage of her career, at which the Academy likes to admit female stars to its A list.
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Isabelle Anne Madeleine Huppert is a French actress who has appeared in more than 100 films and television productions since her debut in 1971. There’s a strong contingent that thinks the Oscars should give her the credit she deserves for her 40-year career.
Natalie Portman (Jackie)
The Academy loves stars who transform themselves into real-life legends, as Portman has with former US first lady Jackie Kennedy. But Jackie has under performed at the box office and elsewhere in the Oscar nominations. Fingers crossed!
Denzel Washington (Fences)
Denzel is probably the marginal favorite in this race. If he wins, he will become only the fourth man to have won three acting Oscars, and will be the oldest best actor winner for 25 years.
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the sea)
It’s a close call, and Casey is still very much in contention for his depiction of pent-up grief. But he has slipped back, partly because he’s hardly charmed the campaign circuit, and partly because of a shadow cast by sexual harassment claims dating back to 2010.
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
If Ryan Gosling wins best actor, then La La Land really will be sweeping everything before it. Haha..
Damian Chazelle (La La Land)
La La Land is so beloved by the Academy that they’re likely to reward Chazelle’s vision and audacity – and the fact he’s made a film like this at the age of 32. He would be the youngest best director winner in Oscars history.
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
Barry Jenkins is an American director and writer based in Los Angeles, known for his films Medicine for Melancholy and Moonlight. Moonlight received dozens of accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture – Drama. Next stop OSCAR?!
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
It would be a big statement to give the award to the Australian after his exile from Hollywood following notorious Anti-Semitic, Racist and Misogynist outbursts. But then again, the Oscars did give this award to Roman Polanski in 2003, despite his own Hollywood exile after admitting unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.
How many Oscars will La La Land win?
The magical musical has a record-equalling 14 nominations. That includes two for best song – meaning it can win a maximum of 13 statuettes.
The hype has cooled a little, so La La Land will do well if it gets into double digits. It’s the favourite in 10 of the 13 categories in which it has nominations – the only ones in which it isn’t frontrunner are best actor, original screenplay and sound editing.
The most Diverse Oscar Ever?
After two years of #OscarsSoWhite, in which there were no non-white acting nominees, three of the four acting trophies could go to black actors this year.
If Denzel, Viola and Mahershala all triumph, it will be the first time that black performers will be in the majority when the four acting winners get together for that post-Oscars photo hug.
PEGOT? (Pulitzer Prize, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award)
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the Broadway smash Hamilton, currently has a PEGT – he’s just missing an O. He’s nominated for best song for How Far I’ll Go from Moana.
La La Land is hot favourite for that prize, of course. But could the fact it has two nominations in that category split the La La vote and let Lin-Manuel sneak in to complete the set?!
21st time lucky for Oscar’s biggest loser?
Sound recording engineer Kevin O’Connell notched up his 21st Oscar nomination this year for his sound mixing work on Hacksaw Ridge.That’s a great achievement – the shine only coming off it slightly when you consider the fact he’s never won.
This could be his year. It could. Except La La Land is standing in his way. So it won’t.
At the nominees’ luncheon group photo this year, the Academy placed him in the middle, next to the giant Oscars statuette – and the face he made shows he’s past caring.
Who will mention Donald Trump?
A lot of people, probably, directly or indirectly. 😛
That’s all. Enjoy the night! 🙂