Oscar Nominations: Snubs and Surprises
Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the list of 2017 Academy Award nominations. The obvious contenders (La La Land and Moonlight) received fourteen and eight nominations, respectively, while some less prominent films (Silence, Nocturnal Animals) were shut out of major categories. Meryl Streep got nominated for Best Actress over Amy Adams, Suicide Squad is now an Oscar-nominated film, and much more was revealed. Let’s begin!
Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures)
Hidden Figures was a good, safe movie. I didn’t find it particularly stunning, but I fell in love with Taraji P. Henson’s portrayal of Katherine Johnson. She plays the role with such confidence and conveys so much emotion. The film is a critical and commercial success that has amassed $81 million in domestic box office so far. The fact that Octavia Spencer got nominated for her fifteen minutes of screen time over Henson’s poignant and passionate performance baffles me.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)
I’m happy that Michael Shannon got nominated for Nocturnal Animals. I’m over the moon. His role was filled with mystery and despair in the name of the law – and he owned it. However, seeing that Aaron Taylor-Johnson was nominated (and won) the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his HAUNTING performance in this movie, I would have thought an Oscar nom was a given. He also gave arguably the best performance in that movie. Nonetheless, I’m glad the film got some recognition.
Martin Scorsese (Silence)
Silence is a beautiful film. Clocking in at just under three hours, the religious epic starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver is about two Christian missionaries traveling to Japan during a time when Christianity was outlawed. Silence is Martin Scorsese’s passion project; a story he’s wanted to tell for years, and it was completely ignored by the Academy (sans a well-deserved Cinematography nod).
Amy Adams (Arrival)
Over the years, Amy Adams has amassed five Oscar nominations without securing a win. In 2016, she gave two incredible performances in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals. I’ll omit Nocturnal Animals from my Best Actress complaints simply because Arrival was given a more heavy awards campaign. The fact that Meryl Streep [presumably] took Adams’ place in the Best Actress category for a less-than-average film (Florence Foster Jenkins) is very unfortunate.
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
After a decade of Mel Gibson being shunned/blacklisted by Hollywood elites, Academy Members could not deny how incredible Hacksaw Ridge was, giving him a Best Director nod. The film tells the true story of Army Medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) who saved 75 men in Okinawa without firing a single shot. Beating out directors like Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee and Denzel Washington is no easy feat, but Gibson managed to do so.
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Meryl Streep is an incredible actress, but you already knew that. Some consider her to be the greatest living actress, having garnered twenty Oscar nominations over her career. Unfortunately, it seems that the Academy nominates her with a blind eye the past decade or so. In 2010, she received a Best Actress nomination for the mediocre Julie & Julia. In 2014, she was nominated for the unremarkable August: Osage County. In 2015, she was nominated for Into the Woods for some reason. Now, in 2017, she’s been nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins, where she plays a a New York heiress who dreams of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. There’s nothing particularly wrong with her performance, but when you look at Amy Adams in Arrival or Taraji P. Henson in Hidden Figures, you have to sit and wonder why the Academy doesn’t pass the baton to more deserving roles.
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
This is one nomination that I genuinely didn’t see coming. If anything, Ben Foster should have been nominated for his role. However, I’m just glad that Hell or High Water got four Oscar noms (including Best Picture). Jeff Bridges was fitting as a subdued police officer in Texas on his last assignment – he shines brightest in the final five minutes.
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