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The 89th Academy Awards Nominees

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Forever immortalized in the annals of Oscar.

Well, let’s see how I did.

Best Picture:

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester By the Sea
  • Moonlight

All 8 of the nominees I assumed I would happen, and one of the alternates (which happens to be the best of the nominees). 9/9 so far.

No surprises here. Nocturnal Animals was a long shot, as would anything else have been.

I’ll break these down more thoroughly when I predict the winners. For now I’m just giving my immediate thoughts.

Best Director:

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

I got 4/5. They actually went with Gibson!

I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. I just really hoped Tom Ford would get it. I figured if it wasn’t him, it’d be Garth Davis or David Mackenzie.

Best Actor:

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester By the Sea
  • Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land
  • Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington, Fences


There wasn’t a really strong 6th man by this point. It was pretty clearly going to be these 5. Which is fine. I’m not wild about Garfield or Mortensen, but Affleck (creep though he may be) and Washington absolutely belong here.

Best Actress:

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Ruth Negga, Loving
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Emma Stone, La La Land
  • Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

4/5. Which I imagine a lot of people will be.

I’m so fucking glad they managed not to fuck over Isabelle Huppert. I hope she wins, but this is like when Mad Max got into Best Picture; as long as it’s in, I’m happy.

Ruth Negga gets in, which is cool. But did anyone expect that she would get on over Amy Adams? Especially since Arrival had such a strong showing otherwise? You’d think it would make more sense to bump Streep instead (though I do love Streep in this film).

So I figure that’s going to be most people’s big upset of the day. And it’s not even that big a one at that.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea
  • Dev Patel, Lion
  • Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

3/5. But I’m okay with that.

Well, I’m not okay with Hugh Grant getting bumped. Hedges was fine and all, but Grant was so fucking good in Florence. I wonder if category confusion screwed him over.

On the other hand, I’m delighted with Michael Shannon getting on over Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He most certainly deserves it.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Viola Davis, Fences
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman, Lion
  • Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester By the Sea


Like with lead Actor, there wasn’t a likely 6th actress here. Not given what the precursors had shown us.

I got 17/20 for the acting categories. Feeling pretty good so far. I got 14/20 last year, so I’m doing better.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • The Lobster
  • Manchester By the Sea
  • 20th Century Women

I got 4/5, and I fully admit I messed up.

I didn’t realize that Loving was getting pushed Adapted. Had I known that…I don’t know. I don’t know if I’d predicted 20th Century Women or not. It doesn’t surprise me.

But The Lobster is here, and so my frustrations melt away.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hidden Figures
  • Lion
  • Moonlight

4/5 again.

I’m honestly kind of shocked Nocturnal Animals missed here. I’m glad Fences got the extra love, however.

Also, no Deadpool, for anyone who thought that was going to happen.

38/44 for the main categories. I had 33/43 last year.

Best Cinematography:

  • Arrival
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Silence


I probably should have guessed Lion. But I was expecting a much stronger showing for Nocturnal Animals than we got. That’s on me, though.

And hey, Silence got something. (It’s been tanking horribly at the box office.)

Best Editing:

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • La La Land
  • Moonlight


Though, I figured Hacksaw Ridge was likely to happen. I just didn’t think Manchester By the Sea would be the one bumped for Hell or High Water (which seemed like it would get on).

Not that Manchester needed to be here, but I was banking on the Academy just automatically picking the big contenders here.

Best Production Design:

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • La La Land
  • Passengers

2/5. Woof.

I was dumb to assume Hacksaw Ridge would get on over ArrivalHail, Caesar! isn’t a big surprise, either, since it got the BAFTA nod.

But fucking Passengers? Who saw that coming? (It got an Art Directors Guild nomination, but I figured the bad press would nudge it out of the running.)

Best Costume Design:

  • Allied
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jackie
  • La La Land


I figured they would go a little rogue and put The Dressmaker on over Fantastic Beasts. Not so.

did figure on Allied happening, however. Does that mean I ought to see it?

(No one else did.)

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

0/3. Holy shit, I missed the ball on this one.

This is the most unpredictable category, to be fair. But I really didn’t see Ove happening at all. Star Trek was totally merited. Suicide Squad was a solid choice; the makeup is the best thing about that fucking movie.

But I really thought Deadpool and Florence Foster Jenkins would be here. Especially Deadpool. 

That’s this category for you.

Best Score:

  • Jackie
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Moonlight
  • Passengers


Because…Passengers. Again. (I guess I need to see it?)

That said, I’m really glad they got Mica Levi on here. I figured they would, but it’s nice when they don’t screw up.

Best Song:

  • “Audition (Fools Who Dream)”, La La Land
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, Trolls
  • “City of Stars”, La La Land
  • “The Empty Chair”, Jim: The James Foley Story
  • “How Far I’ll Go”, Moana


The three I expected to see here got on. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” had a Globe nomination (and a bit of buzz, as I recall). And I’m not surprised they nominated a random documentary here – that’s been happening a decent amount of late (and the guy who wrote “The Empty Chair” was nominated last year).

Best Sound Mixing:

  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Rogue One
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi


Didn’t figure 13 Hours would happen. Not all that shocked (well, besides by the fact that a January release got on here), but that makes three nominated films that I haven’t seen (the others being Allied and Passengers).

Best Sound Editing:

  • Arrival
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • La La Land
  • Sully


Woah, they actually did it.

There was a lot of debate as to whether La La Land would get this and actually match the all-time nomination record. And it did! I have no fucking idea how, but it did!

At least Deepwater Horizon and Sully are here. I didn’t love either of them, but they both had good sound design. So good for them.

Best Visual Effects:

  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One


Wait…Arrival isn’t here? How the fuck did that happen? This branch is getting strange.

Cool that Kubo‘s here, though. Only the second time an animated film has made it on. I guess the fact that it was short-listed at all put it in a good position to get on.

Deepwater is a bit of a surprise, but the effects there were really good, so I’m not complaining.

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • Land of Mine (Denmark)
  • A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
  • The Salesman (Iran)
  • Tanna (Australia)
  • Toni Erdmann (Germany)

4/5. They went with Tanna over The King’s Choice, which is fine by me.

Best Animated Feature:

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia


They’ve been nominating more foreign and hand-made films of late, and I figured that would be reflected in this year’s line-up. Sorry about Finding Dory, but I just didn’t see it happening.

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Fire at Sea
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Life, Animated
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • 13th


I Am Not Your Negro isn’t too much of an upset. And Fire at Sea is timely.

Pissed that Weiner didn’t get on, but this category is pretty infamous for such shenanigans.

All right, math time.

I predicted 81 nominees correctly out of 107.

81/107 = 75.7%. I got 75.4% last year. So I’m holding about steady.

I predicted Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, and Animated Feature perfectly. (I got Actor and Supporting Actress correctly last year, as well.)

I only got less than 3/5 twice: Production Design and Makeup & Hairstyling.

I correctly predicted the total number of nominations for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Manchester By the Sea, Moana, and Moonlight.

I correctly predicted what nominations Moana and Moonlight would receive. (Fantastic Beasts got Costume Design instead of Visual Effects, and Manchester got Supporting Actor instead of Editing.)

Additional Thoughts:

  • Very few overt surprises. Outside of the Amy Adams snub, the only real surprises were in the tech categories, but nothing that would cause most prognosticators to lose sleep.
  • Nocturnal Animals got only one nomination. Given the mixed reception, that shouldn’t be considered too much of a surprise. I figured it would still make it into Adapted Screenplay, but Fences is an entirely acceptable and understandable choice.
  • Deadpool got shut out. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I figured a well-liked film that got some major nominations would get recognized somewhere. It’s actually the first PGA nominee ever to be completely shut out.
  • #OscarsSoWhite? Not this time. Not when we have one Best Picture nominee with no white characters at all (Moonlight) and another with just one white character who has a single minor line (Fences). Add in Hidden Figures and Lion, and you’ve got a very diverse set of nominees.
  • Only three of the Best Picture nominees were distributed by major studios: Arrival and Fences were released by Paramount, and Hidden Figures was released by 20th Century Fox.
  • Instead, we have two films from Summit Entertainment (Hacksaw Ridge and La La Land), one from The Weinstein Company (Lion), one from A24 (Moonlight), and two films co-distributed by multiple companies: Hell or High Water (CBS Films and Lionsgate) and Manchester By the Sea (Roadside Attractions and Amazon Studios).
  • Denis Villeneuve is the only non-American-born Best Director nominee (he’s Canadian).
  • La La Land ties the all-time record for nominations with 14, tying with with All About Eve and Titanic. It’s the only one of the three to get nominated for both Best Actor and Best Actress.
  • Lion is the only nominee not about an American-born protagonist. It’s also the only nominee with no scenes set on American soil.
  • Fences and Hacksaw Ridge tie for the longest Best Picture nominees, at 139 minutes each. Hell or High Water is the shortest, at 102 minutes.
  • O.J.: Made in America, at 467 minutes*, is almost certainly the longest film ever nominated for an Academy Award.
  • While your definition of the genre(s) may vary, as far as I’m concerned this is the ninth consecutive year where at least one Best Picture nominee has fantasy or science-fiction elements.
  • Three films got nominated for Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Editing: Arrival, La La Land, and Moonlight.
  • I have once again seen every Best Picture nominee before the nominations were announced. And I’ve seen every acting nominee for the second year in a row.
  • The BFG is only the third Steven Spielberg film of the millennium to receive no Oscar nominations, the others being The Terminal and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • Oh, something I didn’t catch earlier: four of the Best Director nominees are first-time nominees (for directing, at least). Mel Gibson, of course, won Best Director for Braveheart.
  • Seven of the acting nominees are first-timers as well: Mahershala Ali, Andrew Garfield, Naomie Harris, Lucas Hedges, Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, and Dev Patel.
  • Denzel Washington is the first director to direct himself to an acting nomination since 2004, when Clint Eastwood was nominated for Million Dollar Baby.
  • Seven of the acting nominees played real people, compared to 10-12 last year (depending on if you count Jennifer Lawrence in Joy and Tom Hardy in The Revenant).

I’m gonna call that good.

I’ve got another week or so (I may give myself an extension, we’ll see) to watch and rank films before I start putting together my own awards and best/worst lists. Once those are taken care of, I’ll wrap up whatever else needs wrapping up, and after the Oscars themselves are announced on Sunday, February 26, that’ll be it for 2016.

Then it begins all over again.

*478 if you include the credits for all 5 episodes, which were presumably omitted when the film was shown in theaters.



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