Well, it’s Christmastime for pop culture nerds – the Oscar nominations are here, and to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the three of us have some FEELINGS about this. Join Brian, Ben & Nina as they shed a tear for poor Amy Adams and shake their fists at Florence Foster Jenkins (although that’s really just Ben).
Nina: Hey, guys, remember last year when the Oscars were only white people?! HOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED, MY FRIENDS. We’ve got Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Fences & Lion, all movies starring non-white actors, represented in Best Picture, and actors like Denzel, Viola, Dev Patel, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer, and Mahershala Ali hanging out in the Acting categories. Not bad, Hollywood. Not bad at all.
Brian: YES! I’m soooo happy! Not only were these stunning performances by actors of color recognized with nominations, but a few of them have legitimate shots at taking home the gold. There are no tokens here. Moonlight also landed the first nomination for an African-American female editor Joi McMillon. The only real hashtag outcry we can levy at this year’s Academy Awards is #OscarsSoLaLa. 14 Nominations?!?!? REALLY?!?!?! I love La La Land, but damn.
Nina: Remember The Artist?! (Correct answer: no.) Hollywood loves movies that are about fucking movies. They LOVE it when people talk about the ~*~magic of film~*~ because, you know, circle-jerks. Whatever. The bigger issue is going to be is if one of La La Land’s songs beats Lin-Manuel Miranda, which is going to prevent him from being the youngest AND fastest person to win an EGOT (actually, for real, a MacPEGOT) and send me into a BLIND FUCKING RAGE.
Brian: Speaking of flames on the sides of our faces… AMY ADAMS WAS NOT NOMINATED FOR ARRIVAL! I’m definitely NOT hyperbolizing when I say this is one of the most scathing snubs EVER! This year’s awards could also be dubbed #OscarsSoMeryl because, in landing her TWENTIETH nomination, she stole the chance for glory from Amy and Amy’s fellow never-winner Annette Bening for 20th Century Women. Florence Foster Jenkins was a delightful romp with some hilarious and heartfelt moments, but let’s be real and call it what it is… “Julie and Julia: The Musical.”
Nina: I’m also admittedly a little frustrated by the complete lack of Deadpool love after its surprise showing at the Golden Globes, and I guess my feeling was that if Johnny Depp can get nominated for Jack Sparrow then Ryan Reynolds, this year’s Comeback Kid, can get nominated for playing Deadpool, but whatever. (Can’t wait for Ryan Phillippe to weigh in on the eternal Ryan debate again.) There are some tight races happening here, though. Adapted Screenplay is one powerhouse after another, Lead Actress has some great contenders, Lead Actor will likely come down to Affleck vs. Washington, and literally nobody is beating Viola Davis. No one. Nobody.
Brian: Who would’ve ever fucking guessed that of all the superhero blockbusters that came out last year that Suicide Squad would be the ONLY one to score a nomination? That’s right, zilch for the much more highly regarded flicks Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War. Hilarious. But … low key… I predict that Suicide Squad is going to take the award for Make-up/Hairstyling. BOOM.
Ben: Sorry guys, got in late, what did I miss…. oh, lots of yelling, good good! Well, I’m thrilled for the movies that got some love sneaking into the mix. The Lobster and 20th Century Women each getting Original Screenplay noms is a treat, and I’ve yet to see Nocturnal Animals, but there’s never not a good reason to invite Michael Shannon to the party. And poor Martin Scorsese – Silence has been his white whale of a movie, and it’s supposed to be a marvel, but it snuck in way too late to really grab the Oscar voters’ attention outside of a lone Cinematography nom. It’s all about timing, y’all. Also, for the record: fuck Mel Gibson. I don’t know why the Academy has somehow wiped his slate clean for his misogynist anti-semitic ways *cough cough white man cough cough* but it goes to show how much the Academy cares about ethics I guess. Weeeeee.
Brian: On the other side of the spectrum of doing the right thing, it looks like the Academy could be ready to reward the amazing talents of Ava DuVernay after denying her a Directing nomination for Selma years ago. I haven’t watched her Netflix documentary 13th yet, but it has outstanding word of mouth. Riding the tidal wave of acclaim heaped on the similarly themed/named FX miniseries, OJ: Made in America is the frontrunner for Best Documentary Feature at the moment. But it’s also almost seven hours long. The Academy is known for a lot, but its attention span is not one of those things.
Nina: I have seen zero documentaries in my entire fucking life basically. Just a heads up.
Ben: I really hope the pendulum swings in 13th’s direction, it’s a stellar work and one of the most powerful films from last year, documentary or otherwise. But yeah, OJ has a hell of a lot of buzz, so it might be hard to slow down that Bronco. Either way, very strong contenders in this category.
Brian: And it looks like Zootopia (the La La Land of animated films) is easily going to triumph over the same red turtle, Polynesian princess, and freaking zucchini it’s been up against all awards season.
Ben: And Kubo and the Two Strings, which I guess is the Moonlight of animated films because it’s better than all the other nominees even though it likely isn’t going to win?
Brian: Oooh, burn! Oscar clearly doesn’t ever enjoy the work of the always-the-bridesmaid animation studio Laika enough to give it a win, but it’s impressive that Kubo edged out Finding Dory, Sing, and…Trolls, I guess.
Nina: Yeah, is this the first year without a Pixar showing in Animated? I haven’t seen Moana but I think we all know I’m weirdly invested in my boy Lin – that being said, Zootopia’s messages encouraging inclusion and against racism are pretty on-the-nose these days, so that might give it a slight edge.
Brian: Before we go, I also want to shout out Jackie. This meticulous and moody movie was one of my favorites of the year. We all knew it would be in contention for Best Actress and Costume Design, but I was thrilled to see Mica Levi nominated for her unorthodox original score. That category is one of La La Land’s surest bets (for composer Justin Hurwitz), but it’s also one of the most artistically stacked.
Ben: As has been stated before, it’s exciting to see the diverse inclusion of so many great nominees this year. I only hope this isn’t just some “fluke” year and this continues into the future, where we won’t have to bring that ole #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. I’m still content with #OscarsSoMelGibson though.
Nina: Yeah, lotta bad dudes being “forgiven” for shitty behavior this year (note that scandal took down Nate Parker and Birth of a Nation but Gibson and Affleck are still hanging around and Parker fully deserved his backlash and subsequent smackdown but just consider the difference here and okay end rant), but a lot of badass actresses and non-white stories are giving me life this Oscar season. We’ll be covering the lead up to the awards with best picture profiles, week-of predictions, and more!