The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26, 43 days from today.

The award nominations that matter
On Tuesday, the Producers Guild of America announced the 10 movies up for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, their equivalent of Best Picture. Nominations went to Arrival, Deadpool, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight. Over each of the last two years, seven of the eight eventual Best Picture nominees made it on the PGA list. (In 2015, Room was not on the PGA list and Ex Machina, Sicario and Straight Outta Compton did not make the Oscars cut; in 2014, Selma missed the PGA and Foxcatcher, Gone Girl and Nightcrawler missed the Oscar nom.) This is potentially good news for Silence, Sully, Nocturnal Animals and Loving and bad news for people that expect Deadpool to score a Best Picture nomination.

Also on Tuesday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced their nominations. La La Land led the field with 11 nominations, followed by Arrival and Nocturnal Animals with nine. The nominees are listed below. Note again that there were no nominations for Silence or Sully, and heavyweights Fences and Hidden Figures scored one nod apiece (for Viola Davis and screenplay, respectively).

Best Film
– I, Daniel Blake
– La La Land
– Manchester by the Sea

– Moonlight

Best Director
– Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
– Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake)
– Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
– Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
– Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals)

(Notable omissions: Barry Jenkins for Moonlight)
Best Actor
– Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
– Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
– Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
– Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
– Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
(Notable omissions: Denzel Washington in Fences, Joel Edgerton in Loving)
Best Actress
– Amy Adams (Arrival)
– Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)
– Emma Stone (La La Land)
– Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
– Natalie Portman (Jackie)
(Notable omissions: Annette Bening in 20th Century Women, Ruth Negga in Loving. Isabelle Huppert in Elle could not be nominated because her movie came out too late.)
Best Supporting Actor
– Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)
– Dev Patel (Lion)
– Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins)
– Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
– Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
(Notable omissions: Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea)
Best Supporting Actress
– Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)
– Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
– Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
– Nicole Kidman (Lion)
– Viola Davis (Fences)

(Notable omissions: Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures)

According to the Hollywood Reporter, BAFTA and the Academy are around the same size and have around 500 overlapping members; there is reason to believe their selections will be at least moderately in line with the eventual Oscar nominations. However, here are three reasons for skepticism: (1) last year’s Best Picture, Spotlight, received just three BAFTA nominations and was not even nominated for Best Director there (Moonlight did not receive a Best Director nomination this year), (2) neither Morgan Freeman nor Denzel Washington, who have a combined three Oscar wins and 11 Oscar nominations, have ever been nominated for a BAFTA and (3) British people call orange juice pulp “juicy bits.”

Finally, on Thursday, the Directors Guild of America announced their five Best Director nominees: La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle, Lion‘s Garth Davis, Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins, Manchester by the Sea‘s Kenneth Lonergan and Arrival‘s Denis Villeneuve. The major surprise was the inclusion of Davis, who was off most pundits’ lists. (Oscar bloggers were predicting Hell or High Water‘s David Mackenzie, Hacksaw Ridge‘s Mel Gibson or Silence‘s Martin Scorsese.) All five are first-time nominees (which, according to Mark Harris, hasn’t happened since 1999), and all are relatively young (Chazelle is 31 and poised to be the youngest-ever Best Director winner; Jenkins is 27, Davis is unknowably old but probably young, Villeneuve is 49 and Lonergan is 54).

Only one time since Best Picture expanded to 10 nominees in 2009 has a film earned a DGA nomination and not gone on to get a Best Picture nomination — The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011. So, it’s a pretty safe bet that we will see Arrival, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight announced on the 24th. There is also a healthy track record for DGA nominees to go on to get nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Over the last 15 years, four or more DGA nominees have earned an Oscar nod 12 times. (Most recently, The Martian’s Ridley Scott was switched out for Room’s Lenny Abrahamson.)


The Golden Globes

On Sunday, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association hosted its annual Golden Globe awards. Over the course of the night, La La Land won seven awards, helped in part by the “Musical/Comedy” category within which it lacked any serious competition. It nabbed the awards for best picture, best director (Damien Chazelle), best actor (Ryan Gosling), best actress (Emma Stone), best screenplay (Chazelle), best original score and best original song (“City of Stars”), setting a Golden Globes record surpassing the six won by Midnight Express and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (which both won awards for a category — acting debut — that no longer exists). It’s worth noting that no film has won more than four Globes since 1979 and musicals only rarely win screenplay awards, so this win is incredibly impressive. As Oscar voting is underway, it’s a nice show of support for the film, though it’s unlikely it will have much of an impact, as Oscar voters were sure to see and support La La Land regardless of what happened at the Globes.

Moonlight took home the Globe for Best Picture – Drama, the first film from a black filmmaker serving as both writer and director to win that award. Though it was its only win, it earned the only non Meryl Streep standing ovation of the night. Rounding out the major award winners, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Isabelle Huppert (Elle) won the lead actor awards for drama and, on the supporting side, Viola Davis (Fences) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals) took home awards of their own.

Taylor-Johnson’s award was the biggest surprise of the night. Over the course of awards season, he had largely been ignored by critics and disregarded by pundits. His Globes nomination came as a bit of a shock, as many suspected the love would go toward co-star Michael Shannon, though it was not necessarily undeserved. (In a Vulture article “Thank You, Golden Globes, for Recognizing How Great Aaron Taylor-Johnson Was in Nocturnal Animals,” the author wrote that “while Taylor-Johnson’s performance as Marcus is the latest in a thriving tradition of British actors playing people from the American South — see practically the whole cast of 12 Years a Slave — it’s also the first part he’s gotten since his early breakout to really showcase his specific talents.”) Exposure at the Golden Globes can only help Taylor-Johnson, though the Hollywood Reporter notes that he might well join a very small group of people who, since 2000, won a Globe but then weren’t even nominated for an Oscar: George Clooney for O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Renee Zellweger for Nurse Betty (2000), Gene Hackman for The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Richard Gere for Chicago (2002), Sacha Baron Cohen for Borat (2006), Colin Farrell for In Bruges (2008), Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Robert Downey, Jr. for Sherlock Holmes (2009), Paul Giamatti for Barney’s Version (2010), and Amy Adams for Big Eyes (2014). (It’s worth noting here that all of those performances were for lead actor or actress in a musical/comedy, rather than the supporting side, which is not broken out by drama vs. musical/comedy.)

Other highlights included Jimmy Fallon’s dig on Manchester by the Sea (“You might remember Manchester By the Sea as the most depressing movie of 2016, and the only thing more depressing than 2016.”), the opening for Best Animated Feature by Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell, people calling Hidden Figures by the title Hidden Fences, Sunny Pawar being adorable and the anti-Trump speech by Meryl Streep that launched a culture war.

To conclude, though, I turn to the Seattle Times: “The Golden Globes, coming this Sunday and sure to be filled with boozy speeches and questionable fashion choices, are an annual rite of the movie-awards season. They are, however, not to be confused with actual awards that mean something.”

Spotlight on sucky Oscar voters

Members of the Academy have only one job. They have to watch movies and then vote on them. They are relatively good at the latter and not so hot on the former. Every year, they complain that there are too many movies to see and then just don’t watch a handful of them. The first hurdle for a film to get nominated for an Oscar is for enough Academy members to even watch their movie.

This year, with nominations ending today, has the latest due-date in recent memory. (Last year’s voting period ended on January 8.) Has it helped?


An article in the Hollywood Reporter details the plight of Oscar voters with too many movies to watch:

“There are just way too many movies this cycle that opened at the very end of the year, so I’ve ended up scrambling to see everything I need to see,” says Michael Barker. “I’m having a big difficulty, which I normally don’t. I just think there are many more movies that people are recommending this year that need to be seen.””It’s been overwhelming, I have to tell you,” adds Rabbi Marvin Hier. “There was an overwhelming amount of good films this year, and it’s been almost physically impossible to watch all of the ones that are in the running. Maybe part of the problem is that we’ve all been so distracted by the 24/7 coverage of the presidential election, but even with that I was busy doing my best to turn off the television and fulfill my obligations.”

Barry Morrow says, “Every year I have trouble keeping up — many years I don’t vote because I haven’t seen enough movies in time and careers are on the line and it’s just not fair to — and this year is even more daunting than most. It feels like there was suddenly a deluge at the end of it. You do your best to catch up, but if anything in your personal life happens, you end up really behind. Unless you are retired, you can’t do it. I think the process is broken.”

Guys, I’ve seen 37 movies that came out in 2016 and I have a full-time job. If someone mailed me movies, I would watch more. Try harder.


Funny quotes of the week:

– On La La Land winning best score over Arrival: “Whatever, guys. I like Jóhannsson glorified bwaaamps as much as the next moviegoer, but La La Land deserved it more.”

– On Manchester by the Sea director Kenneth Lonergan: “Kenneth Lonergan is proud of his movie. Kenneth Lonergan is trying really hard to be genial. Kenneth Lonergan is all of us if we were forced to take part in the never-ending circus of celebrity culture. Kenneth Lonergan would like to go now, please.”

La La Land news:

  • La La Land and Emma Stone: Vox argues that La La Land actually has a poorly written female lead, but no one notices because Emma Stone is too good at acting.
  • La La Land and its songwriters: Songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and La La Land collaborators Damien Chazelle and Justin Hurwitz are all basically doppelgänger best friends at this point. This Vulture article talks through how they first met and bonded over “a shared adoration for the same strain of musical theater — ‘MGM classic musicals and the Alan Menken–Howard Ashman Disney musicals, and Sondheim and all that stuff.'” (You know, A Little Mermaid Night Music.)
  • La La Land and how no one wanted to make it: The recent boost in momentum La La Land has gained from the BAFTA noms and Golden Globes makes it hard to remember when it wasn’t a frontrunner. This Vulture article looks into the difficult time Chazelle had in bringing his passion project to fruition.
  • La La Land and feminism: According to AwardsDaily, if La La Land wins Best Picture, it will the first winner since Million Dollar Baby to even receive a Best Actress nomination.

Other news:

  • Manchester by the $$$ea: Manchester by the Sea has currently made $34 million at the box office so far, the highest of any Sundance film this year. It is poised to overtake last year Sundance champ Brooklyn ($38 million) and become the highest-grossing film to come out of Sundance since Precious in 2009.
  • Do we take Tom Hanks for granted? Yes. Dude hasn’t been nominated since 2001, with the Academy recently passing up his roles in Bridge of Spies, Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks.
  • Animated movies: AwardsDaily argues that this would be a good year to reward an animated feature with a Best Picture nod. Looking for ideas? Zootopia is the best wide-release movie of the year, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
  • EGOT alert: If Lin-Manuel Miranda wins an Oscar for Best Original Song this year for his work on Moana, he will be the youngest EGOT ever. He talks about it here.
  • For your consideration: Coming off of PGA, WGA and (first-time director) DGA nominations, Deadpool is starting to take itself more seriously. Star Ryan Reynolds tweeted a “for your consideration” ad for the film, touting the films achievements, such as “42 rejection letters from Fox” and “three good walls and a fourth that’s broken.”
  • Stop feeling sad: Here are 26 good things that happened to diversity in Hollywood this year.
  • What would Oscar movies wear to the Oscars? Someone on considered what dresses some of this year’s movies would wear to the Academy Awards if they were women. Some examples: Nocturnal Animals would wear “a dress so stylish and elegant that it makes you gasp at first glance and then you’re, like, over it,” and Moonlight would wear “something so understatedly lovely that you almost wish La La Land wasn’t stealing her thunder”

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