Analyzing The Oscar Nominations

This year the Oscar nominations has recognized many talented people (23-year old Saoirse Ronan’s third nomination (Lady Bird)!) …and snubbed some (Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name…and The Shape of Water…and The Post!).

These nominations also reveal and reflect some amazing changes that reach beyond mere trends as societal movements and real life events take the stage over the usual fanfare and escapism.

The MeToo Movement

Kevin Spacey’s shoo-in nomination for Best Supporting Actor in All the Money in the World evaporates (along with his acting career). James Franco’s Best Actor snub after allegations arise after his Golden Globe Best Actor win for The Disaster Artist. New scrutiny on Kobe Bryant after his nomination in the best animated short category for Dear Basketball…I’m sure there is more to come. 

Oscar’sNotSoWhite Anymore

Mary J. Blige is a dual nominee for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Best Original Song. Denzel Washington breaks his own record as an 8-time nominee. Jordan Peele becomes only the third person nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay for one film (GetOut). Miguel’s nomination for Best Song (“Remember Me” from Coco). Screenwriter Dee Rees is the first African-American woman nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (with Virgil Williams). Guillermo del Toro nominated for Best Director (The Shape of Water). Kumail Nanjiani nominated for Best Original Screenplay (with Emily V. Gordon).

Forging Filmmakers

For the first time in 90 years, all five Best Director nominees also co-wrote/wrote the screenplays. Hopefully the deserving Roger Deakins finally get his “Susan Lucci” moment with a win for Best Cinematography (Blade Runner 2049) after 14 nominations.

Sisters Are Doing It

Greta Gerwig becomes the fifth-ever woman nominated for Best Director (Lady Bird). Rachel Morrison becomes the first woman to achieve a nomination for Best Cinematography (Mudbound).  Formidable stars Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) get their first acting nominations. Meryl Streep brings her record total as most-nominated actor in Oscar history to 21 with her Best Actress nod for The Post. Sure, why not one more…as if her legacy isn’t established already.

Biographies and Prestige Films Miss Out

With the exception of Darkest Hour starring the predicted Best Actor winner Gary Oldman for his performance as famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Straightforward prestige films and bio-pics could not land a nomination and include Battle of The Sexes, Detroit, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Hostiles, The Man Who Invented Christmas, The Promise, Stronger, Victoria & Abdul, and The Zookeeper’s Wife, which largely missed out at the box office too.

Redemption Song

Radiohead musician Jonny Greeenwood missed a nod for Best Original Score (There Will Be Blood) due to a technicality involving additional music that wasn’t original, but gets the nod this year for another Daniel Day-Lewis/Paul Thomas Anderson collaboration, The Phantom Thread.

Fewer Adapted Screenplays

Studios listened when audiences wanted more original fare. Is that what allowed Logan to claw in the Best Adapted Screenplay category as the first live-action superhero movie nominated for writing?

Speaking of Superheroes…

How about a Best Stunt Coordination category so Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, Justice League and even Fate of the Furious could grab at least one nomination?

Well, that’s all my Oscar commentary for now.

Will we see a TV viewership dip for the fourth straight year? Time will tell as the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will honor the best films of 2017 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC with host Jimmy Kimmel on March 4, 2018 (later than usual due to the Winter Olympics).

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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