La La Land leads diverse Oscar nominations while Lion, Tanna & Hacksaw Ridge reward Aussies

This morning, the Oscar nominees were announced online through a live stream – breaking tradition from the annual early morning news conference that the film world had become accustomed to tuning into. Over about 20 minutes, past nominees reflected on their Oscar experiences as they revealed the nominees for the 89th Annual Academy Awards.

What makes the nominations list immediately notable is its diversity. After the #OscarsSoWhite campaign of last year – criticism of which even Oscar host Chris Rock jumped in on – and the subsequent changes to voting processes to encourage diversity in its voting pool – it seems that voters got the message. It also helped that the year attracted some magnificent performances from actors and actresses of colour in films like Moonlight (8 Nominations), Fences (4 Nominations) and Hidden Figures (3 Nominations).

Meanwhile, Australia has been given plenty of love thanks to two Australian co-productions, Lion and Hacksaw Ridge, each of which picked up six nominations. Lion‘s share included a nod for Best Picture, Best Actress Nicole Kidman and Best Actor Dev Patel. Hacksaw, meanwhile, saw nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Mel Gibson) and Best Actor (Andrew Garfield) amongst its pack.

Australians also litter the technical categories for both films: Lion cinematographer Greig Fraser and screenwriter Luke Davies both received nominations, as did Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright for Best Sound Editing in Hacksaw Ridge, as were its Sound Mixers, Peter Grace, Andy Wright and Robert Mackenzie. A shout out as well to New Zealand editor John Gilbert, who was nominated for his editing work on Hacksaw Ridge.

But perhaps the biggest news is that, for the first time ever, Australia received a nomination for “Best Foreign Film”, for Bentley Dean and Martin Butler’s film Tanna, which is set on the tiny Pacific island of Tanna in the Vanuatu archipelago.

Of the other loved films, Manchester By The Sea also picked up six nominations, including a surprise inclusion for Best Supporting Actress, Michelle Williams, in spite of some incredibly limited screen time. The son in the film, Lucas Hedges – who until now had been most recognisable from a small role in Moonrise Kingdom – also enjoyed a surprise (and very deserving) nod, as Best Supporting Actor.

But it’s again La La Land that has stolen the show, equalling Titanic and All About Eve‘s record of an incredible 14 nominations – of which the former won 11 and the latter won 6. Trailing far behind it with 8 nominations are Moonlight, and somewhat remarkably, Arrival, which had only mustered up two golden globes nominations, and hadn’t yet seen this sort of adoration across the awards season – though, given this, some may be surprised to see that Amy Adams‘ name isn’t amongst the nominees.

Of the notable absences, Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which was ignored by Golden Globes voters, only received one nomination – for Best Cinematography. Deadpool, meanwhile, failed to receive a nomination, after its surprise love from the Golden Globes – though to be fair, the Globes will often bring some love to a more commercial film amongst its critical fodder (though Deadpool was quite beloved by critics all the same).

Pixar was also left out, with Finding Dory – the second biggest film of the year both in the United States and around the world – failing to receive a nomination for Best Animated Feature. America’s biggest film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which just topped US$1 billion worldwide, did garner two technical nominations – for Visual Effects and Sound Mixing.

Fans of the indie favourite The Lobster will be happy to see the film picked up a Best Original Screenplay nomination, as will fans of Captain Fantastic, for Viggo Mortensen‘s Best Actor nod. The Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! also snuck in with a nomination for Best Production Design. For all films, this was their only nominations.

BEST PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

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

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

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

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

BEST FILM EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Audition (The 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

BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

BEST SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

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

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will air on February 27th, Australian time. Jimmy Kimmel will host.

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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.

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