January 24, 2017

OscarLand: The Nominations


The Oscar nominations are here, and the biggest surprise is how few surprises they provide.  The closest thing to a shock was in the Best Actress category, where Ruth Negga and Isabelle Huppert were in, and that meant Amy Adams and Annette Bening–both of whom had been considered possible longshot winners–were out.  Otherwise, Michael Shannon got the Best Supporting Actor nomination that many thought would go to Hugh Grant, and The Red Turtle and My Life As A Zucchini were nominated for Animated Feature rather than Finding Dory (although Pixar did get a nomination in Animated Short for Piper) and The Secret Life of Pets, in a category that almost always includes at least one small nominee against the big-studio efforts.  It was also a big day for Mel Gibson, who capped the Academy success of Hacksaw Ridge (6 nominations) with his own for Best Director, seemingly confirming his path out of the Hollywood wilderness after a decade.  It was also notable that the micro-budgeted Moonlight managed nominations not only in the expected big-ticket categories, but in Editing, Cinematography and Original Score, suggesting that it has support throughout the Academy.

Mostly, though, the day belonged to La La Land, which tied the all-time records of Titanic and All About Eve with 14 nominations, thanks to a pair in the Best Original Song category.  All the other campaigns will be aimed directly against that juggernaut (as well as against Casey Affleck and Emma Stone, the favorites in their respective categories), and as recent campaigns have shown, things could become less than tuneful.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."