The makers of the musical La La Land are singing a happy tune as the film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards Tuesday morning, including best picture, actor, and actress. Titanic and All About Eve are the only other films to receive so many nominations.
La La Land is coming off a huge night at the Golden Globes earlier this month where it picked up seven statues.
Landing in second place for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nods the science-fiction thriller Arrival and the gay coming-of-age drama Moonlight, both with eight nominations. The WWII saga Hacksaw Ridge, the tragic family tale Manchester by the Sea, and story of a man searching for his roots, Lion, scored six nominations.
All in all, it’s a mixed bag and a diverse field with most of the films predicted to receive some recognition did not go home empty-handed. The big exceptions to that are Martin Scorsese’s passion project and epic story of Catholic priests in 17th century Japan, Silence, and the smart-aleck Marvel hit Deadpool, which some thought might snag a best-picture nomination.
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Nine films are up for best picture: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, and the aforementioned La La Land. The Academy could have nominated 10 films and included the likes of Silence, Clint Eastwood’s Sully, or Pablo Larraín’s Jackie but chose not to do that.
As expected, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), and Denzel Washington (Fences) were recognized for best actor but the surprise was the inclusion of Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic, a film that flew under the radar for many moviegoers. Mortensen got in over Tom Hanks (Sully), Michael Keaton (The Founder), Adam Driver (Paterson), Matthew McConaughey (Gold), and Joel Edgerton (Loving).
In the actress category, Emma Stone (La La Land), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) were locks. The remaining two slots went to Ruth Negga (Loving) and Isabelle Huppert (Elle), the latter perhaps the least-seen performance by American audiences. The surprise here is that Amy Adams (Arrival) was overlooked as were Sally Field (Hello My Name Is Doris), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures), and Annette Bening (20th Century Women).
Viola Davis (Fences) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) were on everybody’s list to for supporting actress nominations and they’re joined by Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures). There are no big surprises here though some were hoping Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures), Greta Gerwig (20th Century Women), Felicity Jones (A Monster Calls), or Lupita Nyong’o (Queen of Katwe) might get some recognition.
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion) are vying for supporting actor with the surprise entry being Michael Shannon for Nocturnal Animals. Aaron Taylor-Johnson from Nocturnal Animals won the supporting actor prize at the Golden Globes but was ignored here. Also, they showed no love for Kevin Costner (Hidden Figures).
Taylor Sheridan, who went to Fort Worth’s Paschal High School, is up for original screenplay for Hell or High Water with Mike Mills (20th Century Women), Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) and Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou (The Lobster).
Damien Chazelle (La La Land) would appear to be the name to beat for best director considering how much Hollywood loves this film. The other contenders are Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), and Denis Villeneuve (Arrival).
Left on the cutting-room floor in this category are Scorsese (Silence), Eastwood (Sully), Texas’ Jeff Nichols (Loving), Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures), Garth Davis (Lion), Denzel Washington (Fences), Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals), and, most unfortunately, David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water).
One of the most intriguing categories this year is documentary feature with the highly regarded O.J.: Made in America (which most have seen on television even though it was released theatrically in L.A. and New York) going up against the equally celebrated I Am Not Your Negro (the doc about author James Baldwin which premieres in North Texas this weekend at the Denton Black Film Festival), 13th (the film about the 13th Amendment from Selma director Ava DuVernay), the migrants-in-Italy saga Fire at Sea, and the touching Life, Animated about a boy with autism who finds a bond with his family through Disney films.
In the foreign-language film category, the contenders are A Man Called Ove (Sweden), Land of Mine (Denmark), Tanna (Australia), The Salesman (Iran), and Toni Erdmann (Germany).
For animated feature, the nominees are Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Zootopia.
The winners will be revealed at the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 26. For a complete list of nominees, go to oscar.go.com/nominees.