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is finally showing signs of winding down. That means you can start prepping for the few months you’ll get of rest before the cycle begins again. It’s a fun but exhausting one, and hopefully, like these past few years, it continues to be a stressful one. So many good keep coming out, which makes it incredibly hard to know which films are most deserving. So many are, but so many simply can’t break through the noise that is the increasing hype of any given . Which films will be fortunate enough to break through and receive that special distinction only select few films can ever achieve per year?

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), with the help of Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Emmanuel Lubezki, Jason Reitman and Ken Watanabe, among some others, announced its nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards, at the most wonderful bright and early time, of which I wasn’t bright eyed and bushy tailed, of 5:18 am. I know, random.

And the video has started! With the AMPAS doing something different, there’s now this obnoxious intro video. Ugh. I’m already regretting this. Let’s just get to the nominations!!

WOW!!! That was so tough to sit through, and as I’m typing this, we’re not done. Due to this new format, which I’m still not sure how I feel about it, it’s still got a ways to go before all the nominees are announced. There’s been some surprises, but not too many. Not yet.

Part two is now beginning. This is taking too damn long.

Jimmy Kimmel hosts this extravagant ceremony on Feb. 26, 2017 on ABC

Here are this year's nominations, complete with whatever kind of commentary I thought should be included. I can’t guarantee it’ll be funny or all that witty, but hopefully it can start a conversation of some sort.

Best Picture

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

So close!! Once again, so close to 10 nominees! While that’s semi-sad, I can’t be upset with any of the nine nominees above. I’m thrilled to see them and not at all surprised.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve - Arrival

Mel Gibson - Hacksaw Ridge

Damien Chazell - La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Not really a surprise here. Score one for Jenkins, as he’s clearly going to start off this year’s slightly increased presence of nominees of color. It’s also keeping up a trend, where at least one person of color is nominated in here for their outstanding work. I think that itself is phenomenal! Totally deserving people and they happen to be non-white. On another positive note, Gibson! I think he’s the oldest director this time around, so it’s great to see an older nominee. That too is proving to make a huge showing this year.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington – Fences

I wasn’t at all surprised here. Score two positives for Washington! Older person of color! Mortensen comes in second as he’s four years younger than Washington. Mortensen’s nominations is a slight surprise, only because I wasn’t too sure he’d get through.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert - Elle

Ruth Negga - Loving

Natalie Portman - Jackie

Emma Stone – La La Land

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

WHOA!! A somewhat big surprise in Negga! I, like so many others, had written her off. That there were so many other women, all of whom are equally deserving, that could’ve easily taken her slot. There’s at least one in each year, I guess Negga proved us wrong. The rest come in as expected. Huppert, which I love seeing in this group, and Streep, bring with them age. A bonus, Streep has now increased her record nominations number! I think it’s now an even 20 nominations! Don’t quote me on that exactly.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel - Lion

Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Shannon!! Wasn’t too sure with him either, but he was high up there and I’m glad he got in! Can’t wait to see this film. Bridges brings the age, but he also was just damn amazing in his respective role. Ali, not surprising, brings another person of color, as does Patel, but the difference, Patel’s not black. Incredible to see that someone other than a black actor (and obviously a white actor), got nominated. Patel is of Indian descent, which I don’t think we’ve seen in over a decade, so that alone is incredible! It’ll most definitely be interesting to see how people talk about this, if they talk about it in any meaningful way.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis - Fences

Naomi Harris - Moonlight

Nicole Kidman - Lion

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

No one ever said that all nominations had to be surprising. That’s the case here. Three more actors of color, and I’ve lost count now overall. Great to see all these women nominated, and I’m even more excited to see their films now too. I also love that there’s one first time nominee in Harris.

Best Animated Feature

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

Eh. I sadly haven’t seen any of these. I’m not too surprised by two of them, as that seems to be the trend these past few years. Obscure animated films making the cut, even if they truly deserved to.

Best Animated Short Film

Blind Vayasha

Borrowed Borrow Time

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Pearl

Piper

I’m all for Piper!

Best Cinematography

Arrival – Bradford Young

La La Land – Linus Sandgren

Lion – Greig Fraser

Moonlight – James Laxton

Silence – Rodrigo Prieto

I knew Young and Sandgren would get in. I had high hopes for Prieto, so that’s exciting too. On a diversity count, Young and Prieto, off the top of my head, keep that count going. Let’s see how this category is discussed later too.

Best Costume Design

Allied – Joanna Johnston

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Colleen Atwood

Florence Foster Jenkins – Consolata Boyle

Jackie – Madeline Fontaine

La La Land – Mary Zophres

Another area I can’t be too surprised by. At least I was mostly right with my selections.

Best Documentary Feature

Fire at Sea

I Am Not Your Negro

Life Animated

OJ: Made in America

13th

Another area where I fail as a viewer. I’ve got to work on that.

Best Documentary Short

Extremis

4.1 Miles

Joe’s Violin

Watani: My Homeland

The White Helmets

I’ve got nothing for this area.

Best Film Editing

Arrival – Joe Walker

Hacksaw Ridge – John Gilbert

Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts

La La Land – Tom Cross

Moonlight – Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Cross!!! I knew it!! His work was immediately recognizable! So proud of him. He and McMillon also raise that diversity count. I wonder if anyone else here does?

Best Foreign Language

Land of Mine (Denmark)

A Man Called Ove (Sweden)

The Salesman (Iran)

Tanna (Australia)

Toni Erdmann (Germany)

So many to see, so little time. I can’t wait to try and cram them all in!

Best Live Action Short

Ennemis Interieurs

La Femme et le TGV

Silent Nights

Sing

Timecode

We’ll see if these ever become available for public consumption, at least here in the States.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

A Man Called Ove

Star Trek Beyond

Suicide Squad

I was actually really hoping for Deadpool to get in, but I guess this will have to do.

Best Original Score

Jackie – Mica Levi

LA La Land – Justin Hurwitz

Lion – Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

Moonlight – Nicholas Britell

Passengers – Thomas Newman

Newman!! Really?! I have nothing against him, but really didn’t expect this. I was also rooting for Michael Giachinno to get in, but this crop of nominees isn’t bad, so I’ll take it. Of course, with Newman nominated, we can pretty much just scratch his name out, as he’s never one once in the almost 20 nominations he’s received.

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

There’s always one surprise. The rest, I’m thrilled for!

Best Production Design

Arrival

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

Passengers

Again with the surprise. Passengers? Why?! I guess I should’ve seen it in theaters when I had the chance.

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

I’ve never understood the sound categories, so I shall once more skip them.

Best Visual Effects

Deepwater Horizon

Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

COOL!! And Kubo??! Wow!!

Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay

Arrival – Eric Heisserer

Fences – August Wilson

Hidden Figures – Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Lion – Luke Davis

Moonlight – Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney

Were any of these surprises? Nope! Maybe Schroeder and Melfi, but I can’t recall what I selected.

Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan

La La Land – Damien Chazelle

The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou

Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

20th Century Women – Mike Mills

Mills!! A pleasant surprise. I’m glad about the rest, especially Lanthimos and Filippou’s nominations. Chazelle is more just what I always knew would happen. I’m thrilled!

And there you have it!! Not too bad. Took too damn long to get through, but these are the 2017 Academy Award nominees!!

There were a lot of expected nominees, most of today was expected, and a few surprises, but not terrible surprises. Apparently, La La Land walks away with a record setting 14 nominations in all!! YES!! I always knew it could do it!!

On a diversity front, it’s not more of the same. I’m going to say it now, and hopefully people got this far, that while this is a vast improvement on racial diversity, not just acting, it’s still disappointing. A lot of black creative people (all of whom I’m excited about), but at first glance, only a few others that aren’t. Cross is of Asian descent, Patel of Indian and Prieto hails from Mexico. I’m more just interested in how conversations go forward, as part of the problem lies outside of the Academy itself and those who vote. You can’t vote for that which isn’t available to be voted on or even considered. However, a BIG plus, which could also be big in the number of total representatives, older creatives being recognized. So many in acting, directing, and I’m sure other categories I don’t have the full information on. I’m thrilled for the likes of Streep, Huppert and Gibson! Unbelievable!

Now that that’s been taken care of, join the conversation! What did you like about the nomination ceremony? Did anything surprise you? Did your favorite film get represented? Or, any other thoughts you may have. Share away!

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