As we predicted, the musical romance “La La Land” was the top film when Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, January 24, and it was a big number: 14, which ties the record for the most nominations ever for a film. “All About Eve” (1950) and “Titanic” (1997) are the only other films that have received 14 nominations, and both won Best Picture. It goes without saying that that total is also a new record for musicals. Check out the complete list of nominations.
“La La Land’s” historic haul includes Best Picture, Best Director (Damien Chazelle), Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), Best Actress (Emma Stone) and Best Original Screenplay (Chazelle), along with a near sweep of below-the-line categories.
Next in line with eight nominations is the sci-fi drama “Arrival” starring Amy Adams as a linguist who helps the US government communicate with a mysterious alien species. In addition to Best Picture, director Denis Villeneuve and writer Eric Heisserer picked up noms, but Adams herself was surprisingly left out despite making the cut at every major precursor, including the SAG Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTAs.
“Moonlight,” the Golden Globe winner for Best Film Drama about a poor boy in Miami coming to terms with his sexuality, also has eight nominations including Best Picture, Best Director (Barry Jenkins), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Jenkins). Jenkins is only the fourth black filmmaker ever nominated for Best Director and he would be the first to win. And if he wins Adapted Screenplay he would be only the third black writer to win, following Geoffrey Fletcher (“Precious,” 2009) and John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013).
“Manchester by the Sea” follows with six nominations. Golden Globe winner Casey Affleck is nominated for Best Actor for his role as a Massachusetts handyman who must confront a family tragedy. Kenneth Lonergan picked up nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. And the film earned additional bids for Best Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges) and Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams).
A pair of biographical films, “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Lion,” also earned six nominations apiece including Best Picture. “Hacksaw” tells the story of pacifist Desmond Doss (Best Actor nominee Andrew Garfield), who enlists in the army in World War II as a combat medic; surprisingly, director Mel Gibson also made the cut for the war film. “Lion” recounts another arduous personal journey, of Saroo Brierley (Best Supporting Actor nominee Dev Patel), who was adopted by an Australian couple but as an adult seeks out the family he lost in India.
“Fences” earned four nominations. In addition to Best Picture it earned a Best Actor nomination for Denzel Washington, who reprises his Tony-winning role as Troy Maxson, a Pittsburgh garbage collector with a tumultuous family life; it’s his seventh nomination to date. Fellow Tony winner Viola Davis is nominated for Best Supporting Actress as his wife Rose, and August Wilson earned a posthumous nomination for adapting his own play.
Also nominated for Best Picture is “Octavia Spencer) who aided NASA’s space program and paved the way for black women in science during the Jim Crow era. It’s also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder).,” the true story of the mathematicians and engineers (including Best Supporting Actress nominee
Rounding out the Best Picture race is “Hell or High Water,” a modern western about a pair of desperate bank-robbing brothers in Texas. It has three other nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges), Best Original Screenplay (Taylor Sheridan) and Best Film Editing.