So the nominations are in for the 89th Academy Awards have been announced, with La La Land receiving 14 nominations, tying with Titanic (1997) and All About Eve (1950) as the most nominations for one film. Cate Blanchett commented on how “random” and “subjective” the selection process is when she received Best Actress for Blue Jasmine in 2014, and it is hard to believe that every year the world eagerly awaits the unveiling of the opinions of an elite few. However subjective it is, there are a few performances that missed out on nominations that are so good that they go beyond subjectivity, and I’d like to take the time to acknowledge them here.
First of all, there were many well deserved nods. Jeff Bridges’ performance in Hell or High Water, and the film’s nomination for Best Picture were good to see. While Aaron Taylor-Johnson won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Nocturnal Animals at the Golden Globes, it was a massive snub that his co-star Michael Shannon wasn’t nominated for his brilliant, nuanced performance so it is good to see his nomination at the Academy Awards. And the Actress in a Supporting Role category is so strong it is going to be devastating no matter what the outcome because Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman all deserve it equally.
Actress in a Leading Role: Amy Adams for Arrival & Nocturnal Animals
Amy Adams in Arrival
Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival received 8 nominations including Best Picture and Director but Amy Adam’s performance which carried the film through failed to be recognised. Adams’ nomination at the Golden Globes for Best Actress for her performance as an expert linguist made it feel as though the Academy Awards would follow suit. It would have been nice and well deserved to see her go up against herself for both Arrival and her powerful performance in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals.
Actor in a Leading Role: Chris Pine for Hell or High Water
Chris Pine in Hell or High Water
Chris Pine, long dismissed by myself as a ‘super hero actor’ and nothing beyond the surface, has stepped up further from his role in Z for Zachariah (one of the best films of 2015) and finally come out with an award worthy performance. His understated, truthful realisation of a lower class country man beaten down by life and responsibility is a career best and resonates far past the end credits.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as an emotionally crippled investment banker coming to terms with his wife’s death in Demolition is also a noteworthy snub.
Best Picture: Midnight Special
Jaeden Lieberher and Michael Shannon in Midnight Special
Jeff Nichols’ cross between a sci-fi blockbuster and an independent drama was nothing short of special. The epic adventure, carried by Michael Shannon, Joel Egerton and Adam Driver deserved at least a nomination for Best Picture. Martin Scorsese’s Silence receiving only one nomination for Cinematography is also an epic surprise.
Production Design: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children & Tale of Tales
Asa Butterfield and Ella Purnell in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Though Stuart Craig deserves to take the cake for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it would have been nice to see some nominations go out to Gavin Bouquet for Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and to Dimitri Capuani for Matteo Garrone’s visually stunning Tale of Tales.
Costume Design: Massimo Cantini Parrini for Tale of Tales
Salma Hayek and Christian Lees in Tale of Tales
The array of elaborate 16th century costumes on display in Tale of Tales are so perfectly executed, down to the most intricate detail. It is perhaps the biggest snub of the year, since none of the nominees even come close to the marvel of dresses, diving suits and royal crowns on display in Tale of Tales.
Adapted Screenplay: Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick for Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool
As a firm hater of both super hero movies and Ryan Reynolds, it comes as a huge surprise to myself to suggest that Deadpool should perhaps have been nominated for best adapted screenplay. The high octane romp directed by Tim Miller off a script written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick proved to be one of the most entertaining pieces of cinema of the year. And here is something I never thought I would say: I wouldn’t have minded if Ryan Reynolds received a Best Actor nomination for his role as an energetic, attention deficit hit-man come anti-hero.
Music (Original Score): Jóhann Jóhannsson for Arrival
Amy Adams communicating with the aliens in Arrival
Though the nominations for Best Picture, Director and Cinematographer are so well deserved and at least one of the film’s 8 nominations should receive a win, the Academy forwent two of the most vital elements that made the movie Best Picture worthy – it’s main actress and it’s musical score. Best original score is not the most divulged category, but the commission of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s musical score for Arrival is actually one of the biggest snubs of this year’s nominations. Denis Villeneuve’s frequent collaborator has crafted an extremely powerful palette of experimental sounds that are not commonplace amongst composers and the music creates the thick cloud of atmosphere that carries the film through, inserting pockets of tension into each and every moment. Jóhannsson’s grand score for Arrival is one of the best in modern cinema.
And there we have it – my takes on who the Academy shouldn’t have forgotten this year. Is there anything else that should have been nominated? Let us know in the comments below.