The 89th Academy Award nominations have just been announced, and for the most part it was a comparatively predictable year. Though nobody perhaps predicted a joint record haul for La La Land – taking 14 nominations across almost every category it campaigned for.
However, after the announcement the eyes of Oscarologists around the world will be gravitating towards the leading actress nominees.
Stone, Portman and Huppert were safe bets. We’ve all known for months they would feature, but most of us also expected to see Academy Golden Girl Amy Adams on the list. The actress has been nominated five times since 2006, and though she has failed miserable to convert them into Oscars, her consideration felt almost on par with Meryl Streep.
In other words – “which film should we nominate her for this year?”
Streep on the other hand picked up her almost unfathomable 20th nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins, helped surely by her gloriously received anti-Trump fuelled acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, just three days before nomination ballots were due in. Clearly there were a lot of late entries, but herein lies the root cause to Adams’ demise.
Unfortunately, it might just be that Amy Adams is too bland.
Meryl Streep has character, she’s not afraid to speak her mind and she does so in a way that endears her to her already bulging army of fans. Amy Adams is always there, an integral part of the background but never quite capable of stepping into the spotlight on her own, as is evident by her four supporting nominations and only one lead.
Maybe they campaigned her in the wrong category? My personal feeling throughout awards season is she had a much stronger shout in supporting for Nocturnal Animals – it’s a film begging for Academy votes yet it got such a half-arsed push this season. Michael Shannon’s recognition was a big surprise, though entirely well deserved and one of the most underrated supporting performances of the year.
So Adams will have to wait another year. What else can we moan about? Well there are two categories that never fail to disappoint in their propensity for surprises.
First there’s the animated feature nominees. It goes without saying that Disney will feature, as they always do. Moana and Zootopia predictably make the cut, but their third contender Finding Dory lost out to the quirkier candidate in My Life as a Zucchini.
Then there’s original song, where three of the spots were taken by La La Land and Moana, and then out of the blue comes The Empty Chair from Jim: The James Foley Story. Nope, we don’t know either.
And let us not forget Silence. Scorsese’s epic religious drama, which was a very long three hours long, carried a mass of anticipation following a year of seeing nothing but one still of Liam Neeson looking up in the sky (clearly in disbelief that he ever agreed to do it). Scorsese is one of the greats, and yet Silence was perhaps too much of a passion project that he failed to inject the same je ne sais quoi that made the rest of his filmography so inspiring. Inevitably, the Academy turned their back on one of their own and snubbed the film in all major categories.
However, the shock value in these compared to Adams’ omission is incomparable, perhaps challenged only by Elle‘s snubbing in the foreign language film category. How Huppert and the film can storm awards season with nominations all over the place and yet not even make the nine film longlist is outstanding.
That said, Huppert’s nomination is deserved and her Golden Globes win all but made her Oscar nomination feel like a sure thing. Though the Globes are not always a great indicator, particularly with acting awards. But fundamentally, and I may be lynched for even suggesting this, but I did not think Arrival was a very good film.
The surprise within these nominations only stems from the fact everyone assumed she would be nominated. Was her performance really that much better than Negga or Streep that she should be credited with expectation? No. Amy Adams played a decent role in an alright movie. The real surprise here is how it managed to get eight others.