Oscar Nominations 2017: Boomers, Canucks and (Finally) #OscarsSoDiverse

Photos: Getty Images

Meryl Streep sets records, La La Land is “la la laughing” all the way to the red carpet while diversity finally proves a priority for the Academy.

You have to wonder if anyone even bothers to call Meryl Streep on the morning of the Oscar nominations anymore. Famously, acting’s most prestigious award nominations are announced via early morning press conference (or, for the first time this year, webcast), at 8:18 a.m. on the east coast and 5:18 a.m. on the west, meaning many folks in Hollywood get a wake up call from excited loved ones to tell them they’ve landed an Oscar nod.

This year Streep, 67, earned a nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of the tone-deaf titular character in Florence Foster Jenkins, breaking her own records for both most nominations in the Best Actress category (16) and most nominated performer in Oscar history (20). To put that number 20 into perspective, the two people tied for second most nominated performances in Oscar history behind Streep—Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson—have 12. One has to wonder if Streep, who’s taken home three gold statuettes, still wakes up elated at the nomination news or simply reacts the same way one might when receiving a birthday card in the mail year after year—sure it’s sweet and thoughtful, but at some point you start thinking it’d be great if they put some money in the envelope too. It’ll be curious to see, though, should Streep win, if she delivers another epic takedown of U.S. President Donald Trump à la her Golden Globes acceptance speech—which, I think we can all agree, with apologies to Florence Foster Jenkins, was truly Streep’s best performance this year.

Meanwhile, 63-year-old actress Isabelle Huppert, who you might call the French Meryl Streep, has been nominated for more César Awards (the French Oscars) than any other actress—and she just landed her first Oscar nomination for the thriller Elle, about a rape victim who seeks revenge on her attacker.

Of course the team behind La La Land— writer/director Damien Chazelle’s musical romp through Los Angeles that’s lit up award season while igniting debates about whether it actually deserves the accolades in its wake—is “la la laughing” this morning, landing 14 nominations, tying All About Eve and Titanic for most nominations by one film in a single year. Those include directing, writing, music and acting honours—meaning dreamy Canuck Ryan Gosling, the pride of London, Ont., could wind up on stage accepting the Best Actor Oscar. Other Canadians tapped for nominations include Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve, 49, for helming the alien tale Arrival and the National Film Board’s Blind Vaysha, nominated for Best Animated Short Film.

Surprisingly, the last few days have been very good to Mel Gibson, which is a phrase we haven’t heard very often since the actor went off the rails with highly-publicized racist and anti-Semitic rants about a decade ago. Not only did the 61-year-old welcome his ninth child, a son, into the world last week, but today the Oscars handed him an opportunity to complete his career comeback, giving him a nod for Best Director for the war film Hacksaw Ridge.

As for the rest of the nominees, the Academy woke up this year and ensured the major categories recognized and celebrated diversity, avoiding a repeat of last year’s embarrassing #OscarsSoWhite debacle. Films like Moonlight, Lion, Fences and Hidden Figures—all of which star people of colour and include race as a central theme—landed multiple nominations, including acting, directing and Best Picture, alongside Arrival, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water and Manchester by the Sea. This shift in racial awareness is also extremely prevalent in the feature documentary category, where Selma director Ava DuVernay’s 13th, which examines race in the context of the American justice system, earned a nomination alongside Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, based on novelist James Baldwin’s Remember This House, an unfinished book about the writer’s memories of the civil rights era, the five-part O. J.: Made in America by Ezra Edelman and Life, Animated, about an autistic boy who learns comprehension and literacy skills through watching Disney films. Not only do all four feature subjects and/or themes surrounding people of colour but all four are also directed by African-American filmmakers. The fifth documentary in the category, Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea, spotlights the European migrant crisis.

Boomers also scored with a multitude of high-profile nods, including Streep and Huppert for Best Actress; Denzel Washington (62, Fences) and Viggo Mortensen (58, Captain Fantastic) for Best Actor; Viola Davis (51, Fences), Octavia Spencer (46, Hidden Figures) and Nicole Kidman (49, Lion) for Best Supporting Actress; Jeff Bridges (67, Hell or High Water); and Kenneth Lonergan (54, Manchester By the Sea) alongside Villeneuve and Gibson in the Best Director category.

See the next page for a list of the major award nominees.

Oscars

Best Picture

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

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

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

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, Fences

Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Nicole Kidman, Lion

Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel, Lion

Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Best Director

Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Best Adapted Screenplay

Moonlight, Barry Jenkins

Lion, Luke Davies

Arrival, Eric Heisserer

Hidden Figures, Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Fences, August Wilson

Best Original Screenplay

La La Land, Damien Chazelle

Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan

Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan

The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou

20th Century Women, Mike Mills

Click here for the full list of 2017 Oscar nominees. The 89th Academy Awards take place Sunday, Feb. 24 2017.