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Preview: Oscar 2017 nominations

For the first time since 2014, the cinematography Oscar will go to someone who isn't Emmanuel Lubezki

Dev Patel in ‘Lion’. Photo: AP
Dev Patel in ‘Lion’. Photo: AP

On 24 January, the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were announced. It’s been a less than a thrilling year for American films, and, barring a few surprises (congratulations, Isabelle Huppert), the nominations reflected this. Here’s our take on the 2017 Oscar line-up.

Oscars not so white

In the last two years, all the acting nominees—male, female, leading and supporting—were white. The anger boiled over last year: Will Smith announced that he wasn’t attending, #OscarsSoWhite started trending. Chris Rock, hosting his second Oscars, delivered a scorching opening monologue, tackling the issue of race in Hollywood head on. This year, seven of the acting nominees are persons of colour. It will save the awards the bad press, but don’t forget that nominations are reflective of a larger malaise.

No pitched battle for Best Picture

In 2015, it was Boyhood vs Birdman; last year, Spotlight vs The Revenant. There have been attempts by the press to turn this year into La La Land vs Moonlight, but no one’s buying it. La La Land is an extremely winning film and, more importantly, makes Hollywood feel good about itself. It will take an upset of historic proportions to topple it.

Gibson’s back, Scorsese’s out

Pablo Larrain’s Jackie seemed like a cinch for a Best Picture nomination, but that wasn’t to be, its slot presumably going to the tear-jerker Lion, Mel Gibson’s violent war film Hacksaw Ridge or the tense thriller Hell Or High Water. The academy voters also resisted nominating Martin Scorsese’s passion project Silence. They did seem to forgive Gibson, though, for his past anti-Semitic statements: He also got a Best Director nomination.

No Deakins, no Lubezki

For the first time since 2014, the cinematography Oscar will go to someone who isn’t Emmanuel Lubezki (winner, in succession, for Gravity, Birdman and The Revenant). There’s no Roger Deakins either; he’s sitting out this year after four consecutive nominations. It’s a younger bunch of nominees than this category usually sees: Only Rodrigo Prieto (Silence) is over 50.

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