Oscar Noms 2017: Sad Omissions and Stuff

The 2017 Oscar nominations came out yesterday (HERE is as good a place as any to check them out), and you know what that means: We get to bitch and moan about the movies we liked that Oscar didn't favor. I'm being facetious. I know very well all the politics that go into this particular gala, how submissions work, how lobbying works, how tiny rules can affect a film's eligibility, and so forth. I don't put TOO much stock into the Academy's collective opinion, bla bla bla. Still, it serves as an easy "2016 films cinephiles should see" list, and since we throw a party set around the show, will inevitably serve as inspiration for pun-filled snacks and drinks, and so forth. But wherever the honors landed any given year, there are achievements that failed to make the cut, and yet shouldn't have been ignored by the Academy, and shouldn't be ignored by movie lovers reading this. See if you agree.

Now, one thing I think we can rejoice in is that this isn't yet a case of "Oscar so white" like last year. There are three black-led films in the Best Picture category, and 7 out of 20 actors in the acting categories are non-white. There's even a black director in the Directing category. I'm not gonna act like that's a WHOLE LOT, but it's something. Now if some non-white artists can WIN some of these awards as well, we'll have jumped the next hurdle.

That said, what films might have deserved nominations, all rules, lobbying and politics aside? Well, I think the biggest omission, across the board, is Swiss Army Man.
This film is so unusual, it might have deserved a Best Original Screenplay nomination, but it's really its sound that got cheated, I think. I'm sure the Academy wouldn't have been keen on giving a prize for designing a wide range of farting sounds, the mix nevertheless was done on the new Atmos system that makes sound come from the top as well as the normal 360-degree surround, and though I saw it at home, they were apparently pretty fearless with it. Barring that, I think its score is spectacular, using only voices for music, and letting a piano sneak in only at the end when we encounter civilization. As distinctive and memorable as, say, La La Land's.

Just saw Manchester by the Sea and I thought its sound mixing was amazing. Every day sounds mixed to create, maintain and amplify an effect, and I'd really have a film like this get a nomination for sound than yet another mix of bullets flying. 

And speaking of songs, La La Land got TWO nods, so it would be easy to imagine opening another slot for something else. The Academy has never shied from comedy songs - it's what made the South Park movie an Oscar-nominated film - so why nothing from Popstar: Never Stop Stopping? I'm So Humble would seem a perfect song for our times. Something from Sing Street would also have been a nice surprise.

For Best Costume, I was kind of holding out hope The Dressmaker would get a little love.
Alas, it's a lot of your usual period film dress. Authentic-looking I'm sure, but an "achievement"? Meh. Haute couture revenge in the 1950s Australian Outback? Now there's a chance to do something interesting. I'm surprised costume designers didn't take to this film, which is really about one of their own (that usually flies with the Academy, which is part of La La Land's appeal for them, I'm sure) IMDB has it as a 2015 film, but I don't think it got a proper release in America until late 2016.

If Asian cinema got the same attention English-language films did, then The Handmaiden would get a Cinematography nod, perhaps even Adapted Screenplay. The Nice Guys got no attention, but it's a well-designed and well-scripted period film; in my head canon, it got at least one nomination somewhere. But then, I'm the guy who would have seen Sausage Party in the Best Animated Film category, he said, with a twinkle in his eye. My friends who are anime lovers tell me Your Name should have been nominated there though, if only Makoto Shinkai (5 Centimeters per Second) cared about such things as awards.

I realize I haven't exactly taken a stab at the big categories, maybe you wish to do so in my humble comments section? Maybe you're sad for Amy Adams who was great in two films (and also made BvS), or you want to champion Deadpool for Best Picture. Be my guest!


Toby'c said...

My only major disappointment was Zootopia being ignored for Beat Picture and Finding Dory being ignored for Best Animated Feature (and Best Picture, if only because it was my own favourite of the year, but my hopes weren't that high). And maybe Try Everything for Best Original Song.

I'm with you on The Nice Guys as well.

Nicholas Yankovec said...

Biggest omission for me was Hunt for the Wildepeople, my favourite film of last year. And Suicide Squad got a bloody nomination yet nothing for Civil War or Deadpool. How does that happen?!?

I think the Oscars need some sort of category for the blockbuster type movies (rather than best musical/comedy). About time they recognised the difference between a Civil War flick and the latest Michael Bay offering...


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