Oscar Nods: Right or Wrong, the Academy is Over in La La Land

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The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards have been released. A full list can be found here.

Of course, a vital part of the Oscar tradition is getting together around the virtual (or physical) water cooler and whining about all the mistakes. Or, I suppose, praising the Academy for the things they get right, though this is a historically rare phenomenon.

Here are a handful of thoughts to get us started.

1) Ryan Gosling was nominated for the wrong movie.

La La Land looks like one of the big winners this year, by which we obviously mean it’s the movie that’s going to get nominated for all sorts of stuff, regardless of whether it actually deserves it or not. Ryan Gosling is certainly great in the part, but he gave an even more impressive performance earlier this year in The Nice Guys.

While we’re on the subject of Best Actor, I’m not quite sure what Andrew Garfield is doing in there. He does a fine job in Hacksaw Ridge, but Chris Pine could have been nominated twice over him. And really, the real missing performance here is the extraordinary turn John Goodman gave us in 10 Cloverfield Lane.

2) Visual Effects has a pretty good slate this year.

It seems like this is one of those categories that occasionally elicits a “wait, that’s what you’re nominating?” response, but this year showcases a lot of the variety and artistry that’s possible in the modern era of visual effects. From the constantly morphing environments of Doctor Strange, to the gorgeous ingenuity of Kubo and the Two Strings, to the top-to-bottom visual extravaganza of The Jungle Book, the nominees for this award are a testimony to the sheer possibility of the medium.

3) Green Room should have gotten an editing nomination.

Let’s put this out there: It’s almost impossible to judge how well a film was edited unless you were the editor or director. To fully evaluate it, you would have to know a whole host of problems that were only fully visible between the moment shooting wrapped and the moment the film was released.

That said, it’s hard to think that an edit could get much more effective than the one you see in the gripping, gutsy thriller Green Room. Tension is a tricky thing to maintain over the course of a feature film, but Green Room is so exhaustingly effective that the author of this piece was literally curled into a ball by the time the credits rolled. If you haven’t seen it, please do. There’s not a false move anywhere in the film.

What about you? What do you think the Academy got right or so, so wrong?

-David Rice, Outpost editor & fx artist

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