ROAD TO THE OSCARS – Nominations are out, countdown begins

With exactly one month to go for the sealed envelopes to be opened, the Oscar Awards frenzy is only
going to build up further to a crescendo. It was on Tuesday morning that the Academy nominations were announced by folks ranging from actors like Terrence Howard and Ken Watanabe, actresses including Glenn Close and Jennifer Hudson, directors Guillermo del Toro and Jason Reitman apart from some members of the Academy. And to nobody’s surprise Damian Chazelle’s charming musical ‘La La Land’ snared a record equaling 14 of them. The only two other films to get so many nominations in the history of the Oscars are James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ and the Bette Davis classic from the 1950s ‘All About Eve’ Cameron’s movie went on to take home 11 of those. Can La La Land do something equally impressive? Looking at how well it did at the Golden Globes a few weeks back it is a distinct possibility.

This year’s Academy nominations brings forth many interesting back stories some of which are just as interesting as the films themselves  The 89th Academy’s will witness seven actors who are not whitevying for the Oscar Awards. Though the Academy would like to say that this is the direct result of persistent efforts by them to make the Awards more inclusive, some others would like to credit the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag campaign that has been run during the last couple of years. Truth is the performances merited these nominations and beyond that it is just glorious coincidence. Of these, Viola Davis with her best actress nomination for the film ‘Fences’ making her the first African American actress to receive three Academy nominations deserves special mention.

Her co-star in ‘Fences’ is not doing too badly either. With two Oscars already under his belt, this year’s nomination makes it a staggering 7 for Denzel Washington, that is more than any other African American actor in history. Perhaps the most fascinating story of this year’s Oscar nominations is thatof multi talented composer Lin-Manuel Miranda who is nominated in the category of Best Original Song for the film ‘Moana’ If Miranda should win he will join the most elite club within the Academy. The EGOT Club that is made of artists talented enough to win the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and the Tony awards. Miranda has won the other three and if he wins the Oscar (unlikely with La La Land in the fray) he will become only the 13th member of this super exclusive club.Famous names that are in the EGOT club include Audrey  Hepburn, Mel Brooks and Whoopi Goldberg.

The most surprising nomination hands down has to be that of maverick actor & director Mel Gibson for his direction in the World War 2 Saga ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Some are even calling it the ‘Trump effect’ The man who has become something of an outcast in Hollywood due to reasons unconnected to films makes a spectacular comeback with this film which even gets a Best Actor nod for Andrew Garfield. The most notable omission, of Amy Adams for her bravura performance in the sci-fi movie of the year ‘Arrival’ was marked by high controversy where the Academy first announced her nomination and then almost took it back calling it an ‘error’ Really?! And this after five previous nominations that did not end up in wins. The Academy could always put the blame on new technology what with the Academy nominations being streamed live on the internet. Another first. Touching is the gesture by the Academy to nominate much loved Pulitzer award winning writer August Wilson for ‘Fences’ He passed away a good 12 years ago. All said and done, may the best win the #Oscar.