Graham: ‘La La Land’ leads Oscars; Adams leads snubs

A look at who’s in and who’s out after this year’s Academy Awards nominations

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

The enchanting movie musical “La La Land” floated away with 14 Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, tying “All About Eve” and “Titanic” for the all-time record for most nominations by a single film.

But the big headline coming out of the awards announcement was the racial makeup of the nominees in the big categories. A year after the Oscars were heavily criticized for the total whiteness of the contenders in the leading fields, seven actors of color were nominated in the acting categories on Tuesday, and five black directors — one in the Best Director field and four in Best Documentary — came away with nominations. (The Best Documentary prize goes to a film’s producer, though those directors are producers on their films, as well.)

Here are the big takeaways, surprises and snubs from Tuesday’s Oscar nominations:

Sorry, Amy

Five-time nominee Amy Adams missed out on her sixth nomination when she was left out of the tight Best Actress field for her role in “Arrival.” With Adams out, Meryl Streep cruised into the picture and snagged her 20th career nomination, thanks in no small part to her fiery Golden Globes speech, which was delivered just days before the voting deadline. But look at it this way: Now the narrative for Adams to win the next time she’s nominated is set. (Think of it as the DiCaprio rule.)

Mel back

Mel Gibson received a nod for Best Director, a trophy he won once before for 1995’s “Braveheart.” You can look at it as a welcome back of sorts for Gibson, whose career was sidelined in 2010 when tapes of him making racist and anti-Semitic statements were released on the internet. Hollywood seems willing to forgive; Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” came away with six nominations overall.

No love for ‘Deadpool’

The smart-aleck superhero flick had an outside shot at joining the Best Picture field, but was left out in the cold, even though fun, critically acclaimed blockbusters like “Deadpool” are exactly the reason the Academy expanded the Best Picture race to up to 10 films in the first place. Only nine films were nominated this year; sneaking “Deadpool” in as the 10th film wouldn’t have hurt anyone. What gives, Academy?

Viggo, Shannon surprise

Viggo Mortensen came away with a surprise Best Actor nomination for “Captain Fantastic,” in which he stars as a man raising his family off the grid. Also off the grid, just in general, is Michael Shannon, who earned his first Oscar nomination since “Revolutionary Road” for his role in Tom Ford’s noir exercise “Nocturnal Animals.” Shannon shut out Aaron Taylor Johnson, who won a Golden Globe for his work in “Animals” but was left out of an Oscar nomination for the role.

#OscarsSoWhite no more

Drop the hashtags — for this year, at least. Actors of color were nominated in each of the four acting categories, and three of the five nominees for Best Supporting Actress are non-white. Several of those performers are considered favorites in their categories; Mahershala Ali is favored for Best Supporting Actor (“Moonlight”) and Viola Davis (“Fences”) is the odds-on pick for Best Supporting Actress. Hollywood still has a long way to go toward fixing its race problem, but Tuesday’s nominations are a step in the right direction.

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