Oscar nominations 2017: Ten talking points

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter

  • Published

The 2017 Oscar nominations are out, with La La Land the frontrunner. Here's a round-up of the surprises and talking points from this year's list.

Image source, Dale Robinette

La La Land is one of the best three films in history

That's if you use the Oscar nominations as a guide - the magical musical is just one of three films to ever get 14 (with Titanic and All About Eve).

By that theory, it is also the greatest musical ever, given that it has surpassed the 13 nominations given to Mary Poppins in 1965 and Chicago in 2003.

We'll see if La La Land can rival the biggest ever winners - Titanic, Ben-Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which all scooped 11 golden statuettes.

The most successful musical in Academy Awards history was West Side Story, which won 10.

Image source, Joss Barratt

It's not a vintage year for Brits

But not a terrible year - Andrew Garfield, Naomie Harris and Dev Patel are flying the flag in the acting categories.

But that's down on the six British acting nominees we saw last year.

Hugh Grant would have been a popular choice for his first Oscar nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins, and there was no room for Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals) or Felicity Jones (A Monster Calls).

The leading British film of the year, if the Bafta nominations are anything to go by, was Ken Loach's hard-hitting drama I, Daniel Blake. Oscar seems to like British films when they are sweeping historical epics or when they feature royalty or Dame Judi Dench. Perhaps I, Daniel Blake was just too gritty.

Image source, HFPA/EPA

Hollywood hearts Meryl (but not Donald)


Meryl Streep was far from a dead cert to be nominated, but has crept into the best actress battle, earning a 20th Oscar nomination.

She has gained Oscar momentum since the Golden Globes, when she made a speech attacking US President Donald Trump - before he fired back that she was "overrated".

That made her even more of a heroine in Hollywood, if such a thing is possible. And it's fair to suggest a link between the speech and the Oscar nomination.

She's an outsider to win - but could Hollywood offer her the chance to make a similar speech on the biggest stage of all?

Image source, Getty Images

Amy Adams won't have to practise her losing face again

The biggest surprise in the acting categories was Amy Adams missing the cut for best actress for Arrival, which got eight other nominations. But perhaps it's a blessing in disguise.

Amy has been nominated five times before - and never won. And if she had been nominated this year, she probably wouldn't have won (again), and would have become joint record holder for actresses who have lost the the most Oscars.

This year, best actress is the most competitive category - there was also much love but no room for Annette Bening (20th Century Women) or Taraji P Henson (Hidden Figures).

Image source, Getty Images

Mel Gibson is back in the fold

Mel Gibson became persona non grata in Hollywood after tapes emerged of him verbally abusing his girlfriend in 2010, and after he made anti-Semitic comments to a police officer in 2006.

Now, it seems, all is forgiven.

His war movie Hacksaw Ridge has six nominations, including one for Mel for best director - his first nomination since 1996.

He has been given a best director nomination above Denzel Washington, who made Fences (although Denzel has been nominated for best actor for the same film).

Image source, Getty Images

Tom Hanks must have done something really bad

Unlike Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks has not embarked on any racist or sexist rants. In fact he is surely the nicest, least offensive, most respected man in Hollywood.

Yet he must have done something to offend the Academy. He was an Oscars favourite once - nominated five times between 1989-2001 and winning twice (for Forrest Gump and Philadelphia).

But since then, nothing. And the Academy has ignored him again - giving him nothing for his role in Sully as real-life all-American hero Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who landed a plane in the Hudson River in New York in 2009.

Image source, Focus Features/Paramount Pictures


After two years with no non-white acting nominees, there are seven this year out of 20 slots, including Ruth Negga and Denzel Washington (above).

So we won't see similar protests to last year. Is this a sign that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' attempts to reform its membership have been successful?

Or were more good films with diverse casts released last year than in the previous two? And will this really be a turning point?

Image source, AFP

There's less diversity among directors

Moonlight's Barry Jenkins (above) has become only the fourth black nominee for best director in Oscars history. If he triumphs, he'll be the first black winner.

But there were no women nominated again - in fact, only four female directors have been nominated in 89 years of the Oscars. Let's say that again - four in 89 years. There has only ever been one female winner - Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010.

There has been some sense of diversity in the best director category in recent years - albeit a slightly odd one. Basically, you're OK as long as you're a foreign-born man. No American-born directors have won since Bigelow.

Image source, Joe Lederer

The Oscars still don't do superheroes

There was a groundswell of support for Deadpool to become the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture.

It was nominated for Golden Globes and Producers Guild of America Awards, among others, and proved that a grown-up superhero flick could be a critical and commercial success.

But it didn't happen.

Image source, Merrick Morton

But Oscar does prefer the good guy

British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (above right) won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor for playing a very nasty man in Nocturnal Animals.

But now he has become the first Golden Globe best supporting actor to fail to be nominated for the same prize at the Oscars since 1975.

Instead, the person who has snuck into that Oscars category in his place is Michael Shannon (above left) - who played the sheriff responsible for tracking down Taylor-Johnson's villain in Nocturnal Animals.

This year's Oscar winners will be named on 26 February.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.