La La Land equals record for most Oscar nominations

Movie musical continues impressive awards season with 14 nods, Moonlight and Arrival trail with eight and #OscarsSoWhite controversy averted this year at least

La La Land, the movie musical which broke records at the Golden Globes earlier this month where it took more awards than any other film in history looks likely to repeat the trick at Februarys Oscars.

Damien Chazelles movie musical is up for best picture, director, actor, actress, original screenplay, cinematography, costume design, film editing, original score, original song (twice, for both City of Stars and Audition), production design, sound editing and sound mixing. This puts it level-pegging with current nominee record-holders All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997) and on course for continued celebration at the ceremony itself. All About Eve went on to win six Oscars; Titanic took 11.

Im a little speechless, said Chazelle, 32, whose next project and third feature is a Neil Armstrong biopic starring La La Lands lead, Ryan Gosling. Im filled with gratitude.

Such was the dominance of Chazelles hymn to Hollywood that other films were left in the relative cold, regardless of how impressive their achievements. Moonlight, Barry Jenkinss coming-of-age tale about a young black man at three stages of his life, came in joint second with eight nods, alongside Denis Villeneuves sci-fi Arrival (although it failed to land recognition for star Amy Adams).

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Meanwhile Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergans drama about a grief-stricken Boston janitor, followed with six, alongside adoption drama Lion and Mel Gibsons war epic Hacksaw Ridge.

Fences, Denzel Washingtons adaptation of the August Wilson play, took four, as did Hidden Figures, Theodore Melfis real-life tale of three pioneering black female mathematicians working at Nasa in 1962.

The spread of nominees seems sufficiently diverse to ward off a third consecutive year of protests. The lack of a single acting nominee of colour in the 2016 and 2015 lists prompted widespread outrage, revolving around the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.

The Academy has taken radical action to try and address the issue, with the 683 new invitees last summer being 46% women and 41% people of colour. This brings the total number of voting members to over 7,000; around 500 more than the Baftas, and around 6,900 more than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who decide the Golden Globes.

Speaking to the Guardian, Jenkins who, at 37, is only the third black director to be nominated in both the director and picture categories said efforts needed to be made to ensure that this year isnt an aberration.

Its lovely to see the work thats nominated reflect the world at large, he continued. But its difficult: the films this year wont be the same films as next year. We just have to be diligent and be mindful of these different voices and different kinds of work.

This year seven non-white actors are up for awards: Washington and Viola Davis for Fences, Ruth Negga for Loving, Dev Patel for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures and Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali for Moonlight. Bradford Young became the second black cinematographer to be nominated, for his work on Arrival, while Moonlights Joi McMillon became the first black female nominee up for editing.

Almost all candidates for best documentary are African-American: Raoul Peck for I Am Not Your Negro, Ezra Edelman for OJ: Made in America, Roger Ross Williams for Life Animated and Ava DuVernay for 13th, a shocking study of prison prejudice in the US, which is fancied to take the prize following DuVernays snub for Martin Luther King drama Selma a few years ago. They are joined in the category by Gianfranco Rosis Fire at Sea, about the impact of the migrant crisis on the small Italian island of Lampedusa.

Another record was broken in the best actress category, with Meryl Streep beating her own total of 19 Oscar nominations to make it 20 for the title role as a deluded singer in Stephen Frearss Florence Foster Jenkins.

Its all about perception: director and cast on Oscar contender Moonlight

She will compete alongside Lovings Ruth Negga, Emma Stone for La La Land, Natalie Portman for Pablo Larrains Jackie Kennedy biopic, and Isabelle Huppert, who won the Golden Globe for her role as a formidable Parisian who takes unusual revenge on her rapist in Paul Verhoevens controversial comedy/drama Elle.

That film was omitted from the foreign language shortlist, but frontrunner Toni Erdmann, a three hour German comedy about a larky father and his uptight daughter did make the final cut.

There was a little cheer for Martin Scorsese, whose religious epic Silence which failed to get a single nomination from the Baftas or the Globes was recognised for cinematography. Sully, Clint Eastwoods plane crash drama, was similarly lucky, scoring a sound editing nod following similar earlier snubs.

Tom Fords Nocturnal Animals did worse than anticipated, landing only a supporting actor nomination for Michael Shannon (rather than co-star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who won in the equivalent category at the Golden Globes).

Tom Ford on Nocturnal Animals: Im conflicted about what I do

And there was disappointment for Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds R-rated superhero comedy, which had been predicted to follow its $783m global box office take with a best picture nod, but didnt. Whit Stillmans Jane Austen adaptation, Love & Friendship, was also unrecognised, likewise British hopefuls I, Daniel Blake and American Honey.

Oscars bridesmaid Michael Keaton, who just missed out to Eddie Redmayne in 2015, is not in the running this year for his performance as McDonalds tycoon Ray Kroc in The Founder. And Matthew McConaugheys radical physical transformation for Gold also failed to convince Oscar voters.

The best picture nomination for Manchester By the Sea marks a first for Amazon, who backed the film and who are now the first streaming service in the running at the Oscars.

A number of odd outliers also found their way onto the list, including the Brad Pitt/Marion Cotillard romance Allied (for costume design), 13 Hours (for sound mixing), Passengers (for score and production design). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them also took two (production design and costume design); likewise Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (visual effects and sound mixing). The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimoss surreal dating satire (released in the UK in 2015), squeezed into the original screenplay lineup.

The most curious category was perhaps best makeup, which saw acclaim for just three movies: Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad and A Man Called Ove, a Swedish comedy drama about a suicidal 59-year-old widower who befriends his neighbours. The film is also up for the foreign language Oscar.

The Academy broke with tradition for Tuesdays announcement, when the categories were read out by previous nominees including Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Marcia Gay Harden and Jason Reitman in an audience-free environment. The ditching of the usual press conference format attracted some backlash from PRs and distributors, for whom attendance was seen as a point of pride.

The Golden Globes were held two weeks ago and saw La La Land go home with seven trophies. But the best drama gong was won by Moonlight; whether it repeats the trick of 12 Years a Slave four years ago and goes on to take best picture will be revealed on 26 February.

This years Oscars will be presented at a ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and, following the positive reaction to Meryl Streeps speech attacking Donald Trump at the Globes, it is expected to be a highly political occasion.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/24/la-la-land-equals-record-for-most-oscar-nominations

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