La La Land tied Titanic’s record for most Oscar nominations (14!) when the announcements for the 89th Academy Awards were made on Tuesday, but there were a few oddities in the mix too!
While most of the attention will be shone upon director Damien Chazelle’s love letter to classic Hollywood musicals, and the very welcome nomination of Dev Patel for Lion, we mustn’t ignore nominees in the technical categories, especially since those are the areas which attract the strangest films.
Case in point: Suicide Squad. Yes, the DC superhero (or supervillain?) film that ‘earned’ some of the most vicious reviews of the year shall henceforth be known as an Academy Award nominated film.
Several punters had pegged Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool to score a few nods, but no such luck. The Academy chose a film detested by most audiences in favour of one most adored.
To put matters into perspective, Suicide Squad currently sits at a very sorry 26% on the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, and while it was a runaway success at the box office (close to $750 million worldwide), its single nomination (Best Makeup and Hairstyling) won’t win it any converts.
The film is up against Star Trek Beyond and the Swedish film A Man Called Ove, so it can be safely predicted that its chances to win are 50-50 - or at the very least 33%.
Another quirky surprise was Michael Bay’s almost-forgotten war movie based on the Benghazi incident, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. For a director whose Transformers films have also been ‘blessed’ by the Academy, to have his most-acclaimed film recognised seems stranger than it really is.
But the biggest surprise of all has to be Mel Gibson pipping Martin Scorsese for a Best Director nomination. Scorsese’s 28-year-long quest to make his passion project Silence was absolutely overlooked by the Academy. The always controversial Gibson, who was for some time made a pariah in tinseltown, seems to have been forgiven.
In more positive news, the Harry Potter spinoff movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them scored a couple of nods (in technical categories; Best Costume Design and Best Production Design). Aside from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which was nominated for Best Cinematography, no other film in the storied franchise has received a nod outside a second tier technical category.
Mark Wahlberg’s survival drama Deepwater Horizon was nominated in two categories (Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects), as was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing).
The Oscars will be telecast on February 26 from Los Angeles.
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