By Tori Carlo
For all the film buffs out there, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26 with Jimmy Kimmel as the host. After the backlash due to the lack of diversity in Oscar nominees last year, this year’s Oscar nominations are the most diverse in a decade. Three films starring people of color are nominated for Best Picture and six African-American actors are nominated for best acting awards.
The frontrunner for several Oscars, including Best Picture, is La La Land, which is an homage to the golden age of Hollywood musicals. Aside from the inventive musical score, it’s a captivating story about two struggling artists who are faced with the choice to pursue their romance or their own dreams. Giving La La Land a run for its money is Moonlight, which is a stark coming-of-age tale of an African-American boy growing up in a Miami ghetto. Hidden Figures is the true story of three African-American female mathematicians that struggled with racism in NASA but helped the first American orbit the Earth in 1962. Noteworthy nominees include Manchester by the Sea, a subtle but heart-wrenching story about one man’s grief, and Arrival, a unique alien invasion movie that has character drama and a profound message.
The Best Actress frontrunner is Emma Stone for her dazzling performance as an aspiring actress in La La Land. Natalie Portman is nominated for her emotional portrayal of first lady Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. Meryl Streep gets her 19th Oscar nomination for her charming performance as a socialite that loves to sing but can’t hit a note to save her life in Florence Foster Jenkins. In Loving, newcomer Ruth Negga gives a moving performance as a wife in 1967 Virginia whose historic Supreme Court case disbanded the laws against interracial marriage.
The Best Supporting Actor frontrunner is Mahershala Ali for his role in Moonlight as a kind-hearted drug dealer that mentors a young boy. At only 20 years old, Lucas Hedge is one of the youngest to be nominated for his portrayal of a teenage boy faced with the death of his father in Manchester by the Sea. Jeff Bridges is nominated for his performance in Hell or High Water and Dev Patel is nominated for Lion, both films also nominated for Best Picture.
The Best Actor frontrunner is Casey Affleck, Ben Affleck’s younger brother, for his portrayal of a detached man still haunted by a past tragedy in Manchester by the Sea. Ryan Gosling is nominated for his suave portrayal of a jazz musician in La La Land. Denzel Washington is nominated for his passionate performance in Fences, and Andrew Garfield is nominated for Hacksaw Ridge, both films nominated for Best Picture as well.
The Best Supporting Actress frontrunner is Viola Davis for her poignant performance in
Fences. Michelle Williams is nominated for her tear-jerking portrayal of a grief-stricken wife and mother in Manchester by the Sea. Nicole Kidman is nominated for Lion, and Octavia Spencer is nominated for her fiery performance in Hidden Figures.
Best Animated Feature has mainstream Disney films like Moana and Zootopia, but Studio Ghibli fans can rejoice with the nomination of The Red Turtle. The Japanese film company produced a simple yet beautiful tale about a man stranded on an island that tells a profound message about the circle of life without any dialogue. Harry Potter fans can rejoice in Fantastic Beasts being nominated for Costume Design. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is nominated for Visual Effects and Sound Mixing.