‘Tis The Season: “2017 Critics’ Choice Awards: Nominations”

While it’s been in full swing for some time now, with the nominations for the 2017 Critics’ Choice Awards now having been announced (annoyingly early this morning), it’s a clear indicator that awards season is upon us, and won’t be slowing down any time soon. If you’re like me, you’re over the moon about this. If not, well, there’s really no helping you.

Awards season is something I’ve really been focusing on for the past few years, and it’s not simply because I believe all the film’s that are nominated or chosen by critics groups or individuals, in a “Top 10” sort of way, are right (each year manages to produce many baffling picks), but because there may be a chance to learn about a film you hadn’t previously known about. As far as the Critics’ Choice Awards is concerned, and other critics awards and whatnot, it’s just fun to see what somewhat obscure films are chosen for recognition. Too often (much like this year) you only seem to hear about a select group of films, even those really deserving, and seldom others. It’s not that these heavily favored films don’t deserve it, but it just becomes predictable. Here, it’s a bit of both! And once again, I’m excited.

The nominations are chosen by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), and while of late there’s been some controversy about partnership agreements, it still seems this group of people knows how to keep things interesting.

The Critics’ Choice Awards will air on Dec. 11, 2016 on A&E at 8 p.m ET/5 p.m. PT and will be hosted by T.J. Miller (“Silicon Valley”, “Deadpool”).

So, who was nominated? Let’s dive in and see if there’ll also be any snarky commentary from yours truly. There usually is, but this year I feel I don’t know half of the film’s that could’ve been nominated, or should’ve been.

Best Picture

“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hell or High Water”
“La La Land”
“Manchester by the Sea”

I’m not that surprised by what’s been nominated here. I’ve pretty much only heard good things about these film’s, plus, with the unfortunate exception of “Moonlight”, as I’ve just never seen the trailer, I’m really excited to see ALL of these films. I’m sure once I do see the trailer for “Moonlight” I’ll be excited, but for now, it just raises my interest level and expectation level. Hopefully they truly are this good.

Best Actor

Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
Joel Edgerton – “Loving”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
Tom Hanks – “Sully”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”

I’m kind of surprised by Garfield’s name here, but not at the same time. I guess I was just assuming he’d never be able to break through enough, but that’s what I love about critics! They pick through all the noise, and typically do a good job of highlighting deserving talent that can and does get overlooked. The rest, which I think is going to become a theme, were pretty much expected.

Best Actress

Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Annette Bening – “20th Century Women”
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
Emma Stone – “La La Land”

I love seeing Huppert’s name in this group of talented women, and even Bening, who’s pretty much been absent over these last five years. Like with “Moonlight”, I’ve yet to see trailers for Huppert or Bening’s films, which is practically a travesty. I guess this truly does speak to why I should get around to watching them and see if I want to see the film eventually. The other women, I’m thrilled about and expected. Negga, more than anyone, just has me excited the most. I think it’s not just because it’s showing she’s done phenomenal work in her respective film, but because she’ll be able to really break out! Yes she’s had some other high profile gigs, but largely she’s unknown. Here’s hoping this helps bring her great work and more attention. Another thing to love about Huppert and Bening being nominated, is it’s shining a light on what kinds of complex roles older actresses can tackle, and how it’ll be deserving of their talents.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Ben Foster – “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges – “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel – “Lion”
Michael Shannon – “Nocturnal Animals”

And here’s the first example of why I love critics! Okay second. “Hell or High Water” is once again being recognized in this particular awards show. It’s a film I’ve missed, and like with the others I am just excited about. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, even if it’s just official critic reviews. And like with Bening and Huppert, it’s great to see Bridges being recognized. When talking about older actors, even if they are white, we largely ignore older males, even though you could look in any direction and see how truly limited the roles are for them. In terms of genuinely good and dynamic roles, there aren’t that many. So, I’m glad this is happening, because, contrary to popular belief, this is another way that diversity can flourish and hopefully inroads can be made from this point.

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – “Fences”
Greta Gerwig – “20th Century Women”
Naomie Harrie – “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
Janelle Monae – “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams – “Manchester by the Sea”

What?! Gerwig and Monae! That’s awesome! Monae because I believe this isn’t just her first feature, but her first acting role. Not bad for a newcomer. Gerwig, well, because she’s Gerwig and does a lot of good work, even if it’s primarily in indie films and seldom seen by the masses. Harris falls into this category even though she’s got a bit more exposure than Gerwig and Monae (from an acting standpoint).

Best Young Actor/Actress

Lucas Hedges – “ Manchester by the Sea”
Alex R. Hibbert – “Moonlight”
Lewis MacDougall – “A Monster Calls”
Madina Nalwanga – “Queen of Katwe”
Sunny Pawar – “Lion”
Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”

This is just exciting because of the obvious. It’s young actors and these will hopefully be the people who continue to carry and shape the motion picture industry. Each one I believe is pretty new, so that alone is surprising, exciting, and welcome. The only notable name is Steinfeld, and what’s exciting about her nomination and film, is that it’s something I’m truly excited about seeing. She’s been in a few other films, some I’ve seen, but nothing that said this is why you should pay attention to her. Hopefully she’ll now be offered more and better roles, or at least has the opportunity to consider something better than she’s previously been in.

Best Acting Ensemble

“20th Century Women”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figure”
“Manchester by the Sea”

So much talent in these films! I’m thrilled about each one! Getting this type of nomination, like with the Screen Actors Guild Awards, says so much more about you’re film than just individual achievements.

Best Director

Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”
Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
Kenneth Lonergen – “Manchester by the Sea”
David Mackenzie – “Hell or High Water”
Denis Villeneuve- “Arrival”
Denzel Washington – “Fences”

Some strong names and films. I dare say, I’m already hitting that predictable wall. That said, I’m still thrilled that these nominees could be so talented and helm such daring and exciting films. I can’t even predict which way this could go.

Best Original Screenplay

Luke Davies – “Lion”
Tom Ford – “Nocturnal Animals”
Eric Heisserer – “Arrival”
Todd Komarnicki – “Sully”
Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi – “Hidden Figures”
August Wilson – “Fences”

Hmm… That’s all I’ve pretty much got. Having seen none of these, some for the obvious, or read available PDFs of the scripts, also for the obvious, it’s hard to say. Granted, I must admit this category, in any award giving organization, still baffles me a bit. I truly think I could be fine with any of these winning.

Best Cinematography

Stephane Fontaine – “Jackie”
James Laxton – “Moonlight”
Seamus McGarvey – “Nocturnal Animals””
Linus Sandgren – “La La Land”
Bradford Young – “Arrival”

The only name I recognize is Young’s. He did great work on “A Most Violent Year”, so I’m incredibly thrilled that he was hired for “Arrival” and is getting this kind of recognition. The others, I’m just going to have to wait and see the film’s.

Best Production Design

Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte and Andre Valade – “Arrival”
Stuart Craig, James Hambridge, and Anna Pinnock – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Jean Rabasse and Veronique Melery – “Jackie”
David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco – “La La Land”
Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh – “Live by Night”

Another category I can’t fully speak to. Just based on trailers and TV spots, it all looks phenomenal! Each one I’m sure helps transport you or give you a real enough feel. “Arrival” especially, and “La La Land” is certainly going to achieve that beautiful and magical feeling it sends out.

Best Editing

Tom Cross – “La La Land”
John Gilbert – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Blu Murray – “Sully”
Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon – “Moonlight”
Joe Walker – “Arrival”

Cross!! There’s a few reason’s I’m excited for his nomination. Primarily as his work in “Whiplash” was fantastic! Second, he’s the only name I recognize, so there’s that positive and negative. Next, which I couldn’t avoid mentioning, he’s of Asian descent. In terms of racial diversity, he’s one of the only ones that allows for racial diversity to exist beyond the black creative’s nominated. Patel and Pawar make up the rest of that diversity. That’s sad all on its own. Sadder yet, when it comes to highlighting the vast improvements of film’s getting through and allowing the work of those who aren’t white to shine through, there will be little reference to anyone who isn’t black. That’s the unacceptable and borderline (if not completely) hypocritical way this has played out over the majority of the last decade, and certainly all the most recent years, even when deserving black creators weren’t nominated. Cross and his wife, after he won his Academy Award, had to point out, in a very sad manner, that contrary to the catchy hashtag “Oscars So White”, it wasn’t all white. He had won. A Vietnamese-American. If he’s lucky to break through again, or just be confined to critics recognition, which is still great, it’ll be a major win, but will anyone be talking about it in the way it should be? I doubt it.

Okay. Now that that’s over. It is still exciting to see so many unknown names. In recent years I’ve kind of become obsessed with editors, so any and all of these other nominees could amaze me so much, I’ll be forever on the look out for what they do next.

Best Costume Design

Colleen Atwood – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Consolata Boyle – “Florence Foster Jenkins
Madeline Fontaine – “Jackie”
Joanna Johnston – “Allied”
Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh – “Love & Friendship”
Mary Zophres – “La La Land”

Almost all of these are period pieces, and only one name stands out. I’ll just go with I’m excied to see their work in the finished film and see how swept away I get.

Best Hair & Makeup

“Doctor Strange”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Star Trek Beyond”

Like with costumes, I’m just going to have to wait and see. I’ve seen one of the nominees here, but am thrilled to eventually see the rest. I’m sure the work will be good, as each film clearly looks that good.

Best Visual Effects

“A Monster Calls”
“Doctor Strange”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“The Jungle Book”

I’m at a serious disadvantage here. However, I’m not too surprised by these nominees and can’t wait to see the finished films!

Best Animated Feature

“Finding Dory”
“Juno and the Two Strings”
“The Red Turtle”

I’ve seen “Finding Dory”. Hell, I own it! I really need to catch up. Animated films are tricky for me as so many are hit or miss or I’m just blah about it.

Best Action Movie

“Captain America: Civil War”
“Doctor Strange”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Jason Bourne”

“Hacksaw Ridge” is an action film? Okay. The one reason I dislike these extra categories. It’s great, as there are clearly so many action films to choose from and consider better than another, but at the same time, this is what happens.

Best Actor in an Action Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch – “Doctor Strange”
Matt Damon – “Jason Bourne”
Chris Evans – “Captain America: Civil War”
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”

And now we’re just getting a bit too silly. I just go with it, but it’ll never not seem silly.

Best Actress in an Action Movie

Gal Gadot – “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”
Scarlett Johansson – “Captain America: Civil War”
Margot Robbie – “Suicide Squad”
Tilda Swinton – “Doctor Strange”

Yeah. Same here.

Best Comedy

“Central Intelligence”
“Don’t Think Twice”
“The Edge of Seventeen”
“Hail, Ceasar!”
“The Nice Guys”

I think I’m just exhausted with this piece. I’m excited about a lot of these films and can’t wait to see the one’s I haven’t.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Ryan Gosling – “The Nice Guys”
Hugh Grant – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Dwayne Johnson – “Central Intelligence”
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”

Seeing Mortensen is somewhat surprising and another example of why I love critics! Recognizing smaller film and the performances contained within.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Kate Beckinsale – “Love & Friendship”
Sally Field – “Hello, My Name is Doris”
Kate McKinnon – “Ghostbusters”
Hailee Steinfeld – “The Edge of Seventeen”
Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Field!! And Steinfeld!! Field more so than any of the others because her film seemed to come and go. I was so fortunate to be able to see it (and not yet write about it, oops), and must say it was worth it! A fine film that gives Field something different and challenging. Something she should have more of, even as an older actress, which is another plus! She and Streep are recognized for comedy, which seldom seems to feature older actors, so there’s that huge plus.

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

“10 Cloverfield Lane”
“Doctor Strange”
“Don’t Breathe”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“The Witch”

“The Witch”! I knew instantly it would be a favorite, in some way, when it came to awards. Glad it could fit here. I’ve actually seen all but two, so I can’t decide which I want to win more. What I can say, check them all out! I’m sure they’ll all be worth it, but make sure you go in as blind as you can.

Best Foreign Language Film

“The Handmaiden”
“The Salesman”
“Toni Erdmann”

I love foreign language films. These nominees have been talked about so much, that all I want to do is see them. The one thing I hate about them being foreign films and not necessarily reaching a massive audience.

Best Song

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” – “La La Land”
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls”
“City of Stars” – “La La Land”
“Drive It Like You Stole It” – “Sing Street”
“How Far I’ll Go” – “Moana”
“The Rules Don’t Apply” – “Rules Don’t Apply”

Two from “La La Land”!! This has me even more thrilled for the music and the film! The others, well, I’ll have to get to the film. The one from “Trolls”, good enough and I’m not surprised seeing it here.

Best Score

Nicholas Britell – “Moonlight”
Johann Johannsson – “Arrival”
Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land”
Micachu – “Jackie”
Dustin o’Halloran and Hauschka – “Lion”

WHAT?! Johannsson!! Loved his previous two films, and what I’ve hear from this one, it’s just as brilliant. He may be edging towards replacing John Williams as my favorite composer. Okay, at least the top spot as Williams is competing against Michael Giacchino for that honor. Hurwitz’s nomination, like with the songs, which I believe he helped co-write, also just ups my level of excitement. The others, well, I’ll just have to wait and hear.

And there you have it! The nominees for the 2017 Critics’ Choice Awards! Well, at least films, television is somewhat separate, so it’s up in the air if I’ll talk at all about those. For now, you have enough! Make of it what you will, and if it inspires you to see some of the film’s listed or simply get excited for them and then see them, more power to ya! You’re taking a step in the right direction!


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