La La Land leads Oscars race - TechCentral

La La Land leads Oscars race

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land

La La Land, Lions Gate Entertainment’s film about star-crossed lovers trying to make it in the entertainment industry, was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, including best picture, tying for the most ever.

Amazon.com’s Manchester By The Sea was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said on Tuesday on its website, in a first for an online distributor.

Nine movies will be vying for the best film of the year, including several that feature black Americans in leading roles.

Lions Gate led all companies with 26 nominations, followed by Viacom’s Paramount Pictures with 18. A24, the independent studio responsible for Moonlight, nabbed 10 total nominations. Netflix earned a nomination for the documentary 13th.

The academy has been criticised for failing to recognise movies featuring people of colour. In the past year, the organisation changed its membership and voting rules to increase diversity in the mostly older, white male organisation.

This year’s crop of quality films featuring minority actors, including the best picture nominees Fences, Hidden Figures and Moonlight, will give Oscar voters a chance to make good on that goal.

Rounding out the year’s best picture nominees are Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion and Hell or High Water. The 89th Academy Awards will be handed out on 26 February.

In La La Land, Ryan Gosling stars as a jazz pianist who falls in love with a struggling actress, played by Emma Stone, as they seek success against the backdrop of a romanticised Los Angeles. Their relationship, told through song and dance, frays as their careers take off.

Gosling and Stone received Oscar nominations for their roles in the film, as did Damien Chazelle for his writing and directing. The picture also garnered nominations for original song and cinematography.

The film is the front runner for best picture, according to odds makers and betting houses. Ladbrokes gave the movie 1 to 4 odds, or an 80% chance of winning. The movie set the record for the most awards at this year’s Golden Globes, including best musical or comedy, and awards for directing and acting. The only other films to be nominated for 14 Oscars were Titantic in 1997 and All About Eve in 1950.

La La Land, in US theatres for seven weeks, has taken in US$89,9m through last weekend, according to researcher ComScore.

First for Web

Manchester by the Sea marks Amazon’s first major success in film. Unlike its rival Netflix, Amazon releases movies in theatres weeks before making them available to stream online.

In the movie, Casey Affleck plays janitor Lee Chandler, who returns to his hometown to look after his nephew following the death of his brother. But he struggles to cope with the memory of his own children’s deaths there in a fire he inadvertently caused, a disaster that led to divorce from his wife Randi, played by Michelle Williams.

Manchester by the Sea was written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan and distributed by Roadside Attractions. The drama earned nominations for best actor in a lead and supporting role, best supporting actress, best director and best original screenplay. Affleck won a Golden Globe for best actor.

The nominations and subsequent awards ceremony, honouring the best films of last year, can provide a boost to movies still playing in theatres or an opportunity to expand films in limited release.

Hidden Figures, nominated for three awards, was number three in US theaters last weekend and has taken in $83,7m in sales through five weeks in cinemas. The Fox film stars Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as engineers trying to break the colour barrier at Nasa in the 1960s and playing key roles in the launch and safe return of John Glenn. Spencer was nominated for best supporting actress.

In response to complaints about the academy’s lack of diversity, the organisation last year brought in 683 new members, double the number added the previous year, to change its gender and racial makeup. The group committed to doubling the number of women and minorities by 2020.

The Academy nominated the largest number of black actors ever: Denzel Washington received a nod for his leading role in Fences, while Ruth Negga earned a nomination for her performance in Loving. Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris each garnered nominations for their supporting work in Moonlight. Viola Davis (Fences) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) were also nominated for supporting actress. The previous record was set in 2007, when five black nominees were nominated for Academy Awards, including Forest Whitaker, who won best actor for The Last King of Scotland.

“This year is a stand-out year for diversity, for people of colour,” said Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango.com.  — (c) 2017 Bloomberg LP

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