2017 Oscars: La La Land picks up record-equalling 14 nominations

The year's Academy Award contenders are the most ethnically diverse in its 89-year history.

The 2017 Hollywood Oscars have responded to last year's diversity scandal with the most ethnically diverse range of nominations in its 89-year history.

As expected, the retro musical La La Land collected a record-tying 14 nominations, equalling All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997) for the most garnered by any one film.

This year’s Academy Awards, which can provide a major boost to box office return for winners, will be held on February 26 (Monday, February 27 NZ time). However, few can be called popular hits, with La La Land being the 45th largest grossing film worldwide in 2016 at $US174.3 million (top was Captain America: Civil War at $US1.153 billion). 

While most of the nominated films have or are screening in New Zealand, others have yet to surface on local screens.

These include Fences and Manchester by the Sea, which are competing with La La Land for best picture. Others in this category are Moonlight, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures and Lion.

The inclusion of actors such as Mahershala Ali, Denzel Washington, Ruth Negga and Viola Davis is a notable contrast to the past two years when only white actors were nominated.

African-American themed films, such as 1950s Pittsburgh in Fences, modern-day Miami in Moonlight and the space race era in Hidden Figures, all scored multiple nominations.

In the best actor category, Casey Affleck is considered the front-runner for his role in Manchester by the Sea. He is competing with Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) and Denzel Washington in Fences.

Emma Stone (La La Land) is favoured to win best actress. Other nominees are France’s Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), her 20th nomination. Notable snubs in this category include Amy Adams (Arrival) and Annette Bening (20th Century Women).

Australian actor-director Mel Gibson’s rehabilitation was sealed with a best-director nomination for his war movie Hacksaw Ridge. Gibson was all but banished from Hollywood after making sexist and anti-Semitic remarks in 2006.

Other best-director nominees include Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) and Barry Jenkins (Moonlight).

New Zealand's Oscar hopes rest on Moana, a Disney production in the best-animated feature category. It is also nominated for its song, "How Far I'll Go."

The Australia-Vanuatu co-production Tanna, which screened at this year's NZ International Film Festival, is among the best foreign language film nominations.

Incidentally, Australian hopes for Oscars rest on nominations in 14 categories, including two in best picture (Hacksaw Ridge and Lion), Nicole Kidman as supporting actress in Lion and several technical areas. New Zealander John Gilbert is nominated for his editing of Hacksaw Ridge.

2017 Oscar nominees (selective list):

Best picture: Arrival, 
Hacksaw Ridge
, Hell or High Water
, Hidden Figures
, La La Land
, Lion, 
Manchester By the Sea, 

Best director: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), 
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
, Damien Chazelle (La La Land), 
Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea)
, Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Best actress: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), 
Ruth Negga (Loving), 
Emma Stone (La La Land)
, Natalie Portman (Jackie)
, Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Best supporting actress: Viola Davis (Fences), 
Naomie Harris (Moonlight), 
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
, Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), 
Michelle Williams (Manchester By the Sea)

Best actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea)
, Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
, Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
, Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), 
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best supporting actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), 
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
, Lucas Hedges (Manchester By the Sea), 
Dev Patel (Lion)
, Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

Best director: Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), 
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
, Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
, Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea), 
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Best original screenplay: Hell or High Water, 
La La Land, 
The Lobster
, Manchester By the Sea, 
20th Century Women

Best adapted screenplay: Arrival
, Fences, 
Hidden Figures, 

Best foreign language film: Land of Mine, 
A Man Called Ove, 
The Salesman, 
, Toni Erdmann

Best animated feature: Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, My Life As a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, Zootopia

Best documentary feature: Fire at Sea, I am Not Your Negro, Life, Animated, OJ: Made in America, 13th

Best costume design: Allied
, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 
Florence Foster Jenkins
, Jackie, 
La La Land 

Best score: Jackie
, La La Land, 
Moonlight, Passengers

Best song: Audition (La La Land), 
Can’t Stop the Feeling! (Trolls)
, City of Stars (La La Land), 
The Empty Chair (Jim: The James Foley Story)
, How Far I’ll Go (Moana)

Best visual effects: Deepwater Horizon
, Doctor Strange, 
The Jungle Book, 
Kubo and the Two Strings
, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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