Oscars 2017: A Look At Our Favorite Nominees
With Oscars 2017 just a few days away, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars are waiting with bated breath to see if they’ll be the ones bringing home that little gold man. While the academy still has quite a ways to go in terms of ensuring its nominee field is an accurate reflection of the world around it (#OscarsSoWhite), we are proud that slowly but surely Hollywood is making strides on that front. So without further adieu we give some well-deserved props to the brown actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes talent who received nominations this year.
This, without questions, has been the year of Mahershala Ali. Starring in two of the year’s most acclaimed and successful films, “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures,” Ali has gone from talented supporting cast member to true theatrical tour de force. While this Oakland native is at the top of his game, he hasn’t lost sight of who he is or what he wants to stand for (need proof, just check out his SAG acceptance speech). If he wins big on Oscar night, we are very much looking forward to an insightful and beautiful speech from this talented man.
The lovely Ruth Negga will be vying for her first Oscar statue on Sunday night, battling a stacked field for Best Actress. She is nominated for her absolutely stunning role in “Loving,” the true story of a married interracial couple whose relationship led to the Supreme Court decision Loving vs. Virginia. At a time in which questions abound about the future of civil rights in this country, “Loving” was as well-timed as it was well-executed.
One-half of the “Fences” power duo on our list, Viola Davis knocks anything she does out of the park. Yet shockingly, she has yet to walk away a winner on Oscar night. After receiving nominations for roles in “Doubt” and “The Help,” Davis is hoping Sunday is her night for her stunning role as Rose Maxson. We’re not betting folks, but if we were, our money would be firmly planted on Davis to walk away with the prize.
After an eight-year directorial hiatus, Barry Jenkins came back with a vengeance with “Moonlight.” All we can say is if you haven’t seen this film yet, do us a favor and buy yourself a ticket. Words really can’t do it justice. But with that said, we know Jenkins faces some stiff competition, and any category with “La La Land” is going to make us nervous. But we still hope the academy recognizes the true talent in the bunch.
Bradford Young, nominated for his cinematography of “Arrival,” is only the second black nominee ever in the category after Remi Adefarasin for “Elizabeth” (1998). Young previously worked on 2014’s “Selma” and “A Most Violent Year.” The two-time Sundance Award winner has some stiff competition with “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Moonlight” and “Silence” all in the mix, but we have our fingers crossed for this Howard University alum.
Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington — “Glory” (1989) and “Training Day” (2001) — goes for a third with his leading role in “Fences.” Denzel plays a working-class father who tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life. Upsetting Casey Affleck to nab a SAG for his role, we’re hoping Denzel continues his winning streak on Sunday.
Dev Patel is no stranger to critical acclaim or the Oscars stage. After his breakout role in 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” Patel became an award show darling, racking up a Critic’s Choice award for Best Young Actor/Actress (Under 21). Patel receives his first Oscar nod for “Lion,” in which he sets out to find his lost family 25 years after he gets lost on the streets of Calcutta at five years old.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s list of achievements seemingly continues to grow every day. Best known for his Broadway breakouts “In The Heights” and “Hamilton,” Miranda finds himself on the edge of EGOT history. With a win in the Dolby Theater on Sunday, Miranda will become only the 13th (and youngest) person to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Say what you will about being a little tired of LMM, but we are all rooting for this Latino to write his own page in entertainment history.
Another “Moonlight” star up for a prize on Oscar night, Naomie Harris couldn’t even watch the award announcements earlier this year. Her brother called her with the good news. And while she’s certainly up against a tough field of talented actresses, her jaw-dropping performance is a winner in our eyes.
What is there not to love about Octavia Spencer? Not only can she make us laugh with fun, light-hearted roles (i.e. “Bad Santa 2”), but she can dazzle us with profound, empowering, emotionally-charged performances that make us feel a special kind of way as we sit back in our movie theater seats or cuddle up on the couch. She is one of the most prolific and talented actresses of the last several years and we hope she is able to pile on her stack of awards with another Oscar this year.