Fresno Beehive

Oscar nominations mix of good, bad

Ryan Gosling has picked up an Oscar nomination for his work in “La La Land.”
Ryan Gosling has picked up an Oscar nomination for his work in “La La Land.” AP

Except for the positive movie of a more diverse group of nominees, this year’s nods for the Academy Awards honors is a muddled mess. The most obvious example is that nine films are in the running for best picture.

The longer list did give “Hidden Figures” the attention it needed but the Academy needs to make the Best Picture list shorter. And, even with nine films in the running, “La La Land” is the only entry that’s not a heavy drama. If you must go this long with the list, make it an even 10 and put “Deadpool” in the mix.

La La Land has gone gaga over “La La Land.” The modern day musical picked up 14 nominations for Oscars tying “Titanic” and “All About Eve” for the most nods in one year. I am a fan of “La La Land” and even put it on my top 10 list, but 14 nominations is too much. At best, it was worthy of a half dozen nods.

It’s great that Jeff Bridges is getting recognized for his work in “Hell or High Water” but to overlook Ben Foster in the film about brothers who rob banks is sinful.

Congratulations to Octavia Spencer for her nomination in the best supporting category for her work in “Hidden Figures.” But, it is a shame that Taraji P. Henson did not get a nod for her superb work in the film.

I have always been a huge Meryl Streep fan but her nomination for “Florence Foster Jenkins” smacks more of habit than a real recognition of acting skills. This is far from her best work and Henson should have gotten that spot on the ballot.

That’s the great thing about the Oscars. Everyone has an opinion. And those opinions will be expressed over and over again until the statues are handed out Feb. 26 on ABC.

Here are the nominees in the top five categories.

BEST PICTURE: “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight.”

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”; Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”; Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”; Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”; “Denzel Washington, “Fences.”

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”; Ruth Negga, “Loving”; Natalie Portman, “Jackie”; Emma Stone, “La La Land”; Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins.”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”; Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”; Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”; Dev Patel, “Lion”; Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals.”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Viola Davis, “Fences”; Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”; Nicole Kidman, “Lion”; Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”; Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea.”

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1