6 ways the Oscars are breaking new ground in 2017

Every Oscars Ceremony has its own quirks and surprises - nominations we didn’t see coming and wildcard presenters... but 2017 has heralded a significant gear-change for the Academy, and we couldn’t be more excited.
1. #OSCARSSODIVERSE

To counter the criticism that last year’s Oscars lacked diversity and cross cultural representation, this year there’s a whole new mood. The Oscars changed their voting and membership system and now we’re reaping the rewards! 

• 6 African American acting nominees: Denzel Washington (Best Actor, Fences), Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor, Moonlight), Ruth Negga (Best Actress, Loving), Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress, Fences), Naomie Harris (Best Supporting Actress, Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress, Hidden Figures)
 
• A major nominee of Indian ancestry: Dev Patel (Best Supporting Actor, Lion)

• 4 out of the 5 honoured documentaries came from Black film-makers

2. THE RETURN OF THE MUSICAL

La La Land
Source: [Summit Entertainment]

With a record-equalling 14 nominations, La La Land is in very elite company – only All About Eve and Titanic have achieved the same number of nominations and both went on to win Best Picture. But what makes La La Land really stand out is the fact that it signals the comeback of the musical. It’s definitely not the first musical to be nominated for an Oscar, infact 10 musicals have actually won Best Picture over the years, with the last one being in 2002 for Chicago.

The heyday for musicals was the decade between 1958 and 1968 where 5 musicals won Best Picture – 1958 Gigi, 1961 West Side Story, 1964 My Fair Lady, 1965 The Sound of Music and 1968 Oliver.

3. SCI-FI IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Amy Adams Arrival

Arrival might not be your typical Sci-Fi movie... but then Director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) was never going to make a typical movie of any kind. Profound, deeply moving and breath-takingly brought to life, Arrival takes the Sci-Fi genre into bold new territory.

Before the Academy expanded the Best Picture nomination category, Sci-Fi was a true rarity. But since then, there have actually been a few that have made the list: District 9, Avatar, Inception, Her, Gravity and The Martian. But Arrival signals a new era – as it’s scored a massive 8 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

4. AN AUSTRALIAN FIRST

Tanna Movie
Source: [Contact Films]

Australia has had a stellar year for Oscar nominations – with Nicole Kidman, Mel Gibson and their films Lion and Hacksaw Ridge all up for consideration. But it is our country’s first ever nomination for Best Foreign Language Film that makes the record books.

How awesome is it that such a niche, specialist independent film like Tanna has had such international recognition and global impact? We congratulate the film-makers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler on their ground-breaking achievement.

5. STREAMING SERVICES PLAY WITH THE BIG GUYS

Manchester By The Sea
Source: [Amazon Studios]

Newest player in town, Amazon Studios beat Netflix and the others to be the first streaming service to score an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Manchester by the Sea has scored 6 nominations in all, tying with Lion and Hacksaw Ridge...and is a hot favourite to win Casey Affleck the Best Actor Oscar.

Pretty impressive considering Amazon Studios only launched in 2010. Can’t wait to see what they do next.

6. NON-STUDIO MOVIES DOMINATE

Moonlight Movie

There was a time when big-budget, studio funded movies dominated the Academy Awards. Not anymore. The majority of the movies nominated for Best Picture have been made outside the studio system – this is probably the most independent group of Best Picture nominees in years.

The top 8 categories are loaded with movies from the newer players in town, the mini-majors like Lionsgate or indie studios like A24 and Amazon Studios. 

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