Posted on February 2, 2017
Every year there are a slew of award ceremonies, but none of them quite compare to the highly anticipated Academy Awards (aka: The Oscars).
Live coverage for the Oscars starts at 7 p.m. on February 26, 2017 on ABC.
2017 Nominees for Best Picture
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: “Denis Villeneuve directed this science-fiction suspense film about Earth’s response to a possible alien invasion. After extraterrestrial spacecraft plant themselves at various locations around the globe, a linguist (Amy Adams) and a theoretical physicist (Jeremy Renner) must find a way to communicate with the mysterious visitors in order to learn what they want and whether they pose a threat to humanity. Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg co-star.” ~ Violet LeVoit, AllMovie
If you like this film, then you may also enjoy this interesting article (warning – contains spoilers):
How the short story that inspired Arrival helps us interpret the film’s major twist – The Verge
You may also enjoy the short story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, which is included in the anthology entitled Best of the Best : 20 years of the Year’s Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois.
8 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde and Aaron Ryder) Best Director (Denis Villeneuve) Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer) Best Sound Editing (Sylvain Bellemare) Best Sound Mixing (Claude La Haye and Bernard Gariépy Strobl) Best Cinematography (Bradford Young) Best Film Editing (Joe Walker) Best Production Design (Paul Hotte and Patrice Vermette)
Directed by Denzel Washington
Starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play Fences by August Wilson.
Synopsis: “Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centers on a black garbage collector named Troy Maxson in 1950s Pittsburgh. Bitter that baseball’s color barrier was only broken after his own heyday in the Negro Leagues, Maxson is prone to taking out his frustrations on his loved ones. Both Washington and co-star Viola Davis won Tonys for their performances in the 2010 revival of the play. Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, and Mykelti Williamson round out the supporting cast.” – Jack Rodgers, AllMovie
4 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Todd Black, Scott Rudin and Denzel Washington) Best Actor (Denzel Washington) Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis) Best Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson)
|Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Directed by Mel Gibson
Starring Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington and Luke Bracey.
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: It’s the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he singlehandedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers.
6 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Bill Mechanic and David Permut) Best Director (Mel Gibson) Best Actor (Andrew Garfield) Best Sound Editing (Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright) Best Sound Mixing (Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell and Andy Wright) Best Film Editing (John Gilbert)
|Hell or High Water (2016)
Directed by David Mackenzie
Starring Dale Dickey, Ben Foster, Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges.
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: A divorced West Texas dad and his ex-con brother resort to a desperate money making scheme in order to save their family’s farm from foreclosure.
4 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Carl Hacken and Julie Yorn) Best Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges) Best Original Screenplay (Taylor Sheridan) Best Film Editing (Jake Roberts)
|Hidden Figures (2016)
Directed by Theodore Melfi
Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe.
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Based on the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly available in Print, Large Print, Audiobook, eBook and eAudiobook.
Synopsis: “Three female African-American mathematicians provide crucial calculations for NASA’s space race against the Soviets, all while dealing with the racist and sexist assumptions of their white co-workers. Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons co-star in this adaptation of the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly.” ~ Jack Rodgers, AllMovie.
If you enjoy this film, you may also enjoy the soundtrack.
3 Academy Award Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay (Allison Schroede and Theodore Melfi) Best Picture (Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams, Theodore Melfi) Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer)
|La La Land (2016)
Directed by Damien Chazelle
Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: “Struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and aspiring jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) begin a whirlwind romance as they both pursue their dreams in Los Angeles. However, their blossoming relationship is challenged when their careers pull them in different directions. Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) wrote and directed this musical love story, which co-stars John Legend, J.K. Simmons, and Rosemarie DeWitt.” ~ Daniel Gelb, AllMovie
If you enjoy this movie, you may also enjoy the soundtrack – stream via hoopla or check it out on CD from your local library.
13 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture Best Director (Damien Chazelle) Best Actor (Ryan Gosling) Best Actress (Emma Stone) Best Original Screenplay (Damien Chazelle) Best Original Score (Justin Hurwitz) Best Original Song – “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and “City of Stars” Best Sound Editing (Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan) Best Sound Mixing (Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow) Best Production Design (David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco) Best Cinematography (Linus Sandgren) Best Costume Design (Mary Zophres) Best Film Editing (Tom Cross)
Directed by Garth Davis
Starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman.
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: “In this adaptation of the memoir A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, a five-year-old Indian boy is adopted by an Australian couple after he gets lost in Calcutta. Years later, he struggles with his memories of his birth family, and decides to begin a search for them. Dev Patel stars as the adult Brierley in this drama directed by Garth Davis. Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, and Rooney Mara co-star.” ~ Daniel Gelb, AllMovie.
6 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Iain Canning, Angie Fielder and Emile Sherman) Best Supporting Actor (Dev Patel) Best Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman) Best Adapted Screenplay (Luke Davies) Best Original Score (Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka) Best Cinematography (Greig Fraser)
|Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
Starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: “A hardened handyman named Lee (Casey Affleck) returns to his hometown in New England after the death of his brother (Kyle Chandler) to care for his 16-year-old nephew (Lucas Hedges), but his arrival also unearths his checkered past. Soon, Lee comes back into contact with his estranged wife (Michelle Williams) as he deals with life in his tight-knit former community. Kenneth Lonergan directed this family drama.” ~ Daniel Gelb, AllMovie
6 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward and Kevin J. Walsh) Best Director (Kenneth Lonergan) Best Actor (Casey Affleck) Best Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges) Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams) Best Original Screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan)
Directed by Barry Jenkins
Starring Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp and Duan Sanderson
Formats: DVD | Blu-ray
Synopsis: “This drama charts the life of a black gay youth named Chiron as he grows up in a rough neighborhood in Miami. In the first segment, Chiron is a ten-year-old nicknamed “Little” (Alex Hibbert) who is taken in by a kindhearted Cuban drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend (Janelle Monáe). In the middle installment, a teenage Chiron (Ashton Sanders) explores his sexuality as he falls in love with a close friend. The final chapter follows Chiron in his twenties (Trevante Rhodes) as he reconnects with faces from his past. Directed by Barry Jenkins, Moonlight was adapted from a short play called In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney.” ~ Jack Rodgers, AllMovie
8 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Adele Romanski ) Best Director (Barry Jenkins) Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris) Best Adapted Screenplay (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney) Best Original Score (Nicholas Britell) Best Cinematography (James Laxton) Best Film Editing (Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders)
Intrigued? Explore the The Complete List of Nominees for the 89th Academy Awards.
Learn more about the history of the Academy Awards (aka: The Oscars)
|85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards by Robert Osborne
A deluxe, year-by-year chronicle of the Academy Awards, with an entertaining text, hundreds of star-studded photographs, and complete lists of the nominees and winners.
85 Years of the Oscar, newly revised and expanded, is the official history of the Academy Awards. Following an introductory chapter on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the birth of the Oscars, the book presents the story of each year’s awards, beginning with the very first, for the years 1927?28. Author Robert Osborne surveys the movies in competition, recounts the speculation on various winners, and describes events during the awards ceremony. He also provides a complete listing of the all the nominees and winners in every category.
Each year is illustrated with evocative stills from winning films and candid shots from the awards ceremony. Altogether, the book features more than 750 rare photographs, including original movie posters for every best picture. Drawing on Osborne’s profound knowledge of film, the Academy’s exceptional archives, and the personal reminiscences of stars from Katharine Hepburn to Clint Eastwood, 85 Years of the Oscar is unrivaled in illustration, accuracy, and completeness.
|The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History by Gail Kinn and Jim Piazza
The Academy Awards invites us to share in the celebration of 86 years of best actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers, costume designers, and more, plus the greatest films in movie-making history. All of the winners and the losers of Hollywood’s prestigious award ceremony are covered here in detail, together with all of the glamour and gossip that is the Oscars®.
Written by film experts Jim Piazza and Gail Kinn, who are sought out by the media every year for their insider knowledge of movies and Hollywood, The Academy Awards is both a handy reference and a detailed history of the annual event. Organized by year, beginning with the very first awards given in 1927, The Academy Awards presents in each chapter a complete and fun-to-read overview of the ceremony, including highlights of the most memorable moments (and outfits!) of the evening. Piazza and Kinn also provide details and little-known facts about award winners for best picture, best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress, and honorary awards, plus a complete list of nominees in every category.
Packed with more than 500 photographs from the ceremonies and red carpet, as well as stills from the movies themselves, this unauthorized book delivers what fans want most: all the facts, enhanced by juicy commentary and pictures galore.
|Bringing up Oscar: The Story of the Men and Women Who Founded the Academy by Debra Ann Pawlak
The founders of the now world-famous Academy were a motley crew of individuals. Despite their differences, when they first converged in Hollywood, then just a small town with dirt roads, sparks flew and fueled a common dream: bring artistic validity to the new artistic medium that they so carefully shaped.
Today, movies are so ingrained in our culture it is hard to imagine a time when former cowpokes, gold prospectors, vaudevillians and even junk dealers made up the rules as they went along. Throughout Prohibition, several recessions and two world wars, the business of filmmaking was rife with murders, drug scandals, illicit affairs and struggles with censorship. Something had to be done. And so on January 11, 1927, thirty-six members of Hollywood’s elite came together at the behest of MGM chief Louis B. Mayer. From flamboyant director Cecil B. DeMille and “America’s Sweetheart” Mary Pickford, to Harry M. Warner, who once owned a bicycle shop, and Raoul Walsh, who claimed he had once worked as an amateur anesthesiologist-each guest was more colorful than the last. Although they didn’t know it yet, these thirty-six achievers and dreamers would soon give birth to a golden child.
Who were these movers and shakers that changed movies forever? And what about Oscar, their famous son? He is fast approaching his 100th birthday, and is still the undisputed king of Hollywood. Yet with such dynamic parents, what else could one expect?
|The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards by Steve Pond
An unprecedented look at the machinations behind everyone’s favorite Hollywood circus and what it reveals about the business of moviemaking.
Oscar parties. Oscar pools. Oscar style. Oscar predictions. The Oscars breed their own peculiar mania and a billion people worldwide are alleged to watch the broadcast every year. While that figure may be the Academy’s big white lie, the Oscars draw a viewership well into the hundreds of millions–a tremendous audience for what is essentially a television program. But this is no ordinary show. Love it or loathe it, the Oscars are an irresistible spectacle: a gloriously gaudy, glitzy, momentous, and foolish window into the unholy alliance of art and commerce that is the film industry. The Oscar statuette is a totem of such potency that millions are spent and careers laid on the line in the reckless pursuit of an eight-pound chunk of gold-plated britannium.
The Big Show is a chronicle of the past fifteen years of the Academy Awards, the most tumultuous decade in Oscar’s seventy-six year history. Written by the only journalist ever given carte blanche access to the planning, production, and backstage intrigue of the Oscars, it offers an unguarded, behind-the-scenes glimpse of this singular event, along with remarkable insight into how the Oscars reflect the high-stakes politics of Hollywood, our obsession with celebrities (not to mention celebrities’ obsession with themselves), and the cinematic state of the union.
Learn more about Movies and Movie Stars
|TCM Classic Movie Trivia: Featuring More than 4,000 Questions to Test Your Cinema Smarts foreword by Robert Osborne
This is the definitive movie trivia book, from the authority on classic film. Rediscover your favorite films and put your movie knowledge to the test with more than 4,000 questions that draw on a century of landmark cinema. Questions range from early Hollywood to the 1960s and beyond, including key genres, stars, directors, behind-the-scenes facts, famous quotes, and more all highlighted by spotlight trivia features and hundreds of images and film stills. A foreword by TCM host Robert Osborne and a challenging Experts Only section round out this ultimate volume for classic film aficionados.
|Movie Star Chronicles: A Visual History of the World’s Greatest Movie Stars by Ian Haydn Smith
This in-depth guide to 330 of the world’s greatest stars from the silent era to the blockbusters of today contains entries featuring an insightful critique of a star’s career, supported by infographic timelines and stunning photographs. Twenty feature articles focus on popular trends in cinema, from western heroes to femme fatales and movie clowns.
|The Movie Book by Danny Leigh, consultant editor ; contributors: Louis Baxter, John Farndon, Kieran Grant, Damon Wise
The Movie Book, the latest in DK’s award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, profiles 100 of the best movies ever made throughout the world.
From classic 1930s film noir and Hollywood romance to international art-house and 21st-century sci-fi,The Movie Book brings the world’s most influential films to life with its illustrative design. Unforgettable quotes, film stills, and original posters and memorabilia transport you to the world of each film, while narrative timelines and infographics explore central themes, characters, actors, and directors.
Relive classics of the silent era, such as Nosferatu, along with wartime greats like Casablanca, transformative New Wave films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Easy Rider, and modern masterpieces like Do the Right Thing, City of God, and Gravity. Each movie is placed in the broader context of the industry and its key players, making it an invaluable resource for any film fanatic.
The Movie Book zooms in on the best cinematic masterpieces of all time and is a must-have for anyone with a passion for films and the history of cinema.
Big Ideas Simply Explained series uses creative design and innovative graphics, along with straightforward and engaging writing, to make complex subjects easier to understand. These award-winning books provide just the information needed for students, families, or anyone interested in concise, thought-provoking refreshers on a single subject.
If you like this blog post, you may also enjoy And the Oscar goes to …, which features last year’s best picture nominees, books on movie history and world cinema.
Featured Image Credit: Oscars Through the Ages by Beacon (flickr, Creative Commons license, some rights reserved).
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