Blog post by Ross Munro for Wholly Cinema.

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The first takeaway from this morning’s Oscar nominations is that: Mel is forgiven, Amy is forgotten, and Meryl is…well, Meryl- no matter what she does she is a surefire nomination (no truth to the rumor that her next role will be acting out a series of three star reviews based on a charming two-bedroom Air B&B rental).

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Hollywood loves second chances and Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge”’s multi-nominations for Best Picture, Director and Actor for Andrew Garfield has cemented his status as the Prodigal Son returning to the cash-producing Tinseltown flock after Mel’s non-stop stumping on the awards trail for the goriest pro-pacifist movie ever made. I’m also guessing that the initial test screenings where the film’s cast all spoke in ancient Aramaic didn’t go too well…

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And what the Academy giveth they taketh away- just ask Amy Adams who, even though nominated five times previously, was denied today for what was ironically her best performance ever as “Arrival”’s speech specialist intent on teaching a new strain of alien on the benefits of verb conjugation.

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Chalk up another Best Actress nod for Meryl Streep- a record breaking 20th as she plays the ineptly warbling heroine who inspired the invention of auto-tune in “Florence Foster Jenkins”. This Academy perennial shows no signs of slowing down with age and is currently in talks to reprise her role in “Mama Mia 2- The Dancing Queen vs Freddy Krueger”.

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The biggest winner today for sure was whiz kid auteur Damien Chazelle’s homage to the great Hollywood musicals of yesteryear “La La Land” (a record-tying 14 noms!) with my fellow Canuck Ryan Gosling playing the world’s most handsome man struggling to make ends meat as a jazz musician as he meets equally uber-struggling actress Emma Stone (fresh from her thespian tribulations in “Birdman”) as they float across the sky together in a fireworks of song and dance. Be sure to arrive early so as not to miss the opening dance scene on a gridlocked LA freeway as a swarm of beautiful people audition for a Gap commercial…

Speaking of fellow Canucks, it’s good to see Denis Villeneuve get a Best Director nod for “Arrival”. Now hard at work with Gosling on “Blade Runner 2049”, it appears Hollywood is ready to anoint the Quebecois filmmaker with the mantle of the new Ridley Scott as they hand him the keys to the Big Budget kingdom of cinematic tent poles for the thinking man.

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Surprisingly, Michael Keaton (and the entire film) of “The Founder”- depicting the origins and subsequent rise of the MacDonald’s hamburger chain and the mystery of why they make their coffee so hot- was completely ignored this year. Originally forseen as a big player on the awards circuit, the film’s lack of success may lead to a re-think over the concept of MacDonald’s all day breakfast (or at the very least a long-awaited revamp of the McRib…).

So just what are my winning predictions for the Class of 2016? It says here that “La La Land” takes Best Picture, Actress and Director- and probably most of the other awards it’s up for. But then again- don’t count out the Little Film That Could: “Moonlight” or “Manchester By The Sea” with its lead Casey “Don’t Call Me Ben” Affleck a mortal lock for Best Actor.

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Condolences for All Universe filmmaker Martin Scorsese who has to endure the sounds of “Silence” with a mere lone nomination and while Viggo Mortensen was able to score a surprise Best Acting nod for playing a man living “off the grid” in the woods (basically a more tender and loving version of the Unibomber) in “Captain Fantastic”- sadly, nothing for the Brown Dirt Cowboy…

Viva La Cinema!