Lights, Glamour, Politics and a Musical? Oscars 2017 are here

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The Oscars are always a monumental and often times pivotal time in the awards season. Not only is it the largest show to celebrate actors, actresses, and films that have made statements over the past year, but it is a platform for issues on the forefront of the country’s collective mind.

This year Jimmy Kimmel will be the Oscars host (AMPAS)

It is no secret that this past year has been placed a considerably sized wedge between the people of this great land due to a very tension and drama-filled election season. The drama created a plane for actors and actresses to highlight their talents and draw interesting parallels to the issues at hand. However, this year is probably the first time in several decades where the politics themselves took the stage more often than not while diversity came front and center.

Of course at any other time fans of the year’s best films didn’t think twice about whether or not their favorite director or actor would make it to the show. The Oscars are the pinnacle of the year and everyone knows how important it is to make an appearance. However, this year, due to an executive order from probably the most talked about President of our time, some appearances are being prohibited by an immigration travel ban. The order placed a ban on travelers from seven key countries, including Iran.

An Iranian filmmaker who has attended past awards shows, and who is nominated this year, will potentially be kept away this year due to the ban. While film is the focus, politics are showing their head in an ugly and outrageous way this season.

The Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars without the usual surprises, potential upsets and snubs. Some seasoned actors and actresses made their marks this year and their work proves why they are deemed the best there is. While many films that made their way onto the screen this year such as Fences and Manchester by the Sea give nods to their leading men, some films snubs were felt all throughout the spectrum.


From Best Actor to Best Picture, the list of surprises and snubs is quite long. Some notable surprises are Meryl Streep’s nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins. Earlier in awards season Streep took shots at President Trump and received his wrath as a result of her speech at the Golden Globes. Some hypothesize that maybe her stance provided the boost she needed for this nomination, but as history has shown, Streep is a force to be reckoned with and is an outstanding performer.

This awards season appears to also be one of forgiveness. In a shock to most moviegoers, Mel Gibson is nominated for Best Director for Hacksaw Ridge, but industry staples such as Martin Scorsese were left out. With surprises comes snubs and this year is no different. Although the season and Academy recognized some seasoned actors, they also forgot some big names which have people wondering where the show could potentially go this year in terms of winners.

Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington were both left out of major categories in respect to their films with Hanks missing the Best Actor nomination and Washington missing the Best Director nomination. Alike, many felt with the success of Hidden Figures that certainly Taraji P. Henson would be nominated for her portrayal of Katherine Johnson one of the pioneers of mathematics in the journey into outer space.

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in “Fences” (Paramount Pictures)

This year the Oscars have also done their due in making sure that all aspects are more diverse than in year’s prior. Several nominated films, actors and actresses are of color and it is clear the Academy wants to ensure that there is not another #blackout year at the Oscars. Several of the nominated Best Picture films, Hidden Figures, Fences and Moonlight all follow strong African American casts.

As if all the rest wasn’t enough, a musical could potentially steal the entire Oscar show! La La Land has taken the entire awards season by storm and many are left wondering how did it do it? Granted the cast is amazing, the moves are mesmerizing and the feat of getting a musical to the Oscars center stage hasn’t been done since Chicago in 2002. The feat of winning Best Picture as a musical isn’t impossible, but it is definitely rare to see at the Oscars. However, critics agree that this could be the year of La La Land. In the history of the Oscars, only 32 musicals have been nominated for Best Picture. Could La La Land join the club of the elite? We will just have to wait and see tonight!

This Oscar season also brought about the return of seasoned actors and actresses that the world has grown to love and admire. In Fences, we get the return of Denzel Washington in a role that was made for him. August Wilson’s tender story is highlighted by the outstanding performance of Washington and his warm, welcoming and always superb opposite played by Viola Davis.

Denzel Washington’s range is beyond measure and this film shows just how far he can reach. It is hoped that he will continue to go for the stars for many years to come. Similarly, Meryl Streep is up for her 20th nomination and her career and its span is that of legend. It seems that every piece of work Streep touches provides a monumental emotional and positive response from the masses. It is no wonder that her work ethic, amazing portrayals and incredible works of film have spanned decades. This awards season has paid homage to the greats of our time.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in “La La Land”

Last and certainly not least original songs were big this year in the industry. Some of entertainment’s greatest stars lent their talents to some of the biggest films of the year. Two of the industry’s top contenders, Justin Timberlake and Lin-Manuel Miranda, contributed catchy tunes that caught the ear of the Academy. Miranda gained worldwide recognition with his play Hamilton that ran on Broadway last year.

Timberlake, considered by many to be one of the greatest musicians of our time, changed up the course and although he has acted in films, he offered what we know from him so well, a great song, for the animated film Trolls.

The question now is could either Timberlake or Miranda add Oscar to their mantles with their first nods? Tonight is going to be all that and more! Catch the 89th Academy Awards tonight (Sunday, February 26, 2017) at 5:30 PST.