The Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and it's no surprise that favorite "La La Land" is leading the list of contenders, with a record-tying 14 nominations. (After all, it took home every Golden Globe award it was nominated for.)
In addition to the continued love for the Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone musical, the Academy surprised moviegoers with more diverse categories but also a few snubs.
Amid a continued #OscarsSoWhite awareness campaign, the Oscars offered up many more people of color in the acting categories, particularly in the supporting actress nominations. The acting categories haven't seen as many diverse actors competing for the statue since 2007, when Forest Whitaker earned the Oscar for "The Last King of Scotland" and Jennifer Hudson won for "Dreamgirls."
This year, Viola Davis ("Fences"), Naomie Harris ("Moonlight") and Octavia Spencer ("Hidden Figures") are all vying for supporting actress, while Mahershala Ali ("Moonlight") and Dev Patel ("Lion") are competing for supporting actor. Denzel Washington ("Fences") is nominated for best actor, and Ruth Negga ("Loving") is nominated for best actress. That's in addition to the three African-American screenwriters nominated for awards: Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney ("Moonlight") are nominated for adapted screenplay, while the late playwright August Wilson ("Fences") is nominated for original screenplay. Not only that, but four of this year's best picture nominees feature diverse leading actors, and the documentary category includes four African-American nominees, such as Ava DuVernay ("13th").
After the Hollywood community protested the lack of diversity among 2015 and 2016 nominees, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is the only African-American on its Board of Governors, instituted changes that included adding more people of color to its voting ranks.
There were also some surprises in the nominations.
Let's just get this out of the way now. No "Finding Dory" for best animated film? While the category did include popular films "Moana" and "Zootopia," the "Finding Nemo" sequel didn't make the cut, even though it earned more than $1 billion at the global box office.
As far as the acting cateogories, Amy Adams, who was expected to land a nomination for the sci-fi "Arrival," was shut out, along with Annette Bening ("20th Century Women"). While Octavia Spencer was nominated for her role in "Hidden Figures," co-stars Taraji B. Henson and Janelle Monae were left empty-handed. Tom Hanks was also overlooked for his role in the biopic "Sully."
Directors Martin Scorsese ("Silence"), Clint Eastwood ("Sully") and Denzel Washington ("Fences") were also edged out by the competition.
The Oscars will air February 26 on ABC with Jimmy Kimmel as host.