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2017 Oscar Nominations: 'La La Land' Leads With 14, Including Best Picture


The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were announced this morning. NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco joins us now from Park City, Utah. That's where the Sundance Film Festival is taking place. She joins us to talk about all the news with the nominations. Hi, Mandalit.


MARTIN: So I understand that one of the pictures nominated for Best Picture actually premiered at Sundance - right? - last year, "Manchester By The Sea."

DEL BARCO: That's right, Amazon's "Manchester By The Sea." It's the first film from a streaming service to be nominated for best picture. But there are a total of nine nominees for that category this year. "La La Land," the musical love letter to Los Angeles, it got 14 total nominations including Best Picture. And that will compete for the top prize against "Moonlight," the coming-of-age story set in 1980s Miami.

Another movie adapted from a play was nominated for Best Picture, that was "Fences," which was adapted from August Wilson's Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play. Also the science fiction drama "Arrival" was nominated for Best Picture. So were "Hacksaw Ridge," "Hell Or High Water," "Lion" and "Hidden Figures," the film about three black women who worked for NASA and helped launch John Glenn into orbit.

MARTIN: All right, so those are the films nominated for Best Picture. What about the acting categories?

DEL BARCO: Well, you know, there weren't any really big surprises in this category or in those two categories, I should. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who star together and sing in "La La Land," they were both nominated for the lead acting categories. Denzel Washington, who directed and starred in "Fences," he also made the list. So did Casey Affleck from "Manchester By The Sea," Andrew Garfield from "Hacksaw Ridge" and Viggo Mortensen for "Captain Fantastic."

And among the actresses nominated were Ruth Negga for her role in "Loving," Natalie Portman, who portrayed Jackie Kennedy, the French actress Isabelle Huppert for "Elle" and Oscars sweetheart Meryl Streep, who made a strong political statement against Donald Trump onstage at the Golden Globes.

MARTIN: I mean, at this point it's now a big deal if Meryl Streep doesn't get nominated for something.

DEL BARCO: (Laughter) That's right. You know, Rachel, it's interesting to note that after criticism last year to the Oscars being so white, there were six black actors nominated in different categories this year.

MARTIN: OK, so let's talk about that. Diversity, as you mentioned, has been a big topic of conversation in Hollywood and beyond. What did we see on that front in the Best Director category?

DEL BARCO: Well, once again, not a single woman was nominated for best director. But one African-American man did make the list. Barry Jenkins, he wrote and directed the screenplay for "Moonlight." And that film actually has a total of eight nominations. But there were other nominees for Best Director - Denis Villeneuve for "Arrival," Mel Gibson for "Hacksaw Ridge," Kenneth Lonergan for "Manchester By The Sea" and Damien Chazelle for "La La Land."

MARTIN: OK, and lastly, what about Best Documentary film?

DEL BARCO: Well "O.J.: Made In America," that did play in theaters, so it could qualify for an Oscar. But it was a multi-part series that also aired on ESPN. And that will compete against a documentary called "I Am Not Your Negro," "Fire At Sea," "Life, Animated" and "13th," that's Ava DuVernay's documentary about the 13th Amendment and the prison industrial complex in America.

MARTIN: NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco. She talked to us from KPCW, our member station in Park City, Utah. Thanks, Mandalit.

DEL BARCO: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.