The 2017 Oscar Nominations Don’t Matter

The year of 2016 in movies has thrust a few great films to the fore, and the recognition of their greatness has, for once, preceded the nominations and doesn’t depend on the Academy’s validation. Pretty much everyone knows that “Moonlight” is a major and enduring work of art, as is “Manchester by the Sea”; that “Hidden Figures” is insightful, inspiring, and sometimes truly inspired; and that “La La Land” is as sincere and squeaky-clean a Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag of Hollywoodland as Louis B. Mayer, Joseph Breen, and Jack Valenti could ever have dreamed up. Whether “Fences” wins anything or not, everyone knows that Viola Davis and Denzel Washington are great; everyone knows that Mahershala Ali is one of the finest contemporary actors; and everyone knows that, although “Deadpool” made a mint, there isn’t a recent superhero movie that, despite the genre’s often wondrous charms, can hold a candle to the year’s actual best movies.

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Related:
Highlights from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival
The 2017 Oscar Nominees in The New Yorker
Yance Ford’s Powerful Cinematic Memoir, “Strong Island”