LOS ANGELES: Romantic showbiz musical La La Land topped the Oscars nominations list on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) with a whopping 14 nods, tying an all-time record, as black actors were honored in all acting categories for the first time.
Damien Chazelle’s whimsical tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Age of musicals scored nods for best picture, best director and for its two stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Its 10 other nominations came in nine categories.
The haul ties the film with Titanic and All About Eve for the most nominations ever.
“When you mention those movies, it makes my head spin even more than it’s spinning. I’m a little speechless,” Chazelle, in Beijing to promote his film, told trade magazine Variety.
In second place were sci-fi thriller Arrival and coming-of-age drama Moonlight, tied at eight nominations each.
The 89th Academy Awards will be held on February 26—the climax of Hollywood’s awards season, to be hosted by late night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel.
With a record six black actors nominated, this year’s crop clearly reflected a push by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters to show more diversity after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of the past two years that had prompted calls for a boycott of the annual bash.
Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are first-time nominees for Moonlight, while two-time winner Denzel Washington and multiple nominee Viola Davis are in the running again for their performance in Fences.
Also nominated are past winner Octavia Spencer, a best supporting actress candidate for Hidden Figures, and Ruth Negga, in the best actress category for Loving.
“This is not necessarily a message,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said about the list of nominees. “It really has to do with the talent. Each year, we recognize talents and films of a particular year. And this year has been just fabulous.”
La La Land will vie for best picture honors with eight other films, including Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures and .
For best actor, Gosling will battle for a golden statuette with Golden Globe winner Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) and Washington.
In the best actress category, France’s Golden Globe winner Isabelle Huppert was nominated for her performance in the rape-revenge thriller Elle, along with Stone, Negga, Natalie Portman (Jackie) and Meryl Streep, who earned her record-breaking 20th nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins.
In the best supporting actress category, Davis, Spencer and Harris will compete against past Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (Lion) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea), who was nominated three times before.
In the best supporting actor category, Ali will take on Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) and Dev Patel (Lion).