The 2017 Oscar Nominations are Announced

See our predictions.

Surprise, surprise! The 2017 Oscar nominations were announced today, and, as we saw at the Golden Globes a couple weeks ago, the nominees are pretty much the same, despite one or two changes.

The main difference is that the Golden Globes' best picture and acting categories are separated by drama and comedy/musical, whereas the Academy Awards' are not. This means films like La La Land are up against powerhouses like Moonlight (both films won the GG for Best Picture in their respective genre).

But even though these films and actors are now running against each other, it's still clear to me which films are going to receive the awards.


Lead Actor

Both Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Ryan Gosling (La La Land) are nominated, and they both won the Golden Globe. While my first choice would be Denzel Washington for Fences, I think the Academy is going to choose Affleck. It was my prediction at the Globes, and it is my prediction now.

Lead Actress

While my prediction for Isabelle Huppert (Elle) came true for the Globes, I can't say for sure that it'll come true for the Oscars. The Academy has grown to love Emma Stone (La La Land), and since she did win at the Globes, there's a good chance she'll win here. While Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins) and Natalie Portman (Jackie) are both Oscar veterans, I think Stone will receive her first win this year. I didn't understand the hype everyone else bought into for La La Land, but Stone is one of my favorite actresses, and I'd be happy if she won.

Supporting Actor

I was elated to see Michael Shannon nominated for Nocturnal Animals. His was a performance that slipped under the radar. I was disappointed to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson snubbed for a nom, even though he won the Golden Globe. I suppose you can't have everything. Anyway, this category is a tough one for me to determine. My gut is telling me the Academy is going to pick Mahershala Ali (Moonlight). I found Moonlight to be incredibly slow and certainly undeserving to win the Globe over Fences. However, Ali's performance was the best of the cast, so I'm locking in my final answer.

Supporting Actress

I'm excited to see such a diverse selection for this category. While Nicole Kidman's (Lion) and Michelle Williams' (Manchester by the Sea) performances have been lauded heavily by critics, I believe the Academy is going to pick my Golden Globe prediction-come-true, Viola Davis (Fences). She's the most deserving and, by far, the most talented. I'd love to see her receive her first win for this compelling role.

Best Director

I've become such a huge fan of Damien Chazelle. Whiplash (2014) has quickly become one of my favorite films. But I was disappointed in La La Land. I think the Academy is going to pick him, but if it were up to me, I'd pick Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea).


Best Adapted Screenplay

It's deadlocked between Fences and Lion for me. Both films were beautiful, torturous and engaging. But, because I'm predicting Lion misses out on all these awards (as it did at the Globes), I really think Lion is deserving of this one. A) Because it's a heartbreaking true story and B) Because I've never seen a more inspiring film in my life.

Best Original Screenplay

As I've said again and again, I wasn't thrilled with La La Land. I love the vision Chazelle was aiming for, but it wasn't properly executed, in my opinion. However, I think the Academy will see differently. Next!


Best Original Score

All together now: La La Land! Those montages were underscored with beautiful melodies that had us floored. Composer Justin Hurwitz also worked on Whiplash, so you know I'm into it. This is one of a few nominations for La La Land I can get on board with.

Best Original Song

And this is one I cannot. As I've mentioned in a previous article, I am gunning for Lin-Manuel Miranda to win for Moana. He is officially EGOT nominated, but this win would secure that prestigious title for him. He is more than deserving of the award, and "How Far I'll Go" is a wonderful song! Hopefully the Academy sees that instead of La La Land.

And finally...Best Film

This is a tough category. The Academy isn't too keen on giving this award to musicals; the last musical that won was Chicago in 2002. Perhaps 15 years is what it takes. My first choice would be Manchester by the Sea, but based on La La Land's whopping 14 nominations, all roads seem to lead there.

The Academy Awards air live on CBS Feb. 26.


Why Tracee Ellis Ross' Golden Globe Win is Important

Ross won for ABC's "Black-ish."

At the Golden Globes on Sunday, we saw beautiful gowns, outstanding actors, proud producers, a class-act speech from Meryl Streep and so much more.

But there was something that happened during the awards show that we need to acknowledge.

Tracee Ellis Ross, of ABC's Black-ish, won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical. Why is this important? Not only was it her first nomination and win for the Golden Globes, but this is the first time a black woman has won this award since Debbie Allen in 1983. She won the award for Fame.

Thirty-four years have passed since the Golden Globes has recognized a black woman for this award. I suppose with #OscarsSoWhite trending last year, it's not that hard to believe.

Ross made an impassioned acceptance speech, dedicating the award to "women of color and colorful people, whose stories, ideas and thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important."

"I want you to know that I see you," she said. "We see you."

This win comes after years of oppression of people of color in Hollywood. However, Viola Davis and Donald Glover won in the acting categories for Fences and Atlanta, respectively, and Atlanta, Moonlight and The People vs. OJ Simpson won for comedy series, best drama film and limited series, respectively, on Sunday.

Ross was nominated among Issa Rae and Gina Rodriguez (who won in 2015) in her category. And as for the men? For the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Comedy or Musical, Glover won, as previously mentioned, among Gael Garcia Bernal and Anthony Anderson. Out of the five nominees, three were people of color (the others were Nick Nolte and Jeffrey Tambor), creating a majority of PoC.

Typically the Golden Globes give viewers a peek into the nominees and winners for the Academy Awards, which are just around the corner. Based on the Globes' results on Sunday, we can only hope the night will repeat itself — and then some — when the Academy Award nominations are announced Jan. 24 (the award show will air Feb. 26).

And as for Debbie Allen? She had some kind words to say to Ross:

Click here to see all the winners and nominees.


Why Snapchat is Changing the Game for Social Media

Because Facebook is for "old people."

In a world where Facebook holds a monopoly on every social interaction we have, it must be hard — to say the least — for other social networks to blossom. But there's one that has only been on the scene about five years, and it's here to stay. And that's Snapchat.

Launched in September 2011 by Stanford grads Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, Snapchat has taken the world by storm. What some thought was a fad that would simply fizzle in a few months has become one of the prime modes of communication.

But for those of you who are still stuck on Facebook, Snapchat is simple — send your friend a pic, and it disappears in 10 seconds or less.

So how has Snapchat become such a giant based on such a simple idea?


Snapchat has become so much more than that simple idea. In December 2012, users could send videos in addition to photos. In October 2013, the My Story feature was activated, meaning users could share their snaps on their "story," where all their followers could see them. And between then and now, Snapchat has added geofilters; face filters; the ability to slow, speed up and reverse videos, and more. Snapchat also acquired Bitstrips in 2016, which makes the Bitmoji app. So users can also send cute cartoons of themselves in their snaps. And when you thought Snapchat couldn't grow any more, it announced its first piece of hardware, Spectacles, this year. These are Snapchat's Google Glass-like glasses, which allow a user to take a video for up to 10 seconds, through their own eyes! Spectacles are on sale for $130 at mysterious Snapchat Bots.


Another feature Snapchat offers is the ability to draw on the photos or videos you create. This feature has spawned countless Snapchat artists, who create cool works of art on their photos (some Snap artists to follow: @Georgio.Copter, @Miologie and @TurbanChino). There are also people who create art using the speed and reverse features, along with the filters, set to music and more (follow @Mcnamurrr to see what I mean).

It's not like other apps.

While Twitter and Instagram were trying to copy Facebook by taking bits and pieces of what Facebook offers, Snapchat came out of nowhere and created its own way of communicating. It's done such an incredible job of doing so that Facebook implemented "stories" for Instagram this year. And now the Facebook Messenger app recently launched what seems to be exactly Snapchat. Users can add festive filters, but on Facebook Messenger, they can also add filters and stickers based on their mood, holidays, etc., which is actually kind of neat. Nevertheless, Snapchat's influence is clear.

It's not just for individuals.

Nowadays, companies, TV shows and news sites are all urging followers to check them out on Snapchat, whether for deals, behind-the-scenes footage or for news. Groupon uses Snapchat to promote daily giveaways and coupon codes. The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon sometimes uses Snapchat to give away free tickets — if you can find their intern first. And almost every news site is integrated into Snapchat's Discover feature, including People, Cosmo and BuzzFeed. Whether or not Snapchat is effectively promoting these organizations is to be seen.

All the cool kids are using it.

There are few people I'm friends with on Facebook who are younger than 18. Do you want to know why? It's for "old people." Nowadays, teens are using Snapchat and Instagram (and god knows what else), and, naturally, teens are a key demographic for social networking sites. More than 100 million people use Snapchat — with their largest demographic being millennials. Good on you, Snap!

It's not exactly replacing anything.

While Snapchat is definitely a competitor for other social networking sites, there are still enough differences between Snapchat and Facebook that Facebook shouldn't have to worry about many users leaving. Snapchat isn't conducive for people to promote big announcements or add large volumes of photos. Meanwhile, people upload hundreds of photos into albums on Facebook. And I don't know about you, but I see most people announcing their engagements and pregnancies quite frequently on Facebook and Instagram.

Maybe Snapchat is peaking now, maybe it'll keep growing or maybe it'll fizzle next year. But no matter what happens, it's here, and it's revolutionizing the way we communicate.