La La Land, the movie musical which took more awards than any other film in history at the Golden Globes earlier this month, looks likely to repeat the trick at next month’s Oscars.
Damien Chazelle’s movie musical is up for 14 gold statues: best picture, director, actor, actress, original screenplay, cinematography, costume design, film editing, original score, original song (twice, for both City of Stars and Audition), production design, sound editing and sound mixing.
This puts it level with All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997). All About Eve went on to win six Oscars; Titanic took 11.
“I’m a little speechless,” said Chazelle, 32, whose next project is a Neil Armstrong biopic starring La La Land’s Ryan Gosling. “I’m filled with gratitude.”
Moonlight, Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age tale about a young black man at three stages of his life, came in joint second with eight nods, alongside Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi Arrival, which failed to land recognition for star Amy Adams.
Manchester by the Sea, Kenneth Lonergan’s drama about a grief-stricken Boston janitor, followed with six, alongside adoption drama Lion and Mel Gibson’s war epic Hacksaw Ridge.
Fences, Denzel Washington’s adaptation of the August Wilson play, took four, as did Hidden Figures, Theodore Melfi’s real-life tale of three pioneering black female mathematicians working at Nasa in 1962.
The spread of nominees seems diverse enough to ward off a third year of protests. The lack of a single acting nominee of colour in the 2016 and 2015 lists prompted widespread outrage.
The academy has taken radical action to address the issue, with 683 new invitees being 46% women and 41% people of colour. This brings the total number of voting members to over 7000; 500 more than Britain’s Baftas, and 6900 more than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who decide the Golden Globes.
Jenkins – at 37, only the third black director to be nominated in both the director and picture categories – said efforts needed to be made to ensure that “this year isn’t an aberration”.
“It’s lovely to see the work that’s nominated reflect the world at large,” he continued. “But it’s difficult: the films this year won’t be the same films as next year. We just have to be diligent and be mindful of these different voices and different kinds of work.”
Seven non-white actors are up for awards: Washington and Viola Davis for Fences, Ruth Negga for Loving, Dev Patel for Lion, Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali for Moonlight.
Bradford Young became the second black cinematographer to be nominated, for his work on Arrival, while Moonlight’s Joi McMillon became the first black female nominee for editing.
Almost all candidates for best documentary are African-American: Raoul Peck for I Am Not Your Negro, Ezra Edelman for OJ: Made in America, Roger Ross Williams for Life Animated and Ava DuVernay for 13th, a shocking study of prison prejudice in the US.
It is fancied to take the prize following DuVernay’s snub for Martin Luther King drama Selma a few years ago. They are joined by Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea about the impact of the migrant crisis on the small Italian island of Lampedusa.
Another record was broken in the best actress category, with Meryl Streep beating her own total of 19 Oscar nominations to make it 20 for the title role as a deluded singer in Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins.
She will compete alongside Loving’s Ruth Negga, Emma Stone for La La Land, Natalie Portman for Pablo Larrain’s Jackie Kennedy biopic, and Isabelle Huppert. She won the Golden Globe as a formidable Parisian who takes unusual revenge on her rapist in Paul Verhoeven’s controversial comedy/drama Elle.
The best picture nomination for Manchester By the Sea marks a first for its backer Amazon, the first streaming service in the running at the Oscars.
The Academy broke with tradition for the announcement. The categories were read out by previous nominees including Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Marcia Gay Harden and Jason Reitman in an audience-free environment, instead of the usual press conference.
The Oscars will be presented at a February 25 ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Following the positive reaction to Meryl Streep’s speech attacking Donald Trump at the Globes, it is expected to be a highly political occasion.