Award season is about celebrating movies in all their glory. It's about paying homage to the stories and the storytellers. It's about remembering why we go to these films in the first place (to connect with people, duh.)
But it's also about competition. Success would not be nearly as sweet if it weren't measured against the success of others. Call it cynical, but who cares? America loves a good competition. Imagine a world in which we simply watched movies, without pitting Ryan Gosling against Andrew Garfield in a fight for glory. Yawn city.
And this year's award season really delivers. The Golden Globes may have seemed like it was all La La Land all the time—and the musical's 14 nominations only further that argument—but the Oscars are shaping up to be pretty dramatic.
There are snubs and surprises, like the great travesty of Amy Adams not being acknowledged for her work in Arrival. There are Sophie's Choice-esque decisions to be made, such as whether to give Best Picture to Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea (see what we did there?). There are major head-scratchers, such as the moment the words Suicide Squad were uttered during the nominations presentation. And no, that wasn't a mistake.
Figuring out how to keep all this contention straight is a full-time job, but luckily for you it actually is our full-time job. Behold, the official award season scorecard, offering up everything you need to know about this year's head-to-head.
There's a lot to digest here, so we'll walk you through it. First, we should give shoutouts to Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge and Hidden Figures for receiving the top nomination in all the major award shows, with special recognition going to La La Land for its 23 noms across the SAG Awards, Golden Globes and Oscars. And, of course, we should take a moment of silence for Deadpool, whose award season run ended all too soon.
Every single film in the Best Picture category will make you cry buckets, whether it's because of sheer devastation or utter happiness, but only Hidden Figures will get you for both emotions. It takes a special kind of movie to make audiences both deliriously giddy and incredibly upset.
And while this is seemingly one of the more inclusive award seasons, with films about women, people of color, and women of color all receiving recognition in all the major shows, we wouldn't be the Debbie downers that we are if we didn't point out that there are still a fair amount of movies on the docket that feature only white men (we should take this moment to point out that no one can decide whether the aliens in Arrival count as diversity or not). Now we know that settings like the 1962 White House and Manchester, New Hampshire (or anywhere in New Hampshire) aren't exactly bastions of diversity, but still. Would it have killed La La Land to throw some more inclusive characters into the mix? It wasn't exactly representative of the Los Angeles we live in.
And, finally, the nightmares. Oh, the nightmares. If you've already seen many of this year's contenders, you'll know what we're talking about; if you haven't, just know that you can recognize current film buffs by their swollen eyes and dreary dispositions, because none of us have gotten any sleep since we bore witness to Amy Adams being groped through glass by something we can only describe as a distance relative of Aragog from Harry Potter, or to Reynolds' post-accident "skin." It almost makes Sunny Pawar's train ride seem like a Disney Land attraction.
But, now that we've finally collected ourselves, the only thing to do is sit back and let the fight begin.
(Originally published on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. PDT.)