This morning (if you're in America, that is), the nominations were announced for the eighty-ninth Academy Awards. Presented by a gaggle of previous winners including Brie Larson - who won Best Actress last year for 'Room' - and 'Pan's Labyrinth' director Guillermo del Toro, the nominations were mostly predictable - with a few curveballs thrown in for good measure. The big news is that 'La La Land' has scored a stunning 14 nominations, equalling the record set by 'Titanic'. You'd be a fool to bet against the audience-friendly musical on the big night.
Indeed, the Best Picture nominations are generally as you'd expect - those who predicted a dark-horse nom for 'Deadpool' or 'Rogue One' are going to be disappointed. But it's a strong list of films: 'La La Land', 'Moonlight', 'Arrival' and 'Manchester By the Sea' are all proven awards favourites, 'Hidden Figures', 'Fences' and 'Lion' are all strong choices that handily serve to undercut any potential accusations of #OscarsSoWhite bias, and 'Hell or High Water' and 'Hacksaw Ridge' keep the traditional white-dude bloc on side. Of these, the closest to a genuine surprise is 'Hell or High Water', but trust us, it won't win.
Elsewhere, the most pleasing surprise was Best Actress for Isabelle Huppert in 'Elle' - a towering turn, but the Academy don't generally reward people speaking in foreign, except in their own assigned category. Other shocks included Viggo Mortensen's Best Actor nod for 'Captain Fantastic' - a fairly small, defiantly lefty film that few would've tipped for glory - and a Visual Effects nomination for animated film 'Kubo and the Two Strings' - is this the first time a cartoon has been given an Effects nomination? Tell us in the comments below! Oh, and total weirdie 'The Lobster' snuck into Original Screenplay, rather wonderfully.
One person who's definitely going to be feeling pretty smug right now is Mel Gibson - a pariah in Hollywood just a few years back following a very public meltdown and some outrageous public comments, his Best Director nomination for the gushy wartime melodrama 'Hacksaw Ridge' proves Mel has been forgiven by Hollywood (you'll have your own opinion on whether that's a good thing). The good news is, his political opposite Meryl Streep has also been given a nod for Florence Foster Jenkins, so might sparks fly at the ceremony? Come on, Meryl, speak your mind!
And what are the big omissions? Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals' was spiteful and spiky, but many predicted it'd score one of the big nominations. It wasn't to be: Michael Shannon as Best Supporting Actor is the film's one big hope. We're sad to note that 'Love and Friendship' was left out entirely, as was last year's best comedy 'The Nice Guys'. Kelly Reichardt's magnificent 'Certain Women' really should've got something, if only a Screenplay nod. But with wonders like 'Manchester By the Sea', 'Moonlight' and 'La La Land' in contention, it's still looking like a strong year for Oscar.
The Oscars ceremony will be held on Feb 26, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. If you're a night owl, you can stay up late and watch along with us on Twitter @timeoutfilm. Or you can just check in to the Time Out blog first thing the next morning for news of all the winners, losers, outfits and selfies.