The Academy Award nominations are just around the corner, and we're naturally excited to see a few of our favourites get recognized for their work. Ryan Gosling is almost guaranteed an Oscar nod for La La Land, as is Emma Stone. Other front-runners include the movie Moonlight, Amy Adams for Arrival and Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea. But what if a few unexpected faces were nominated for their work in 2016? Here are five ultra-deserving films and A-listers that we hope the Academy recognises...
Ryan Reynolds for Best Actor in Deadpool
Deadpool was a passion project for Ryan and his hard work to get it made over the course of 10 years paid off. The action-packed comedy was easily the biggest breakout star of 2016. People have said the 40-year-old portrayed the comic book character with near precision in the film, and critics with the Telegraph said, "Ryan Reynold’s smart-talking antihero makes a profanely amusing addition to the X-Men universe." As an added bonus, the dad to two has said he'll create an epic reaction video for fans on social media if the film is nominated. (Also, Canada's golden Ryans (Gosling and Reynolds) in a room together? Yes please!)
Felicity Jones for Best Actress in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or A Monster Calls
2016 was a banner year for this 33-year-old actress. Not only did she dominate in her role as Jyn Erso in Rogue One (one of the best-selling movies of the year), she also won over critics with her portrayal of Lizzie in the fantasy flick A Monster Calls. It's clear the Academy is a fan of Felicity's, since she's been nominated for a Best Actress trophy in the past. So it would be amazing to see her recognized not only for her diverse body of work, but for her portrayal of strong female characters.
Kate Beckinsale for Best Actress in Love and Friendship
Speaking of strong women, we can't forget to acknowledge Kate's work in this Victorian-era dramedy as Susan, a free-spirited divorcee. So good is she in this role that she won over pretty much every critic out there. Roger Ebert summed up her performance best: "Susan is a great character, easily one of the meatiest parts Beckinsale's been given, and she tears into it. Her life force is so immense that it might remind you of how underused she is elsewhere -- how many roles she's played that require little of her besides posing and looking either pretty or formidable."
Ruth Negga for Best Actress in Loving
Jeff Nichols tasked himself with bringing one of America's most significant love stories to life in 2016's Loving. Luckily for the director, he cast the perfect acting team in Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton. While Joel did a fine job playing Richard Loving, it was Dublin-native Ruth that left audiences in tears with her performance as Richard's wife Mildred. And for a woman who once said, "I never fitted anywhere, in life or in Hollywood," it's time for her to take her place in Oscar's history.
Before the Flood for Best Documentary
The world needs more of Leonardo DiCaprio championing important causes like climate change. The actor brought his documentary to the Toronto International Film Festival in September and spoke candidly about his passion for this project. "The origins of wanting to do a movie like this was to give the scientific community a voice," he told the Toronto Sun. "We’ve long ignored the prediction of the scientific community. Ninety-seven percent of the scientific community agrees that we are contributing to the issue of climate change in such a major way that we are altering the course of the future as we know it. We’re risking not only our life on Earth, but future generations." Movie fans have said the film is "surprisingly moving."
Sia for Best Original Song Never Give Up in Lion
The beat of this song alone is enough of a reason to nominate it for an Oscar. But if you listen to the lyrics, the tune takes on a whole new meaning. The empowering ballad released alongside the drama Lion is a call to everyone to seek self-empowerment. Case in point is the chorus: "And I won't let you get me down / I'll keep gettin' up when I hit the ground / Oh, never give up, no, never give up no, no, oh."