Bill Mechanic has had many Hollywood lives. He's the former chairman and chief executive of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment, he oversaw the video release of "Fantasia" and other animated classics for Disney, he co-produced "Coraline" (2005) and Terrence Malick's "The New World" (2005), and in 2010 he co-produced the Academy Awards show.
Certainly during Mechanic's tenure as head of Fox, the studio was nominated for and won many Oscars -- he was in charge when "Titanic" won 11 Academy Awards, tying with "Ben-Hur" and "The Lord of the Rings" for the record for most wins. Now, however, with the nomination of Mel Gibson's "Hacksaw Ridge" for a best picture Oscar, he could win an Academy Award of his own as one of the film's co-producers.
Shortly after the nominations were announced on Tuesday, we reached Mechanic, who described his morning watching the academy's livestream:
"When Andrew [Garfield] got in -- and I think it would have been a crime if he didn't -- I thought maybe things would be OK. You don't know," he said. "This was definitely a film that had to overcome a lot of stuff to get in. Only by the quality of the movie being so strong did the love overcome the hate."
Garnering critical acclaim for her work in both Paul Verhoeven's "Elle" and Mia Hansen-Løve's "Things to Come," 2016 was already a banner year for French actress Isabelle Huppert.
After earning her first Academy Award nomination for her performance in Verhoeven's film about a woman's complicated journey post-assault, Huppert spoke to The Times about what gives her nomination for "Elle" special resonance and what lies ahead in her storied career.
Where were you when you learned about your nomination?
Andrew Garfield has been busy this past year, delivering performances in two of the year's best movies, "Silence" and "Hacksaw Ridge." The critical acclaim of his turn in the Mel Gibson-directed picture nabbed him an Oscar nomination Tuesday morning for best actor.
Shortly after the announcement, Garfield spoke with The Times from London about the recognition:
If you're both an avid reader and a committed movie buff, you can pass the time before the 89th Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 26 by dipping into the sources of the adapted screenplay nominees. But you won’t be reading any novels.
Two nonfiction books, two plays and one short story inspired the Oscar nominees for Adapted Screenplay: “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion” and “Moonlight.”
For the first time since 2013, none of the nominated screenplays this year is based on a novel. Here’s more about each of the nominees.
"Arrival" producer, Shawn Levy called in from the Upside Down while directing on the set of Netflix's "Stranger Things" to talk about the, ahem, arrival of the movie's many Oscar nominations.
This is a big day for “Arrival.” Did you see it coming?
It’s a good day! Given the ride we’ve been on since our festival premieres in the fall, we certainly hoped that it might all lead to a day like today. It was never something we contemplated over the past five years that it took to get this movie made, but seeing the reaction to our film, both commercially and critically, it definitely stoked the flames of hope. And today has us over the moon happy.
For director Michaël Dudok de Wit, seeing his film "The Red Turtle" get nominated for an Oscar for animated feature was a shock. "The competition was really strong," he said from his home in London. "I knew our film had a chance. It was unlike any of the other films. But many other films had a huge chance, I think. I was honestly quite nervous!
"On top of that, another French film was nominated, 'My Life as a Zucchini,' also handmade like our film. 'Kubo' was mostly handmade as well. I’m just delighted with all the nominees and of course, for our film and my team."
How did the project first come together, from such disparate cultural backgrounds and influences?
This year's diversity in Oscar nominations extended beyond actors and filmmakers to media platforms. Amazon, ESPN and Google are not names one normally associates with the Academy Awards but they may find themselves being thanked from the podium this year, and not just for gift cards in presenter swag bags.
Amazon dropped $10 million at Sundance last year for distribution rights to "Manchester by the Sea," an investment that certainly paid off -- on Tuesday, Amazon became the first streaming service ever to produce a film nominated for best picture.
Netflix, which tried to break through last year with "Beasts of No Nation," once again had a documentary nomination in Ava DuVernay's "13th," but "Manchester's" six nominations -- best picture, actor (Casey Affleck, who won the Golden Globe), actress (Michelle Williams), supporting actor (Lucas Hedges), director and original screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan) -- mark streaming's first foray into features.
Not to rain on the parade of this year's many highly worthy Oscar nominees, but the fact is, most of the best picture nominees have not been all that widely seen, at least by the standards of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters.
As of Tuesday morning, none of the nine films nominated for best picture has crossed the $100 million mark at the domestic box office – so far.
While that's not unprecedented, it's only the fifth time that's been the case in the past 20 years. (In 2009, the motion picture academy expanded the best picture race from five nominees to as many as 10, in large part to try to open the Oscars up to more broadly appealing films.)