While perhaps not a complete surprise, it was comforting to see the Academy, given past protests of its lack of diversity, recognize actors and films that reflect a multicultural US, from "Hidden Figures" and "Moonlight" (both with best picture and acting nods) to documentaries "OJ: Made in America" and "13th," which grapple with the country's deep history of racial division.
First the surprise nods: Michael Shannon getting a best supporting actor nomination for "Nocturnal Animals" is a shock for many. The movie basically lost steam during award season, but Shannon is one of the movie's brightest spots.
"Arrival" cinematographer Bradford Young's nomination is less of a surprise and more of a historic moment, as he's the first African-American to ever receive a nomination in the cinematography category. And he's very deserving. He's responsible for the lush look of the film that has captivated audiences to the tune of over $160 million worldwide. Hopefully he's celebrating on the set of the young Han Solo movie, which he's currently shooting.
Though the movie wasn't treated nicely by critics, "Suicide Squad" sneaked into this year's Oscar nominations with a best hair and makeup nod. Honestly, if it were to get any, that would be the one.
And Mel Gibson receiving a best director nomination proves that Hollywood has let him back into its inner sanctum after he was outcast for 10 years because of his anti-Semitic remarks in a DUI charge.
But there were also some big snubs. "Finding Dory" not receiving a best feature animation nomination is shocking given the film's universal success both critically and at the box office (it was the highest-grossing movie of 2016 in the US until "Rogue One"). Pixar movies are usually a no-brainier for the Oscars.
Amy Adams being denied a best actress nomination for "Arrival" is another bombshell. That it received honors for best picture and director but not for the star who carries the movie is certainly a head-scratcher.
In the best original song category, the shutout of "Sing Street" is a big disappointment. The movie had some of the best songs that you could find on the screen this past year.
And though we all had our fingers and toes crossed, it wasn't enough to get "Deadpool" any nominations. Yes, it was kind of a pipe dream, but its previous nominations from the Golden Globes and the writers' and producers' guilds gave us hope. It's really shocking not seeing it get any love in special effects or makeup.