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Why Amy Adams Deserved Oscar Attention for ‘Arrival’

Variety logo Variety 1/24/2017 Jenelle Riley
© Provided by Variety

Every year the Oscar nominations offer some surprises, and while this morning’s announcements found things pretty much business as usual, there were a few notable omissions and additions. But perhaps the biggest surprise was Amy Adams.

Set to land her sixth nomination for her work in “Arrival,” Adams was left off the list. It was an announcement that left many confused – including the Oscars website, reportedly. Adams’ name was originally listed on the website, according to several outlets.

Adams isn’t alone, of course. It was a fantastic year for lead actresses and other worthy actresses failed to land nods, as well, from Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures” to Annette Bening in “20th Century Women.” But what makes the Adams omission so glaring is that she seemed such a sure thing. She’s landed every major precursor along the way, including Golden Globe, Critics Choice, an SAG Award nominations. The film was also a hit both with critics and audiences; its current domestic gross stands at $95 million and the film itself landed eight nominations — tied with “Moonlight” for the second-most noms after “La La Land.” Quite simply put, without Adams, there is no “Arrival.” So it seems odd the Academy would laud a film so highly and ignore one of its top contributors.

Adams actually delivered fantastic performances in two 2016 films; her work in “Nocturnal Animals” was also stellar. But “Arrival” was something unique; a smart sci-fi film with an emotional core. Adams was completely believable as a linguistics professor brought in to communicate with aliens. She brought a wide-eyed enthusiasm combined with realism and gravitas to scenes where she was literally acting against nothing. And in scenes where she’s mourning the loss of her young daughter, Adams was absolutely heartbreaking.

When called upon to save humanity, there are few actresses that can live up to the task. Adams pulled it off with intelligence and heart.

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