Now that we've had an opportunity to examine this year's Oscar nominations at length, here are a few brief thoughts on this year's shortlist...
Did we mention that Suicide Squad is now the Oscar-nominated Suicide Squad? It's competing against Star Trek: Beyond and A Man Called Ove (no, us neither) in the Makeup and Hairstying category. But we digress...
1. Mel Gibson is officially back.
After a series of unfortunate events, notably a 2006 DUI arrest and a series of despicable anti-Semitic and racist outbursts, Oscar winning director and one-time box-office magnet Mel spent most of the past decade as a veritable pariah, reduced to tacky bad guy roles in b-movie trash like Machette Kills and Expendables 3. That period in the wilderness - curiously appropriate for the man behind The Passion Of The Christ - officially ends today with Mel's bloody war movie Hacksaw Ridge (already a box-office success) landing six nominations, most notably Best Picture, Best Actor and - most notably - a Best Director nod for Gibson himself. Hollywood loves a comeback, and while Mel probably won't be collecting any trophies this time out, he's just signed with Hollywood super agency CAA and is planning a Passion sequel. It's almost like #oscarssowhite never happened... Almost.
A year after the Academy was rightfully taken to task for its woeful lack of diversity, and an extensive initiative to diversify the voting database, no less than seven actors of colour were nominated in the acting categories - with nominees in each category, for the first time ever - thanks to movies like Moonlight (six noms), Lion (another six), Fences (four) and Hidden Figures (three) - black directors also dominated the documentary film category. While we wouldn't suggest for a moment that formidable talents like Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Dev Patel and our own Ruth Negga won nominations for any reason other than the strength of their brilliant work, the desperate need to redress the balance after last year's all-Caucasian line-up has been successfully addressed... For now, at least.
3. La La Land is the first defining movie of the Trump era.
During the Great Depression, average American citizens sought refuge in the narcotic glare of the silver screen, as the Hollywood production line churned out all-singing, all-dancing musicals that transported audiences to a simpler, happier, shiner place. Now, writer-director Damien Chazelle started developing his La La Land script back when the concept of a President Trump was merely a punchline on The Simpsons; little did he know, after a lengthy struggle to bring the project to the screen, that it would provide the perfect antidote to The Donald's apocalyptic vision of the USA as a real-life version of The Purge. That said, prepare yourself for the inevitable back-la-la-lash (see hilarious Saturday Night Live sketch, above).
4. The Irish are still having a bit of a moment.
After 2016's watershed year for Irish film, driven by multiple nominations for Room and Brooklyn, back-to-back Irish nominees for Best Actress - last year Saoirse Ronan, this year the formidable Ruth Negga - is certainly not to be sniffed at, neither is a well-deserved nod for the brilliant costume designer Consolata Boyle (for Florence Foster Jenkins) and it's truly heartening to see a film as bold, brilliant and downright peculiar as The Lobster, produced by Dublin-based Element pictures, score a Best Original Screenplay nod. That said, Sing Street got robbed in the Best Song category. There, we said it.
5. 20-time (!) nominee Meryl Streep is totally rocking 2017.