Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Nominations: Hit me harder, I can still hear them.

Oscar nomination morning is like Christmas: There's tons of build up and anticipation, but sometimes the things you wanted just aren't under the tree. Such is the case this year. Oh well. Let's get to it, shall we? I'll put an asterisk next to the ones I predicted correctly.

Best Picture
The Artist*
The Descendants*
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help*
Midnight in Paris*
The Tree of Life*
War Horse
Nine nominees, and they managed to fit at least three mediocre films in there. Kudos, I guess? When I said that I figured Extremely Loud... had to show up somewhere, I didn't really mean it to this extent. They could have made worse choices for best picture, but not by that much. Toss in The Help and War Horse, and we've got some stunningly uninteresting choices. All I can say is thank goodness The Tree of Life made it in.
Early winner prediction: The Artist

Best Director
Woody Allen-Midnight in Paris*
Michel Hazanivicius-The Artist*
Terrence Malick-The Tree of Life*
Alexander Payne-The Descendants*
Martin Scorsese-Hugo*
Five for five, and yay Terrence Malick! I'm so happy he got recognized here. And I suppose this lineup could be worse. It's hardly the lineup I would have picked, but at least the unholy trinity (Help, Extremely Loud..., War Horse) didn't show up here.
Early winner prediction: Michel Hazanivicius-The Artist

Best Actor
Demian Bichir-A Better Life
George Clooney-The Descendants*
Jean Dujardin-The Artist*
Gary Oldman-Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Brad Pitt-Moneyball*
This was a hugely surprising category this year. It's fun to see Bichir and Oldman in here, but certainly not at Michael Fassbender's expense *despair*. At least Leonardo Dicaprio didn't make it in!
Early winner prediction: George Clooney-The Descendants

Best Actress
Glenn Close-Albert Nobbs*
Viola Davis-The Help*
Rooney Mara-The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep-The Iron Lady*
Michelle Williams-My Week with Marilyn*
Well, Rooney Mara slides in after all. I haven't seen Tilda Swinton's performance in We Need to Talk About Kevin, so I'm not sure how disappointed I should be. Similarly, I haven't seen Albert Nobbs, so I can't show as much annoyance at Glenn Close getting in as other bloggers can. Give me time though; I'm sure I'll come to hate it as much as the next guy.
Early winner prediction: Viola Davis-The Help

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh-My Week with Marilyn*
Jonah Hill-Moneyball
Nick Nolte-Warrior*
Christopher Plummer-Beginners*
Max Von Sydow-Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I hate, hate, hate that Albert Brooks missed for Drive, particularly when Jonah Hill did, in fact, make it. Y'know, I originally had Von Sydow in my predicted five, but then I saw the movie and thought there was no way it would happen. Maybe I saw a different movie than the Academy?
Early winner prediction: Christopher Plummer-Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo-The Artist*
Jessica Chastain-The Help*
Melissa McCarthy-Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer-Albert Nobbs*
Octavia Spencer-The Help*
How strange is it that we can now call a performance that involves pooping into a sink an oscar-nominated achievement? Not that I'm complaining. I love Bridesmaids, so I'll take anything it can get. I'm a little surprised that Shailene Woodley/The Descendants missed, but them's the breaks.
Early winner prediction: Octavia Spencer-The Help

Original Screenplay
The Artist*
Margin Call*
Midnight in Paris*
A Separation
Really surprised that 50/50 didn't make it here, but it's really fun to see A Separation get in. Ditto Bridesmaids; if Kristen Wiig can't break into the lead actress race, the least she deserves is a writing nomination.
Early winner prediction: Midnight in Paris

Adapted Screenplay
The Descendants*
The Ides of March
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy
No Help? This morning definitively showed us that The Help might not have been the Oscar Juggernaut we were all expecting, and that Tinker, Tailor... had more support than originally anticipated. Glad to see The Ides of March make it; it's not a great movie, but it is a well-written one.

Art Direction
The Artist*
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2*
Midnight in Paris
War Horse
A few surprises here. I though Midnight in Paris had a chance in a tech category, but I figured Costume Design was its most likely place. Also did not expect War Horse to make it in, because it relies so heavily on exteriors instead of elaborate sets. And since they're in the same category, I think this is a good time to float my opinion that Harry Potter is a far more interesting British war movie than War Horse. Just saying.
Early winner prediction: Hugo

Costume Design
The Artist*
Jane Eyre*
As I expected, the Academy just couldn't turn down Anonymous's Elizabethan antics, nor, apparently, could they turn down nominating at least one awful movie per year in this category. Hello W.E.!
Early winner prediction: Hugo

Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2*
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes*
Transformers: Dark of the Moon*
What the hell is Real Steel doing here? And at the expense of The Tree of Life? This is the worst. How did The Tree of Life not make it here? This makes me sad.
Early winner prediction: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2*
The Iron Lady*
Yay Harry Potter! I really wish Harry Potter had showed up in more places this morning, but I'll just have to celebrate it landing wherever it can.
Early winner prediction: The Iron Lady

Film Editing
The Artist*
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*
Not sure I'm thrilled with this category. I probably should have predicted The Descendants in this race. The fact that it showed up here means it's not yet dead in the Best Picture race.
Early winner prediction: The Artist

The Artist*
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo*
The Tree of Life*
War Horse*
I'm fine with most of these nominees (Tree of Life!), but I really see no need for War Horse to show up here at the expense of more competently shot films. Such is the draw of Spielberg, I guess. Even when he doesn't do his best, his movies are still awards magnets.

Original Score
The Adventures of Tintin
The Artist*
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
War Horse*
I suppose I'm ok with this lineup. My favorites, like Hanna and Attack the Block never had a chance here anyhow, though I'm sad Harry Potter didn't make it here. I almost predicted Tinker, Tailor, but switched at the last minute because 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' had to show up somewhere. ....Well, it did. At 48%, that movie's got to have just about the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score of any Best Picture nominee ever.
Early winner prediction: The Artist

Sound Mixing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon*
War Horse*
Moneyball showing up here suggests a hitherto unsuspected love for that film among the Academy. Does that mean something? Is it going to sneak in and steal screenplay or actor from The Descendants? I hope so, honestly.
Early winner prediction: War Horse

Sound Editing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon*
War Horse*
Drive's nomination, its only one of the morning, almost feels like a slap to the face. I mean, I'd like to say it's better than nothing, but I might have preferred it to have been ignored by the Academy, rather than tossed one little bone. I'd like to further lament the absence of Harry Potter in the sound categories. Someone really needs to explain to me how Hugo's sound design is more deserving of recognition.
Early winner prediction: War Horse

Original Song
"Man or Muppet"-The Muppets
"Real in Rio"-Rio
Only two nominees, and I didn't guess either of them correctly. That's got to be some kind of record for me. On a related note, why on earth are there only two nominees?
Early winner prediction: "Man or Muppet"-The Muppets

Animated Film
A Cat in Paris
Chico and Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2*
Puss in Boots*
In a move I should have anticipated, arthouse fare dominated this category, in a year when most of the studio stuff failed to impress. As expected, Tintin failed to show up here, most likely due to the branch's dislike of motion-capture animation. I'm glad Cars 2 didn't make it--it was pretty awful, and the last thing Pixar needs is validation for acting on their worst instincts.
Early winner prediction: Rango

Foreign Language Film
In Darkness-Poland*
Monsieur Lazhar-Canada*
A Separation-Iran*
Israel continues its spectacular nomination streak in this category, and A Separation continues its march toward Oscar glory. Surprised to see Bullhead here: I haven't seen it, but allegedly it's a thoroughly atypical nominee, so that's fun.
Early winner prediction: A Separation

Documentary Feature
Hell and Back Again*
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory*
Really, really surprised that Project Nim didn't make the cut, sad that We Were Here didn't, and excited for Pina.
Early winner prediction: I have no idea. ....Paradise Lost, maybe?

Note: of the main nominees (ie not animated, foreign, or documentary), I haven't seen Albert Nobbs, Margin Call, A Separation, W.E., or Real Steel. Margin Call is sitting on my TV right now, so I'm confident I'll be able to see that one, and I'm sure Albert Nobbs will stagger into theaters in the near future. The others? I'm not sure if I'll be able to pick them up before Oscar night.

This was not a good prediction session for me. I missed a ton. Probably because I was expecting the Academy to be a little more interesting in their choices. My mistake, I suppose.

Here's a list of the 10 most nominated films:
1. Hugo-11
2. The Artist-10
3. Moneyball-6
4. War Horse-6
5. The Descendants-5
6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo-5
7. Midnight in Paris-4
8. The Help-4
9. The Tree of Life-3
10. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy-3

And here's a list of some notable films that didn't get any nominations: Shame, J. Edgar, We Need to Talk About Kevin, 50/50, Win Win, Super 8, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Captain America: The First Avenger, Arthur Christmas, Take Shelter, Cars 2, Young Adult, Melancholia, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Coriolanus, Immortals, X-Men: First Class, Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol, Hanna, Weekend, Attack the Block, Thor...Big list this year, and I'm sure there are other's I'm not thinking of.

Well, what do you think? Obviously, I'm a bit disappointed, but how about you? Good things? Bad things? Sound off in the comments.


  1. I haven't seen Bridesmaids and was automatically assuming it was stupid. I suppose don't judge a movie by it's title? I haven't seen any of the 10 most nominated films...I'm so ashamed. Nice predicting in Best Director!

  2. I love Bridesmaids, honestly. Yeah, it's a raunchy comedy, but it's actually very funny, and does some pretty interesting things.