Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The 84th Annual Academy Award Nominations: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, Surprising, and Seeing into the Future

Today at 8:30 am EST/5:30 PST the Academy Award nominations were announced by Academy Award nominee from last year Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) Tom Sherak the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences (AMPAS) or the Academy.

The Good

The Tree of Life and 3 nominations-Whether you love it, hate it, or well no matter what you feel, this film deserves respect.  While I myself stated it was a bit self indulgent for about 10 minutes, the film is still amazing.  Tree was largely ignored by many of the guilds, and the globes.  The only group who actually included it were the critics, way to go!  This was the best thing I saw this morning.

Hugo leading the nominations with 11-There is a lot of support for this film and it scored one more nomination than The Artist.  While I respect The Artist, I do not love it, it reminds me of The King's Speech last year (but better).  Scorsese took things in a different direction, and I am proud of his success.

Rooney Mara, Melissa McCarthy, Gary Oldman-These three names may not have been expected, sure they had some love from the Globes and SAG, but they were not locks.  Oldman did not have much of anything.  I have to say I love Mara's performance.  McCarthy is breath of fresh air, even with her leg up in the air.  These two woman could not be more different, and their performances are on completely different spectrum, but I am happy for them both.  Oldman stole Fassbender's spot, which is sad, but he is great in Tinker Tailor.

A Separation and Margin Call in the screenplay categories- The screenwriters know good work, and I glad they picked these films.  This year has not had the strongest screenplays.  The funny thing is that this year's original screenplays were much stronger than the adapted screenplays.

The Bad

No Dragon Score-The exclusion of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from Best Picture and Director does not bother me.  While the film is solid I would not place it as of the 10 best films of the year.  The film had a lot of strong technical aspects like the cinematography and editing (which it was nominated for), but the score was ignored?  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provided one of the best scores of the year, and took home the trophy last year for The Social Network.  How did this fail?

No Swinton, or Fassbender-Swinton is amazing in We Need to Talk About Kevin, and her in over Close is something I would challenge.  While I have not seen Close's performance she looks wooden and unemotional.  Fassbender had four amazing roles this year, but his best work was in Shame.  These are two performances the Academy will be kicking themselves for not nominating in the future.

The Ugly

War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close-Proof that the new Academy Awards system is a joke!  Before I say anything I have to say I have to say these are the only two Best Picture winners I have not seen.  A friend of mine has seen both and told me War Horse is not bad, it is just one of the best films of the year, and Loud is just not good and overwrought.  I do not want to see Loud at all, I think the film looks manipulative. I am choosing the word manipulative because the film appears to try and control your emotional experience more than in any other film.   I will see these films at some point, and prove myself right.

Drive gets one nomination-Is this a joke?  The Academy has pulled some dumb things, but only giving Drive one nomination in Best Sound Editing, and even snubbing Albert Brooks for Max Von Sydow is a huge mistake.

Take Shelter gets nothing! This film was flawless and has my pick for Best Actor and Supporting Actress this year.  Michael Shannon should have received a nomination, and Jessica Chatain should have been nominated for this film instead.

The Surprising

The Help gets only 4 nominations-  I expected The Help to have 8 nominations.  The nominations I expected but it did not receive were in screenplay, song, editing, and costume design.  The Help has three acting nominations, and a nomination for Best Picture.  This proves that support of this film is waning.   The Help is tied with The Descendants, Midnight in Paris.

Damien Bichir and Max Von Sydow-Even though Bichir had a SAG nomination for Best Actor, I figured that was a fluke.  I am excited to see the film, it looked wonderful.  Von Sydow is a veteran and well respected but received no pre-cursor nominations, I was shocked to see his nomination.

Looking ahead with the nominations announced, and bypassing my own bias, what happens next?  Who wins, will there be any surprises?

Hugo and The Artist appear to have the most support.  If Martin Scorsese wins the DGA, then Hugo will be a real threat.  Hugo has the most nominations this year with 11, and statistically speaking the film with the most nominations wins Best Picture.  For example The King's Speech had the most last year, but this is not always the case.  Many films have won without this statistic like A Beautiful Mind, The Departed and even Slumdog Millionaire (in recent years).  The Artist has ten nominations, and with such strong support for two films there will bound to be smaller win totals for the actual Best Picture winner.  Right now the The Artist is out front.

In the acting categories I think Best Actor is between Clooney Dujardin and Brad Pitt is a spoiler.  The Screen Actor's Guild will clear up this race.  The unknown Bachir and Dujardin may cancel each other out.  It seems as though each of them has a decent base of support but neither of them will take down the Clooney.

I have been predicting Viola Davis to win Best Actress at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards.  The Help received the most nominations, and has a great deal of support.  Many people thought it would be a threat in the Best Picture race.  Today's nominations prove that to not be true.  Where does this leave Viola Davis.  I am putting Davis out ahead slightly; she is in a Best Picture nominee, but look for Streep to provide a lot of challenge.

Today's Best Picture nominations prove that this system is out of touch, and two weak nominees weigh down the fact that great things did happen.  I am not thrilled with this year's nominees, but here's to hoping the Academy picks wisely.

No comments: