Yesterday was the big day, the day I’ve been speculating about and pondering over and wasting many sleepless nights thinking about: Oscar nomination day! While a lot of the nominees were foregone conclusions, there were some surprises too. More times than I expected, I sat up in my bed and said “Huh?” about the nominations. (By the way, did anyone see James Franco’s hilarious appearance on ‘The Today Show’? Insanely great.) Anyway, let’s go over some of the major categories, shall we?
- ‘Black Swan’ (Fox Searchlight)
- ‘The Fighter’ (Paramount)
- ‘Inception’ (Warner Bros.)
- ‘The Kids Are All Right’ (Focus Features)
- ‘The King’s Speech’ (The Weinstein Company)
- ‘127 Hours’ (Fox Searchlight)
- ‘The Social Network’ (Sony Pictures)
- ‘Toy Story 3’ (Walt Disney)
- ‘True Grit’ (Paramount)
- ‘Winter’s Bone’ (Roadside Attractions)
Biggest Surprise: ‘Winter’s Bone’, by a lonely stretch of Appalachian road. People loved this movie, especially critics, but I don’t think anyone thought that it would actually secure a Best Picture nomination. Not in a million years. Hopefully this means that people will actually, you know, watch the gritty, heartfelt Southern Gothic thriller.
Biggest Snub: I guess I was hoping that ‘Rabbit Hole’ would secure a nomination. It’s the kind of adult drama that used to make people fall over (like ‘Ordinary People’). Nowadays, it can’t even get a nomination for Best Picture. Which is a shame, because it should have been. (Ditto ‘Blue Valentine’, even though that was a harder, more youthful sell for the notoriously aged Academy.) Also, folks thought ‘The Town’ would sneak in there. It didn’t.
“Woo!” Factor: ‘Toy Story 3’ became the third animated movie ever to be nominated for Best Picture, and the second such distinction for a Pixar film. Hell yeah!
- Javier Bardem, ‘Biutiful’
- Jeff Bridges, ‘True Grit’
- Jesse Eisenberg, ‘The Social Network’
- Colin Firth, ‘The King’s Speech’
- James Franco, ‘127 Hours’
Biggest Surprise: It was commonly thought that, despite the excellence of his performance, Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg would be too cold and unlikable for Academy voters. I guess not.
Biggest Snub: When Michelle Williams was nominated for ‘Blue Valentine’, I thought surely that her co-star Ryan Gosling would also grab a nomination. Sadly, his portrayal of an emotionally wounded husband and father was… What’s the word?… Right, too subtle for Academy voters just looking to give the British guy with a speech impediment the win.
“Woo!” Factor: Javier Bardem, despite the difficult and problematic nature of the film he stars in, got a nomination for ‘Biutiful’. This just makes me so happy. His was one of my favorite characters in film all year, and Bardem characteristically knocked the role out of the park. I’m so glad he was recognized.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Christian Bale, ‘The Fighter’
- John Hawkes, ‘Winter’s Bone’
- Jeremy Renner, ‘The Town’
- Mark Ruffalo, ‘The Kids Are All Right’
- Geoffrey Rush, ‘The King’s Speech’
Biggest Surprise: John Hawkes as the scuzzy, meth-head Teardrop (will you ever, really, forget Teardrop?) in ‘Winter’s Bone’. This was another one of my favorite performances and characters that I assumed would get overlooked in the mad crush of the Awards. He got it! Again: here’s hoping that it’ll make people watch the movie!
Biggest Snub: Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, both the heart and id (respectively) of ‘The Social Network’, were left out in the cold.
“Woo!” Factor: While the movie was rightfully overlooked in almost every major category, Jeremy Renner was undeniably the high point of ‘The Town’. Both his delivery of the line “Whose car are we taking?” and the way he sips his soda toward the end of the film should be enough for him to win.
- Annette Bening, ‘The Kids Are All Right’
- Nicole Kidman, ‘Rabbit Hole’
- Jennifer Lawrence, ‘Winter’s Bone’
- Natalie Portman, ‘Black Swan’
- Michelle Williams, ‘Blue Valentine’
Biggest Surprise: Again, Jennifer Lawrence was talked about, but I didn’t think anyone seriously believed she could compete with the big girls. Those naysayers were dead wrong. Her nomination probably edged out some other, bigger actresses like…
Biggest Snub: … Julianne Moore. Her co-star Annette Bening will be locked in a death match with Natalie Portman until Awards night, but Moore wasn’t even acknowledged as the other half of the lesbian couple at the heart of ‘The Kids Are All Right’. It’s a shame, really.
“Woo!” Factor: It’s a toss-up between Michelle Williams in ‘Blue Valentine’ and Nicole Kidman in ‘Rabbit Hole’. Both are wonderful, adult dramas that were almost wholly overlooked. At least there will be some heat for them now!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Amy Adams, ‘The Fighter’
- Helena Bonham Carter, ‘The King’s Speech’
- Melissa Leo, ‘The Fighter’
- Hailee Steinfeld, ‘True Grit’
- Jacki Weaver, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Biggest Surprise: Two nominations for ‘The Fighter’? That’s pretty awesome, and I’m not sure anyone suspected it. I’m confused about Hailee Steinfeld’s inclusion here instead of the Best Actress category where she rightfully belongs. Who exactly is she supporting?
Biggest Snub: None of the ‘Black Swan’ secondary players got any love here, which means no nomination for Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder or Barbara Hershey. That’s a shame, really.
“Woo!” Factor: That’ll have to go to Jacki Weaver as the diabolical head of an Australian crime family in the outrageously underseen ‘Animal Kingdom’. This makes me smile.
- Darren Aronofsky, ‘Black Swan’
- Joel and Ethan Coen, ‘True Grit’
- David Fincher, ‘The Social Network’
- Tom Hooper, ‘The King’s Speech’
- David O. Russell, ‘The Fighter’
Biggest Surprise: Danny Boyle didn’t get a nomination for his snazzy, stylish take on ‘127 Hours’. Instead, the gussied-up television production of ‘The King’s Speech’ did. Oh, and what about that nomination for…
Biggest Snub: … Christopher Nolan? The dude did a magnificent job with ‘Inception’, the rare thinking person’s blockbuster. Considering the outcry after he was overlooked for ‘The Dark Knight’, you’d think he would have been a lock this time. As far as I’m concerned this is THE snub of all the nominations. I honestly cannot believe it. His lack of nomination also effectively takes the film out of the viable Best Picture race, because the Best Picture winner categorically also secures a Best Director win. It’s just infuriating.
“Woo!” Factor: Even though they could have just as easily been the guys who stole the spotlight from Nolan, I’m happy that the Coen Brothers got a nomination for ‘True Grit’. The movie’s huge collection of nominations was sort of a surprise, since it was overlooked at many of the other Awards shows. I’m glad it’s still in the game.
That’s it for now. I’ll be back to look at technical awards and other things later.