Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thoughts on Oscar Nominations

There were certainly lots of things to chew on after the Oscar nominations were announced this morning. Of course there were the usual surprises and "snubs" like every year and with the nominations coming in earlier than in year's past and talks of voting problems, we'll never know if they actually had any effect on those. Now before I talk about each category, just a few stats. Out of the 38 films nominated (excluding the shorts), I've seen 22 films. Out of the 107 total nominations (again excluding the shorts), I've seen 78 (73%) which I think is pretty good. That'll get better quickly as I'm already planning seeing a handful of nominated films in the next week or so.

And now for the nominations (I bolded those I've seen):

  • Amour (5 nominations)
  • Argo (7 nominations)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (4 nominations)
  • Django Unchained (5 nominations)
  • Life of Pi (11 nominations)
  • Lincoln (12 nominations)
  • Les Misérables (8 nominations)
  • Silver Linings Playbook (8 nominations)
  • Zero Dark Thirty (5 nominations)

For the second year in a row, we get a lineup of 9 Best Picture nominees. Skyfall, with its 5 nominations, or more likely The Master, with its 3 acting nominations, were probably in the 10th slot, but we'll never know. As expected, Lincoln leads the field, but I think it's Life of Pi that shocked everyone notching 11 nominations without an acting nod! The other big winners include Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild as many thought they would be left out in the cold for being too small.


  • Michael Haneke, Amour
  • Ang Lee, Life of Pi
  • David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
  • Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

This was the category everyone is still talking about as for the first time the Academy only went 2/5 with the DGA nominations eschewing presumed frontrunners Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck as well as Tom Hooper and Quentin Tarantino for Russell and first nominations for Haneke and Zeitlin. It's certainly a stacked category, but I would've bet anything before the announcement that either Affleck or Bigelow would be nominated. What happened? Were their films just too controversial/political in the end? With them gone though, this makes Spielberg's win that much easier. But then again only one director here has won been nominated by the Golden Globes, DGA, BAFTA, and BFCA and he ain't a white man.

  • Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
  • Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
  • Denzel Washington, Flight

Finally, Wolverine and Will Tippin have their first Oscar nominations! Both of them certainly had a lot of things stacked against them be it genre or past roles, but they pulled through. Day-Lewis is the frontrunner in this category by a big margin (playing American's favorite president will do that), but will the Academy really give him his third Oscar win? Washington, too, would be winning his 3rd if he won, but it's much less likely. Phoenix's nomination was the surprise especially considering his not-too-friendly remarks about the futility of award campaigning. He most likely knocked out SAG nominee John Hawkes for a spot.

  • Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
  • Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Everyone knew that this race was going to be between Chastain and Lawrence and their nominations were pretty locked early on. What no one knew, however, was that they would be joined by both the oldest and youngest Best Actress nominees ever (Riva and Wallis respectively). Watts' nomination was also slightly surprising given her lack of a BAFTA nod. The big snub here was Marion Cotillard who, like Tilda Swinton last year, year all the precursors only to miss out on the Oscar nod. SAG nominee Helen Mirren was also not nominated. So while Chastain or Lawrence will probably win, Riva does celebrate her 86th birthday during the show. Weirder things have happened!

  • Alan Arkin, Argo
  • Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Apparently, this is the first time that an acting category was filled with not only previous nominees, but previous winners. I'm not going to comment on the relatively homogeneous make-up of the men here, but Hollywood, do better. My wishlist containing Ezra Miller and Eddie Redmayne didn't pan out, but I also feel a bit sorry for Leonardo DiCaprio who apparently delivers quite a performance. Too bad Waltz was "demoted" in Supporting at the last minute. Look for the winner to be either Hoffman or Jones.

  • Amy Adams, The Master
  • Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
  • Helen Hunt, The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

With Weaver's shock nod, Silver Linings Playbook becomes the first film since the 1981 film Reds to get an acting nominations in each category, which display a spectacular support from the actors, the Academy's biggest voting block. And yet, this has been Hathaway's award to lose from the get go and I don't think the nominations this morning has changed that. Yes, Field shouldn't be understimated and this is Adams' fourth nomination, but Hathaway will win. A moment of silence for SAG nominees Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith who most likely don't care one way or another because they are THAT fabulous.

  • Amour
  • Django Unchained
  • Flight
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Django Unchained and Amour did well to appear here after being ineligible for WGA, but unfortunately that cost Looper (and The Master) a well-deserved nod as well. Coupled with the script of Perks of Being a Wallflower also not making the Oscar shortlist in Adapted and my Oscar wishes were just soundly denied this morning. As for the frontrunner, I would've said Zero Dark Thirty or Moonrise Kingdom (incidentally its only nomination), but perhaps this is where Amour may get honored (other than Best Foreign Film of course, see below).

  • Argo
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook

As I said above, woe is me for Perks of Being a Wallflower being snubbed here. Granted, the film that replaced it turned out to be Beasts of the Southern Wild so I can't be too angry and look at this category full of Best Picture nominees! How could any other film compete really? Other noticeable non-nominations included Anna Karenina and Les Misérables, but not really.

  • Amour, Austria
  • Kon-Tiki, Norway
  • No, Chile
  • A Royal Affair, Denmark
  • War Witch, Canada

I haven't seen any of these yet, though I will certainly check out Amour before the ceremony. I also didn't know until this morning that Gael Garcia Bernal was the star of No. That also makes it likelier that Ill check it out. Of course in terms of competition, only one of these films were nominated in other categories including a Best Picture nod so it's pretty obvious which film has the leg up on its competition.

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

The Pirates! surprised everyone as it hadn't appeared anywhere at all during the lead up to the the nominations with everyone expecting either Rise of the Guardians or a film from a smaller, independent studio to take the fifth slot. With that said, this looks to be a true four-way fight to the crown amongst the other nominees. As I've said previously, I'm rooting hard for ParaNorman, but I probably wouldn't be too torn up if any of the other films won.

  • Anna Karenina
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Les Misérables

Once presumed Anna Karenina finally shows up and acquits itself pretty well picking up 4 well-deserved technical nominations. I'm very glad that even though its star faded quickly, the Academy was still able to see that it merited a handful of nominations for its stunning crafts. Same story for The Hobbit, of course, but I actually haven't seen it yet so I can't say if it was deserved or not! Can't even guess as to who is the frontrunner here. Anyone?

  • Anna Karenina
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Some very big names were nominated this year to the point where you really can't go wrong at all for the win. The big miss here though was the non-nomination for The Master. If I had to guess on the winner though, it'll go to Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi) or Roger Deakins (Skyfall). Deakins, of course, is notorious for being nominated 10 times now and still without a single win. Can this be the year finally?

  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Not a big shock to see these five here especially as these are the films people thought were likely to win Best Picture before the nominations and this category, along with Directing, usually signals which films are the frontrunners.

  • Anna Karenina
  • Argo
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Like most years, this is usually my favorite category and this year the nominations are pretty good actually. The strength of Anna Karenina and Skyfall in this below-the-line categories is evident here.

  • "Before My Time," Chasing Ice
  • "Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Ted
  • "Pi's Lullaby," Life of Pi
  • "Skyfall," Skyfall
  • "Suddenly," Les Misérables

I don't really have any song, even in the long list, I'm rooting for. I did thought a few weeks ago how amusing it would be if Sambola! made it in, but alas that didn't happen. Everyone thinks Adele's James Bond theme song is the easy win giving the franchise its first Oscar win ever, but I wouldn't underestimate the lone original song from Les Misérables since it is the lone musical film in the list. Life of Pi making it in here was a slight pleasant surprise.

  • Anna Karenina
  • Lincoln
  • Les Misérables
  • Mirror Mirror
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Might be weird to see the two Snow White flicks this year show up here, but they did have elaborate costumes that the Academy members usually lap up. Kudos to Mirror Mirror costumer Eiko Ishioka who is being honored posthumously. I think this is Anna Karenina's award to lose though, no? Well unless they must honor Atwood again.

  • Argo
  • Django Unchained
  • Life of Pi
  • Skyfall
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Usually there's a random film nomination here like last year with Drive, but all of these have high nomination counts elsewhere and four of them are Best Picture nominees. Skyfall might be the favorite here and in the other sound category...


  • Argo
  • Les Misérables
  • Life of Pi
  • Lincoln
  • Skyfall

Like above, it's Skyfall plus a few Best Picture nominees. No random Transformers here! I did think The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises (more on them later) were going to show up in at least one of these.

  • The Avengers
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Speaking of Joss Whedon's The Avengers... it's officially an Oscar nominated film! Okay, it's only for Visual Effects, but I'll take it. Plus it fare a whole lot better than The Dark Knight Rises which got absolutely no love from the Academy this morning. Prometheus also gets its one and only nod here. Life of Pi looks to be the favorite.

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Les Misérables

Really expected Lincoln to show up here, especially with how wonderful the transformation was making Day-Lewis really disappear into his Lincoln role. I actually found the makeup/hair a bit distracting in Les Misérables and I liked the film.

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How to Survive a Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching fo Sugar Man

5 Broken Cameras recently won at the Cinema Eye Honors, which gives it some fighting chance against the other four which won various critic awards throughout the season. The two most awarded are Searching for Sugarman and The Gatekeepers, both were nominated for the PGA.

  • Innocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays at Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

No idea what any of them are, but I'll do research later on. For now I always pick the one with the best name and though the titles this year are quite dull, I'm intrigued by Redemption.

  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • The Longest Daycare
  • Paperman

No Pixar offering this year, but Disney has Paperman which I've already seen and loved. I'm going to try to see all of these before the show so I can have a better handle on who might win, but already I love the title Fresh Guacamole.

  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow
  • Henry

Last year, I saw all Live Action short films though I still failed to pick the winner. I'll try again this year, but without any research, I'll pick the Buzkashi Boys.

And thus endedth my thoughts on the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards. Now we have to wait an interminable six weeks until we find out who the winners are. Let the Hunger Games begin.

1 comment:

  1. These six weeks with be the worst. Here's to doing my best to make them enjoyable for the everyone.

    Also, I'm not backing Skyfall for song. That score nomination, that the laziest nomination this year?


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