Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Stray Thoughts: 84th Academy Award Nominations

Don't usually update twice in the same day if I can help it, but the Oscar nominations have come through and I'd like to chat about them a bit. The list of nominees is up everywhere, as are break-downs of who the favourites are and which films have the most nominations, so I'm just going to offer some stray thoughts, in no particular order:
  • First up, Stephen Daldry's Tom Hanks starring 9/11 film 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' (which I admittedly haven't yet seen) is perhaps the worst reviewed Best Picture nominee of all-time. Currently it has a 46 on Metacritic and 48 on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm not suggesting review aggregating sites are an infallible guide to the arts, but these are despairingly low numbers for a major, prestige picture.
  • 'Bridesmaids' hasn't been nominated for Best Picture despite being overwhelmingly well reviewed and figuring on many major critic's "best of 2011" lists. It's difficult not read this as further proof that Oscar doesn't like comedy. Considering there are 9 Best Picture nominees (including 'Extremely Loud'), this seems like a bit of a joke. By my calculations (and ignoring comedy-dramas like 'Juno' and 'Shakespeare in Love') the last out-and-out comedy to get nominated was 'Tootsie' in 1982.
  • It's great to see Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Terence Malick competing for Best Director.
  • It's equally great to see 'The Tree of Life' featuring in the Best Picture field, considering it's been overlooked by the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs. I'm not the film's biggest fan - I appreciate it more than I like it - but in recent years the big award ceremonies have mostly picked the same nominees and picked the same winners. Oscar gets some serious credibility points here.
  • It's really great to see 'Hugo' garnering the most nominations (11), though I suspect it'll be one of those unlucky movies that's nominated in every category and wins nothing. For those keeping score, 'The Artist' (the overwhelming favourite at this stage) is just behind with 10 nods.
  • The excellent Rooney Mara being nominated for Best Actress is a nice touch, though Meryl Streep is sure to pip her to the prize for her showy, award-bait impersonation of Margaret Thatcher.
  • Despite my earlier bemoaning the lack of attention given to 'Bridesmaids', I find it really odd that Melissa McCarthy has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress. A lot of people felt she stole the show but I personally found her to be the weak link. Rose Byrne or Chris O'Dowd would have been better acting choices for that one, methinks.
  • I thought 'My Week With Marilyn' was awful - without redeeming quality. So, though I really like Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh, I think it's a bit of a joke that they're nominated here - particularly Branagh's scenery chewing turn as Olivier.
  • Really pleased to see recognition for Christopher Plummer and 'Beginners'. I think he'll win Best Supporting Actor. It's an interesting field though, Branagh aside, with left-field nominations for Nick Nolte in 'Warrior' and newly svelte funnyman John Hill in 'Moneyball'.
  • 'Albert Nobbs' currently has no UK release date, at least according to the usually reliable FilmDates.com. Hopefully its two acting nominations - for Glenn Close and Janet McTeer - will change that? I really hate missing Oscar nominated movies.
  • Glad that 'A Separation' is nominated for Best Foreign Film - the only category it could realistically have been recognised in. Just noticed it also got a nod for Best Original Screenplay, which is a major boon. Nice work.
  • An odd thing I've just noticed looking at the official Academy Awards site: although Best Picture awards are given to producers, Best Animated Feature Oscars are awarded to directors. Why is that exactly?
  • Wasn't 'The Ides of March' supposed to be a big Oscar movie? Only one nomination (for Best Adapted Screenplay). That's two less than 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'.
  • I predict the main winners will be: The Artist (Best Picture), Alexander Payne (Best Director, for 'The Descendants'), Brad Pitt (Best Actor, for 'Moneyball'), Streep (Best Streep in a Leading Streep), Plummer (as mentioned above) and Jessica Chastain (ostensibly for 'The Help', but picking up votes for an impressive year's worth of performances, including 'The Tree of Life').
  • Finally, I'd like to see the following winners: 'Hugo' (Best Picture), Woody Allen (Best Director, for 'Midnight in Paris'), Gary Oldman (Best Actor, for 'Tinker Tailor Solider Spy'), Rooney Mara (Best Actress, for 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'), Plummer (as above) and Jessica Chastain (ostensibly for 'The Help', but really for 'Take Shelter').
If you want to read the full list, check it out at The Guardian.

1 comment:

  1. Two Nominations for best song?! Why not just toss a coin for it!?