I actually did pretty damn good on my predictions overall. I’m very pleased. I scored an 81/107 (in my scoring system I count half a point for alternates).
I have to say, even though I prefer 2011 in film to 2012 in film, the Academy Award Nominations are significantly more impressive than last year as a consistent whole. Last year, The Artist, which was merely cute, was primed to sweep, while films like The Help, War Horse and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close made the cut. This year, Lincoln seems poised to take the cake and I am totally okay with that. It’s masterful in execution and the Spielberg/Kushner collaboration was a match made in heaven. And while I have light-to-moderate issues with all of the films nominated for Picture (of the six I’ve seen), I don’t dislike any of them. Hell, I’m not even upset about any of the films chosen. Except Django Unchained because so much of it was subpar Tarantino. With the Oscars, it’s all about picking your battles.
And a Michael Haneke film has been nominated for Best Picture and he’s a Director nominee. Who would have ever thought we’d see that? This is an example of why I like the 5+ nominee structure. Amour will get a lot more exposure now because the AMPAS took to it.
The snub heard around the award season world was Ben Affleck and especially Kathryn Bigelow’s shocking absence in the Director. I’ll be seeing Zero Dark Thirty tonight. It’s quite sad that a lock for a female director (when does this ever happen?) was shut out. We just can’t catch a break.
While Zero Dark Thirty and Argo took major hits on that front, Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook gained some serious ground. ‘Playbook’ got Russell in for Director and Adapted Screenplay, and for the first time in over three decades, a film received nods in all four acting categories.
The Good and Pleasant Surprises:- Joaquin Phoenix getting in for Best Actor. Really didn’t think it would happen though I had him in my predictions.
- Jacki Weaver for Supporting Actress. Does she deserve it? No. But I adore this woman so much that I’m thrilled for her.
- Pirates! Band of Misfits for Animated Film. This was such a treat and I really hope more people, even if only a small chunk, see it now.
- Eiko Ishioka – Costume Design for Mirror, Mirror. The late great garment extraordinaire was rightfully acknowledged for her standout work.
- How to Survive a Plague and The Invisible War in for Documentary. Not surprises, but both fully deserving.
- No is the first Chilean film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. I really hope this gets US distribution soon because I want to see it badly.
The Bad and Icky Snubs:
- I get that The Master has severely split people. It is fantastic that the AMPAS was able to recognize the acting as being substantial even if it was within a film that they rejected as a whole. But to shut it out from all other categories? Surely the Cinematography and Score at the very least were technical merits more than deserving of recognition.
- No Perks for Being a Wallflower for Adapted Screenplay or Looper for Original Screenplay. The Academy still hates genre films.
- Moonrise Kingdom only gets in for Original Screenplay. Was really hoping this was the year the AMPAS would move beyond throwing Anderson an ‘Original Screenplay’ bone.
- Too much Beasts of the Southern Wild for my taste. Too much of it I say. I still cannot figure out how I feel about this film.
- Very sad that Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t sneak into Supporting Actor. It’s a 180 from anything he’s ever done and he chews the scenery with such an entertaining relish. To my surprise, I bought him in the role completely. And that Alan Arkin performance is so thankless; what a waste of a spot. But Christoph Waltz’s nomination means I get to look at his face for the next month of awards coverage so silver linings.
- No The Imposter or This is Not a Film in Documentary.
- No Sister in Foreign Language Film. The shocker of crowdpleasing The Intouchables being ignored aside, Sister had a decent but not great chance at a spot in the final five. It’s a remarkable piece of work and I hate that it didn’t get in.
- No Paul Williams: Still Alive for Original Song.
As the years pass I find myself being much more interested in the technical categories than the main ones. Costume Design, Editing, Cinematography and Production Design are honestly my favorite categories.
What did you think of the nominations. Which are you happiest about? Which inclusions or snubs are you angry about? What do you think of this awards season as a whole?