OK some brief Oscar thoughts. Every year expectations are set up. This year, those expectations were particularly low. None of my favorites of the year really stood a shot at much. So it is not surprising to see that Young Adult, Take Shelter, Shame, Drive (outside of Sound Editing, wee!), Certified Copy, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Melancholia have literally 1 nomination between all of them. Still, there are certain things that one would grows to expect once those expectations are set. It managed to pleasantly surprise, but also to enrage (at least as much as I let myself be enraged over something like this).
THE GOOD: (and by Good, I mean pleasant semi-surprises/surprises. Moneyball getting in for Picture is obviously good, but entirely expected so it won’t appear here)
– The Tree of Life getting in for Picture and Malick for Director.
– Bichir and Oldman in for Actor. I love Demian Bichir and I love him particularly in this film.
– Rooney Mara for Actress
– Max von Sydow for Supporting Actor. Nobody expected it. I haven’t seen the film and I doubt I will in theaters, but the man is a legend. I don’t care what he’s being nominated for, but he’s being nominated is all that matters. Bergman/Von Sydow forever. That doesn’t mean I’m happy about no Albert Brooks (see below). I would have taken out Hill and particularly Branagh who in no way, shape or form should be getting awards attention this year. Although I would have taken Hill out, I’m still very happy for him. It’s a great performance and one of my favorite characters from last year in film.
– NO LEONARDO DICAPRIO. NO J. EDGAR ANYWHERE. WOOHOO!!
– Nick Nolte for Warrior. You’d have to be a moron to see that film and not put his name down.
– NO CARS 2. HUZZAH!!
– Kung Fu Panda 2!!!!
– Harry Potter for Art Direction
– No Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for Score, Director, or Pic. It’s a solid film, but entirely undeserving in all of those categories. I’ve gotten used to films like The Help being sure bets. But when something that should not be there is hovering, I become more passionate about ‘Dragon’ not getting in than The Help despite enjoying the former more. If only Extremely Loud hadn’t been a replacement.
– Jane Eyre for Costumes
– A Separation getting in for Original Screenplay, the first Foreign Language nominee since the also fabulous Diving Bell and the Butterfly. I predicted it. A Separation has stuck with me in a big way, and the screenplay is uniformly intricate and complex.
– Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy getting in for Adapted Screenplay and Original Score, two of my favorite nominees this year. If only it could have squeezed in for Pic.
– Moneyball for Editing. Expected, but it’s the only film on there from my Dream Ballot.
– “Man or Muppet” for Song
– Extremely Loud taking a coveted Best Pic slot where there could have been something actually good to offset the mediocre (The Artist, The Help, War Horse).
– Which brings me to War Horse. War Horse? Really? That forgettable sentimental slop? The cast is great (outside of Joey who annoyed me more than I can say), and it’s certainly moving at times, but it’s so self-consciously by-the-book. It’s completely outdated, and while I cared about the horse (because it’s a horse, but because of the film’s skillful storytelling), I found myself restless during most of it. This wasn’t unexpected, but it was hovering, hence my aggravation. The things I get excited or upset about are ‘hoverers’ aka things that may or may not have a shot, allowing for hope for surprises or snubs to become more passionate for these particulars.
– No Fassbender for Actor. I would have taken out Clooney of those 5. He was good, but he’s too charming to play up the character’s flaws the way they needed to be. I’d say Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, but did he ever have a shot? Likely no.
– No Tilda Swinton. Leading performances by actresses have been beyond incredible this year. And yet I would completely dump 4 of those performances for other choices. Thrilled Mara got in, but I was hoping for a Glenn Close snub. The film sucks and she isn’t even very good in it.
– No Brooks for Supporting. I thought this would happen, but I didn’t predict it because I wasn’t sure who to put in.
– No Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for Art Direction or Costumes. These should have been no-brainers.
– Was hoping Young Adult could pull a Screenplay nod but nope, not even that.
– Last but not least. In fact, last but most offensive omission……
– NO NOMINATION FOR PROJECT NIM IN BEST DOCUMENTARY. It made the shortlist. Yet…..really? It’s amazing. Man on Wire is overrated and this is beyond incredible but…..wait Katie. Calm down. Who cares? OK. I’ll get over it.
I could nitpick a lot of these but I won’t. Those are the major ‘absences that had a shot’ that sadden me. Look at my Dream Ballot to see my own Personal Oscar slate.