84th Annual Academy Awards Nominations Announced!

The Oscar nominations were announced this Tuesday morning and Hugo leads all films with 11 nominations. Below are the listed nominations and then my comments follow.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Artist (2011)
The Descendants (2011)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
The Help (2011)
Hugo (2011/II)
Midnight in Paris (2011)
Moneyball (2011)
The Tree of Life (2011)
War Horse (2011)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)
George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)
Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Viola Davis for The Help (2011)
Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)
Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)
Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)
Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)
Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)

Best Achievement in Directing

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)
Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)
Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Hugo (2011/II): John Logan
The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

A Cat in Paris (2010)
Chico & Rita (2010)
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Puss in Boots (2011)
Rango (2011)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam(Belgium)
Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar(Israel)
In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland(Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau(Canada)
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi(Iran)

Just like every year when the Oscar nominations are announced, there are plenty of surprises when the majority of people believe the race is bland and stale. Starting with the screenplay categories, I didn’t see Margin Call (Original Screenplay) or The Ides of March (Adapted Screenplay) sneaking in. I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which received plenty of love this morning by The Academy.

Once again, David Fincher didn’t get the recognition from The Academy that he deserves. One day, they’ll finally understand what brilliant work he is accomplishing year after year, but for now he’ll just have to remain frustrated. Meanwhile, the only surprise in the Best Director category was Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life. Usually, being snubbed by the DGA is a big indication that you’re not going to be nominated for an Oscar, but this year proved otherwise.

In the acting categories there were plenty of snubs and surprises. The biggest snub was when Albert Brooks wasn’t nominated for Supporting Actor in his great performance in Drive. Instead, Mox von Sydow snuck in for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, which was an indication for things to come. In the Actress categories, I was able to predict 9 of the 10 nominations, so there weren’t really any surprises. But in the Acting categories, I couldn’t believe that Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t nominated for Best Actor. Instead, Demian Bichir (A Better Life) and Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) were nominated.

Finally, there were 9 Best Picture nominations, and to keep the suspense up they didn’t announce the films in any order. They started out with a surprise right off the bat, with War Horse receiving a Best Picture nomination without any Acting, Writing, or Directing nods. The next surprise was The Tree of Life, which didn’t get any recognition throughout awards season from the Guilds. But the biggest surprise was the final film announced for Best Picture: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Seriously, where the hell did that movie come from?! Practically being invisible throughout all of awards season, that was the bomb that shook the Oscar world. This year’s The Blind Side? I think so.

My reaction to the nominees are divided. I wish The Academy would’ve rewarded excellent films like Drive and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with what they deserved. But as they went on to miss acting, writing, and directing nods, I knew Best Picture wasn’t possible. But I am happy that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy got lots of love from The Academy. But what it all comes down to is if any film can beat out The Artist. It’s very doubtful, but I’ll have my eyes glued on February 26th to find out.

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