Saturday, January 28, 2012

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS: 2012 Oscar Nominations - First Response

This past Tuesday morning, the 2012 Oscar nominations were announced.  And I thought I would just share with you some of my initial reactions.  There were things I was proud of and things I liked, but there were also things I really didn't care for or enjoy.  Then there were the things that made my jaw hit the floor (and there were more than I thought there would be!).  So let me give you a rundown of my first thoughts when I saw this year's Oscar nominations.

After years of brilliant work (often playing villains!), Gary Oldman finally has an Oscar nomination under his belt for his critically lauded, steely performance in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. And with love for the film at the BAFTAs, Oldman could quite possibly be a potential spoiler for frontrunner George Clooney.

Tony-winner Viola Davis and character actress Octavia Spencer got nods for their dynamic performances in the audience favorite The Help.  They are both favorites in their respective categories, so we could possibly have two African-American women winning the Actress and Supporting Actress Oscars this year.

This year's Supporting Actor race is filled with veterans (save for Jonah Hill, see below!).  Kenneth Branagh, who has channeled Laurence Olivier several times before My Week With Marilyn, is nominated for the first time since his nod for Henry V in 1988.  Nick Nolte is enjoying his third Oscar nomination (his first in Supporting!).  Christopher Plummer, one of the film business' best character actors, is the category's clear frontrunner.  And Max Von Sydow is nominated for not even saying a word (he plays a mute in Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).

As much as veterans are always welcome (see Meryl Streep!), its nice to see a few newcomers in the mix, especially: Rooney Mara (for her astonishing work in David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Emmy-winner Melissa McCarthy (getting recognized for her scene-stealing performance in Bridesmaids) and The Artist co-stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo.

Moneyball was one of my favorite films of the year (not just because I'm from the Bay Area!).  I was very pleased to see it in the Best Picture category as well as nods for Brad Pitt's brilliant performance and the clever screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian (two of my favorite screenwriters these days!).

Two of the best films of the year got shut out of the Best Picture category: David Fincher's stylish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the powerful finale to the Harry Potter film franchise (more on that below!).

Noteworthy films like The Help and War Horse did get Best Picture nods (and a few other nominations in various categories), but got ignored in ones they really deserved (i.e. Screenplay or Directing!).

When you have to cut it off at 5, several actors with worthy performances got ignored this year.  Among the names that come to mind are: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Kirsten Dunst, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, Emma Stone, Marion Cotillard and Alan Rickman. I'm sure there are more, but I don't want to be here all day!

Only 9 Best Picture nominees, really?!? They couldn't find one more film they liked well enough to make it an even 10 (especially when films like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Bridesmaids, The Ides of March, Drive, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II got ignored!)?

Only 2 Best Song nominees?!?! The Academy's Music Department also revamped their voting system and this is their result!?! I'm definitely rooting for the Muppet song (written by Flight of the Conchords' Brett McKenzie), but come on people!!!

While I'm not disputing the five directors who made it into the Best Director category, where is David Fincher? Or Steven Spielberg? Or Bennett Miller? They expanded Best Picture, but Best Director can't get a few more names?

Steven Spielberg can't even get into the Animated category! His The Adventures of Tin-Tin, which won both the Golden Globe and the Producers' Guild Award for Best Animated Feature got shut out of the Oscar's Animated category.

Speaking of the Animated category, both Tin-Tin and Rio garnered nods from the Music Department (Tin-Tin for John Williams' score and Rio for its big musical production number) but neither could get in the Animated biggie.

The most successful movie franchise ended its run this year with a box office bang, but the Academy cannot take the time to recognize the cultural influence the Harry Potter series has had in the last decade.

With The Artist being the definite favorite in the Best Picture race, it may become the first silent Best Picture winner since Wings in 1927 (the very first Best Picture winner!).  This is just more of a surprising thought rather than a "WTF" thought.

Another surprising thought: Michelle Williams has an Oscar nomination for playing the iconic Marilyn Monroe, someone who never got an Oscar nomination herself (be it for Bus Stop or Some Like It Hot or The Seven Year Itch).

One more surprising thought: Meryl Streep has now garnered 17 nominations in 33 years. That almost works out to a nomination every 2 years!

And finally...
Jonah Hill, star of Superbad and Get Him to the Greek, is now an Academy Award Nominee. 'Nuff said.

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