Ah, the Oscar nominations! Nothing is so infuriating yet exhilarating, unpredictable but boring. The nominations are always a mixed bag, you get some good surprises and some silly snubs. We’re used to it by now.
In my heart of hearts I knew that TAKE SHELTER, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE and YOUNG ADULT were going to get passed over but I still held out hope. Despite not being surprised by their lack of nominations, it’s still a bummer. That being said, there are some bright spots in this year’s list. So let’s get to it and see who got a chance at the little gold man and who got left out in the cold.
BRIDESMAIDS: Who would have imagined the biggest comedy of the year would also be an Oscar contender? The film took in two nominations, one for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Supporting Actress. Will it win either? Nope! But it’s still surprising and awesome to see a comedy get this far in the race.
Gary Oldman: All I can say is finally! Oldman finally lands a nomination for his work in TINKER, TAILOR, SOLIDER, SPY after years of turning in spellbinding working. He’s in a tough category (Best Actor) and probably won’t win but studios can add “Oscar Nominee” above his name in trailers. Side note: with Oldman’s nod, Christopher Nolan’s Batman universe gets another Oscar nominee/winner added to the line-up. That cast is stacked with nominations and wins!
THE TREE OF LIFE: Hey, Terrence Malick’s sparse, controversial drama actually got some love! It had a lot of buzz early in the awards season but many had assumed it was too weird for the Academy. I guess not, the film earned Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography nods. The movie’s best shot for a win is Emmanuel Lubezki’s gorgeous photography but even that’s not a solid bet. Still, not bad for a movie that some called a masterpiece and some called complete trash (not me, of course).
Jonah Hill: Aw yeah! Get it, Jonah.
Rooney Mara: Critics and audiences were split on THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO but everyone agreed that Rooney Mara gave an amazing performance. TGWTDT didn’t do much this morning but Mara earned her place among the other Best Actress nominees. Sadly, she’s going up against Meryl “Win For Reading The Phone Book” Streep and Michelle Williams so it’s unlikely she’ll actually take home the statue. It’s reassuring to see a big risk rewarded with a nomination though.
HUGO: While THE ARTIST seems to be the odds on favorite for the Oscars this year, Martin Scorsese’s HUGO earned the most nominations (11). Will this change the dynamics of the race, could HUGO become the front-runner? THE ARTIST picked up Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes but Scorsese scored Best Director. It looks like these two will duke it out for the top prize come February. Interestingly (or not when you think about it), both films are about cinema. No surprise they got so many nominations.
Michael Shannon: Don’t get me started here. Michael Shannon gave the best performance of the year in TAKE SHELTER, regardless of what the Academy says. It’s not a surprise that he got snubbed – he hadn’t been gaining traction throughout the season – but I still hoped for a miracle. Nada. No worries, Shannon’s already an Oscar nominee (for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD) and more people are discovering his performance every week. We need to remember that even though a movie or performer didn’t get nominated it doesn’t mean they didn’t do a marvelous job. You’re still a winner in my book, Michael!
MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE: There were several possible nomination for Sean Durkin’s disturbing film, most notably Elizabeth Olsen’s crazy-good performance. Instead, MMMM got squat. Again, it’s not a shock, this indie darling isn’t the type of movie the Academy goes for. I feel confident that Durkin and Olsen will get their chances for nominations later down the road. Trust me, they’re both going places.
Patton Oswalt/Albert Brooks: I thought this would be the year that one – or two! – great comedians got Oscar nominations. Patton Oswalt, who was just terrific and heartbreaking in YOUNG ADULT and Albert Brooks, who was devilish and scary in DRIVE, both stood a chance for nods. In fact, most people thought at least one of them would get a nod. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. Which leads me to my next pick…
DRIVE: Remember when DRIVE came out and audiences and critics were bowled over by the delicate, violent little film? Some even thought it could get a nomination or two at the Oscars. Well, we were all wrong! No Best Director nomination, no Best Actor nomination, no Best Editing nomination and, as noted, no Best Supporting Actor nomination. But it did earn a Best Sound Editing nod so there’s something. We were fooled, led astray by our hopes and dreams!
Pixar: The animation studio didn’t get a nomination for Best Animated Feature this year, even though there were five choices. Look at it this way: Pixar had won the last four years in a row. Ouch. It’s not a surprise, CARS 2 was trash. Still, it’s sad to see a Pixar-less field. Come on guys, get it together.
Best Original Song: Oh, two nominees? That makes sense. No, no it doesn’t. Early congratulations to Bret McKenzie on his first Oscar win!
Ryan Gosling: This is Gosling’s second year in a row on my list. Poor guy just can’t catch a break. Last year the actor was overlooked for BLUE VALENTINE and this year he missed the boat for both DRIVE and THE IDES OF MARCH. While it’s true that he was an Oscar nominee once before (for 2006’s HALF NELSON), you’ve got to wonder if the Academy has a grudge against Gosling. Maybe they’re jealous of his good looks. I know I am.