Oscars: Nominations for 84th Annual Academy Awards Announced
Scroll to the bottom for the full list of nominees.
Love em or hate em, Oscar season always manages to be a special time of year. As political and ridiculous as they've become, it's still a time to celebrate some of the year's best films, and this year is no exception. There were definitely some bonehead decisions made yet again by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, but most of what should be considered among the best films of 2011 did make the cut, as well as a few nice surprises.
Leading the pack was Hugo, Martin Scorsese's latest film. After years of being snubbed by the Academy, he's finally being rewarded in his recent entries, and interestingly, the one time he strays away from gritty and violent dramas, he gets 11 nominations. Best screenplay (the very talented John Logan), best picture, best score, best director, and pretty much anything that has to do with visual effects. We would have liked to see Ben Kingsley get a nod for best supporting actor, but we're not going to complain. It's hard to call Scorsese a favorite, but he won the Golden Globe, so who knows?
Close behind was the expected leader, The Artist, with ten nominations, which was strong in the acting categories, and will be a strong favorite for best picture, and a contender for writing and directing. The film was praised for daring to be different (in other words, silent) in a day and age where most movies make their money by being loud. Expect them to have a good win percentage by the end of the night.
Moneyball and War Horse were next with six nominations each, including nods for best picture. Skinnyman Jonah Hill was expectedly nominated for one of his final fat performances, as was Brad Pitt, who remains my favorite, despite losing the Globe to his buddy George Clooney. Despite picking up five noms, one of the bigger surprises was Steven Spielberg's snub not only for directing this film, but also for The Adventures of Tintin, which got shut out outside of best score -- not even a nomination for best animated feature, a category I expected it to win.
The Descendants and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo brought in five nominations each, and the two couldn't be more different. The Descendants will be favorites in most of its categories, especially writing and directing, as well as for best actor (Clooney). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's nominations are all for sound and visuals, all well deserved, but it's interesting to see Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross snubbed for best score after winning it for The Social Network last year. Big surprise: Rooney Mara getting nominated for a role no one thought could be outdone after Noomi Rapace took it on in the Swedish version.
The Help and Midnight in Paris come in with four noms each. Both seem a little low, but expect both to have a shot at winning. The Help should take home an acting nod, with three ladies nominated, including the surprising Jessica Chastain. For Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen will have an outside shot at being a triple winner.
The most pleasant surprises, for me, are for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a film which was shut out at the Globes. The incredibly deserving Gary Oldman finally gets his first nomination, but the chameleon actor will face some stiff competition, going up against two heavyweights in Pitt and Clooney, as well as a potential sleeper in Jean Dujardin, who took home a Globe last week.
The Best Actress category is Meryl Streep's to lose for The Iron Lady, but the other Globe winner, Michelle Williams, will give her a run for her money after My Week with Marilyn. It's a strong category, with Viola Davis, Glenn Close and of course Rooney Mara rounding out the five.
The Best Supporting Actor category is filled with underdogs, including Jonah Hill, Nick Nolte (Warrior) and Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which gets two nominations, including a mind-boggling nod for best pic, desptie being critically panned), but it likely belongs to Christopher Plummer for Beginners. But the best supporting actress category probably contains the biggest surprise. The Help got two nominations here, as expected, but among the other nominees is... Melissa McCarthy? The woman who shat in a sink? We'll take it! Kristin Wiig also finds herself nominated for best writing. No, really.
The other big surprise of the announcements, and maybe my favorite nomination of all time, is one half of Flight of the Conchords, Bret McKenzie, getting nominated for writing a song asking Jason Segel and Jim Parsons whether they're a man or a muppet. We loved The Muppets, but that was certainly unexpected. The funniest thing about this is that the two people who were at each others throats at the Globes in this category, Madonna and Elton John, were totally snubbed.
While the snubs of the likes of Spielberg, Michael Fassbender, and Albert Brooks were pretty bad, none were worse than Ryan Gosling getting snubbed despite putting on two terrific performances in Drive and The Ides of March. Both films were left out of many categories they should have been in, including best director for George Clooney. Then, there's of course Sad Leo who will have to continue his quest to win that Oscar with Django Unchained in 2012. The one that had everyone talking was Andy Serkis's performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which had people in Hollywood buzzing and everyone lobbying for him to get a nomination, but it didn't pan out.
In any case, we could argue about who deserves to be where over who until the show airs on February 26th when Billy Crystal hosts the 84th Academy Awards, but odds are, the right people will end up winning. Check out the full list of leading categories below, or if you're a nerd like me and you like to look at the technical categories as well, click here.