The Oscar nominations happened at around 5:40 am today. I know this because I have occasional bouts of insomnia, and I happened to be up at that time. I feel lame because it seems like I set my alarm for this, and that’s not the case at all. If I’m going to leave the TV on to try to go back to sleep, I might as well watch something that’s actually happening as opposed to SyFy’s rerun of Mansquito or one of those real-estate scam infomercials.
So, I watched Precious’ Mom and, uh… The Dude That Runs Movies announce the nominees. Real quick: they couldn’t get another celebrity to read these off with Mo’Nique? What’s Marion Cotillard doing? That would be the most adorable reading ever.
“Ze Social Network.”
I will expound on my opinions further, but the main takeaway was that this was perhaps the least surprising Oscar race in recent memory. Who got nominated? Everyone you expected (except Chris Nolan). I haven’t been less surprised since Clay Aiken came out.
Anyhoo, onwards and upwards…
True Grit All Up in This Bitch
The only real deviation from the Golden Globes came from True Grit‘s inclusion. It was notably absent from the Globes, obviously to make room for The Tourist. So the nominees played like the same list with Grit folks substituting for someone else, resulting in a couple of bumps. Hailee Steinfeld’s nomination probably bumped Mila Kunis from Black Swan off the list, which is a shame, since Kunis was about the only thing I liked about Black Swan, other than the cinematography. (I was going to just abbreviate it “BS,” but that’d be gauche.)
More notably, though, was that the Coen Bros inclusion for Best Director probably knocked Christopher Nolan out of the way. I really wanted to see Nolan up for this, given the number of narrative balls Inception ends up juggling by the end; successfully, to boot. But, if AMPAS wouldn’t give him a nod for The Dark Knight, I guess it wasn’t happening this year either.
Even more criminal to me, though, is Inception‘s exclusion from Best Film Editing. By the end, the movie had four separate narrative tracks, each running on its own timeframe, and it all went seamlessly. That’s at least worth a place at the table. But, whatever. Black Swan needed to be lauded for its editing of Natalie Portman jilling off.
Again, it’s not worth seeing the movie, guys.
The Animated Conundrum
I guess Best Animated Film, though it can be expanded to five nominees, is only required to have three. Last year, the expansion option was invoked, and four films competed for the chance to lose to Up. Much was made in 2010 of the similar amount of quality animation, so I thought we’d see five nominees again.
This time, only two movies get the chance to lose to Pixar: How to Train Your Dragon and The Illusionist. That’s not to take away from either film – I’ve heard they’re great – but I’ve also heard very good buzz about Despicable Me, Megamind, and Tangled. Maybe they don’t have a shot at the Oscar against Toy Story 3, but given the remarkably weak slate Hollywood had in general last year, animation had a surprisingly good year critically, and it would have been nice to throw a couple more bones that way.
But, it’s Pixartown again this year. Sorry, everyone else.
The Odd Nominees
Every year, the Oscars have odd nominees; nominations for films that have no business having “Oscar” in the same sentence with them. What I found:
- The Tempest, Best Costume Design: Nothing against the costumes, as I’m sure they’re very lavish and flowy, but Taymor’s version of Shakespeare’s play arrived with a thud, followed by a rolling over, then possibly a fart. I’m amazed it got this.
- The Wolfman, Best Makeup: This movie is remarkable in that I don’t know anyone who liked it. And I don’t know if I’d give it a Best Makeup award, since turning Benicio Del Toro into a wolfman is actually rather easy. Turn Emily Blunt into a wolfman, and we’ll talk.
- “Coming Home” from Country Strong, Best Song: Did you hear that banshee-like wail coming from the coastal area? That’s me, dreading the inevitable commercials for this movie proclaiming it an “Oscar nominee!” From what I gather, this movie may be Yakmala-worthy, but it gets to throw this on the DVD box. BARF.
- Technical awards are funny, in that the occasional run-of-the-mill summer action flicks get nominated. Such is the case for Unstoppable for Best Sound Editing and Salt for Best Sound Mixing. What I always look forward to are the explanatory montages they have every year to explain what it is a sound crew actually does.
I initially thought Social Network‘s dominance at the Globes boded well for it come Oscar time. But with True Grit shoehorned in all over the place, it seems a lot less certain. I’m still picking Social, but True Grit winning won’t be all that shocking. Here’s my list of picks:
- Best Picture: Social Network
- Best Actor: Colin Firth (sorry, Jesse)
- Best Actress: Natalie Portman (sorry, everyone)
- Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (Nostradamus could predict this one)
- Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo
- Best Director: David Fincher
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Social Network (Sorkin’s already bought the veggie tray for the afterparty)
- Best Original Screenplay: The Fighter (though I want Nolan to win instead)
- Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3 (if this doesn’t win, the Kodak Theatre’s getting burned down)
- Best Documentary Feature: I want Exit Through the Gift Shop, as it’s awesome and the only one I’ve seen in the category, but one of the others will probably win. Let’s say Restrepo.
- Other categories: Don’t really care. Good luck to all of them.
I’m usually uninformed about the Oscars as I rarely see many of the nominated films before the show. I’ve actually done better this year, since I’ve seen four of the ten Best Picture nominees, and a couple other nominated films to boot. I’ll probably be able to knock another couple down before the ceremony as well. But it’s still one of the least surprising years on record, and those are safe bets above.
Now I’m just waiting for whomever gets to introduce Inception as a Best Picture nominee. “Um… fuck it. They fight in a floating hallway. Inception.”