E: YES!!!! Now, so what if I didn’t get a single category completely right. Who cares! Winter’s Bone made the cut! And so did my favorite supporting performance! Now, there were snubs, and one piece of total weirdness, but all in all, there weren’t a massive number of surprises. No one came out of left field.
And I still did pretty well. But even better, some movies I love did really well, too! Let the crowing, whooping and hollering commence!
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone*
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Now that, my friends, is how I like to make a mistake – hoping against hope that my favorite will get in, but not expecting it, not counting on it, and then the fairy godmother waves her wand and there they are! What a fantastic, marvelous gift – first to a deeply deserving actor, but also to fans of his wonderful work (as my family has been, for the record, since his guest starring role on The Practice). The only flick I have yet to see here is The Town, but the four nominees I have seen are absolutely stellar. Seriously, this makes the Oscars for me. Bale, Hawkes and Ruffalo are all first time nominees. Seeing veterans break through like that (and yes, even Bale is a veteran; you saw Newsies, right?) is a satisfying thing.
Supporting Actress: 4/5
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit*
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
You know what this category proves to me? People are idiot sheep and can be spoonfed the most preposterous crap. Oh, I’m happy to have her nominated, don’t get me wrong. Just go see True Grit – and you should, it’s not the highest grossing Western for nothing – and tell me in what way Mattie Ross is a supporting role. I’m sorry for Mila Kunis – even though it doesn’t particularly shock me that the Academy could swallow nominating her – but I’m very happy for Jacki Weaver. She must be thrilled. Weaver and Steinfeld get their first nominations; pretty good for a 14 year old first time actress, and someone who’s never acted in an American movie, huh?
Javier Bardem, Biutiful*
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Julia Roberts, well done! The queen of Hollywood has been hosting screenings of this movie to promote her Eat,Pray, Love costar’s work in this Mexican film (also nominated for foreign film) and it looks like she might be a pretty good publicist. I didn’t think that Duvall had enough umph, enough momentum to get this nod; I’m not shocked it’s Bardem, even if I did think Gosling would muscle him aside, and I have to wonder again if it isn’t the age thing. Still, a really nice change of pace, this list. 2 first time nominees – that’s always fun.
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine*
Well, I did say that if Steinfeld ended up in supporting, it’d be Michelle Williams earning her second nod, and here she is. I just didn’t believe people would be so unthinking. However, I’m glad for Williams, who’s turned out to be a pretty terrific actress, which can’t be said of most folks who star on teen soaps. And of course, like I said, I’m glad Steinfeld got nominated for her fantastic work. But here, I’m most excited for Jennifer Lawrence. It wasn’t a surprise, but it’s such a pleasure to see this haunting movie do well. If you haven’t, see Winter’s Bone! It’s on dvd!
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David O. Russell, The Fighter*
So, I am really, really surprised that Christopher Nolan was slighted for his work with Inception. The Director’s branch has done far wackier things than this, but still, that movie is such a director’s movie it seems impossible that they could ignore him. But I suppose that movie is all about the possibilities of the impossible, isn’t it? And I guess it was always here under the “will be nominated but can’t win” flag, which made Nolan ripe for sacrifice.
This turns out to be something of an instructive category. It tells us that True Grit and The Fighter have been moving up in the standings, but they can’t replace Fincher and Aronofsky, whom everyone respects. That’s not a surprise. It’s the fact that totally unknown Brit Tom Hooper stayed on. That tells me how much the Academy likes his movie, and ought to be taken as a really good sign for fans of The King’s Speech.
Best Picture: 9/10
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
Sorry, Ben Affleck. I understand you made a really terrific movie, and I’m looking forward to seeing The Town when the dvd comes from Netflix later this week. And I’m sorry to see a locally made, local story get dismissed. But I want to leap out of my seat with freaking joy for Winter’s Bone! Like I said, this is my absolute favorite kind of mistake. Woohoo!!!! It just looks like in the fight for those last three nominations, the dramas from early fall duked it out, and the hiker beat the bank robbers. Well, we knew he was hard core already! No real shock, just reshuffling of the expected possibilities. But yay, the girl stayed in the story after all! And it also means that 40% of the best picture nominees are women’s stories! Check lists of past years – this is unusual, and worth a moment’s celebration. Also worth celebrating; there are some pretty terrific films on this list.
So that’s what, 29 out of 35 correctly predicted? Not a bad score, if not my best. Animation looks just like I pictured, and the screenplay races are pretty near what was expected as well.
I’ve some general thoughts. I’m sure someone will answer this question by the end of the day, but why are there only 4 nominated songs? Not enough songs in movies this year to qualify? Why do I think that’s not it… I’m surprised to see Burlesque left off the list here, but Country Strong, Tangled, Toy Story 3 and 127 Hours all have gotten notice for their music, so they’re not shocking.
I’m pleased to see that Harry Potter picked up several nominations, for Art Direction and Visual Effects, but surprised that Black Swan was left out of the costumes. Perhaps there were too many regular clothes and not enough tutus? How to Train Your Dragon for a nod for its score, bringing its total to two, which is actually awesome for an animated movie.
So. 8 nominations for The Social Network. Not only does the perceived front runner not get the most nominations, it isn’t even in second – that’s True Grit with 10. The King’s Speech marches majestically before the field with 12 nominations. Is it worth remarking that the picture which gets the most nominations usually wins? But it’s easy to see where these increased numbers came from – no one’s going to swoon over the costumes in The Social Network, or the Art Direction. Half that movie’s spent in darkly lit dorm rooms and bland conference rooms. It was those two extra acting nominations – and loss of a supporting nod for any of The Social Network crew – that did the rest of the damage. The Fighter charges in with 7. Black Swan perhaps underperformed with only 5 nominations (nothing for Costume or for screenplay), equaling Toy Story 3 . The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone both pulled in 4.
In a rather cute random incident, the hosts interviewed Colin Firth on the Today Show, and he was absolutely adorable – set up at some sort of castle it appears, and very sweet. He talked about how he couldn’t imagine it could get any better than being nominated last year, and that he feels like he’d been shot out of a cannon and was orbiting Pluto. Every highlighted how much cohost Meredith Viera has been pushing the movie (I wonder if this makes a difference – she was a staunch proponent of Slumdog Millionaire a few years ago, touting it at every possible opportunity. Did it help that film’s success? Who can say?)
At any rate, they then went on to interview cohost and nominee James Franco, who, it turns out, had been listening to Viera and Matt Lauer tell Firth that he’s got it in the bag. (This is probably true, but it’s tempting fate to say it, I expect.) Ah, how embarrassing, and Franco did not let them forget it.
All in all, I am just really really happy this morning. Let’s all finish watching these films, shall we, in preparation for the ceremony on February 27th! There really is a lot to be gleeful about.