Oscar Nominations and Reactions 2012

E: Damn you, Dave Karger.  How is it that you sometimes know what no one else does?  How the heck did you call Max Von Sydow?

This morning’s nominations bring a happy number of surprises and more than a few nominations that weren’t so shocking.  And nine Best Picture nominees! Wow!

Let’s get to it.

Best Supporting Actor:

I said:  Kenneth Branagh, Albert Brooks, Jonah Hill, Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer

They nominated: Kenneth Branagh, Jonah Hill, Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer, Max Von Sydow

Okay, here it is.  I did just as well as Dave Karger (who picked Brooks instead of Nolte), but I will be damned if I can figure out how he knew it would be Von Sydow when he hadn’t be nominated for a single precursor award.  But there it is. He was right, and everyone else was wrong.  You saw my reasoning, and the long list of fellows who’d been nominated for other awards.  I”m not at all surprised to get one wrong; in fact, I’m rather pleased to have gotten 4 out of 5.  Brooks not getting the BAFTA nom, when they clearly loved his movie, turns out to have been a good sign of things to come. But.  I guess it’s the year for silence – Von Sydow plays a character who hasn’t spoken since the second World War.

Best Supporting Actress

I said: Berenice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Janet McTeer, Octavia Spencer, Shailene Woodley

They Nominated: Berenice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, Janet McTeer, Octavia Spencer

4 out of 5 again.  As you recall, I said it would be some combination of McCarthy, McTeer and Woodley.  I picked the wrong one.  I knew picking Woodley was a bit of a risk, but her performance was so lovely, I decided to take a chance.  I’m really happy for the super likable McCarthy that she and close friend Spencer will get to go through the nomination whirlwind together.  Fun fact; 4 out of 5 women are first time nominees, with McTeer being the only repeat.

Best Actor:

I said: George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jean Dujardin, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

They nominated: Demian Bichir, George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt

This turned out to be my worst category – 3 for 5.  Bichir and Oldman had made my alternate list, and I had identified DiCaprio and Fassbender as the weakest links on the presumed list, but wow.  Two non-native speakers on the list?  I don’t think that’s ever happened before (and like I said is definitely a sign that this was not a big year for lead male performances).  Oldman picks up his first nomination for playing John LeCarre’s famous spy; this movie was expected to get more buzz than it did.  Now it’s making up for that.  Looks like the SAG nomination for Mexican star Bichir and the BAFTA nod for Oldman really did indicate momentum.  I downplayed that since he and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are both British and they often prefer their own, but apparently I shouldn’t have.  As far as I can tell, Bichir will be only the second Mexican born actor to be nominated, after four time nominee Anthony Quinn.

All of this, in case you were wondering, adds up to George Clooney being in an even better position to win that he was before.

Best Actress:

I said: Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Tilda Swinton, Michelle Williams

They nominated: Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Rooney Mara, Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams

4 out of 5.  Swinton was clearly the vulnerable one, and Mara was clearly the best alternative, but it’s still a little bit of a surprise.  I’m really pleased for Mara – and I’m more pleased for myself, because now I don’t have to see We Need to Talk About Kevin, which, frankly, I was not looking forward to.  So, yay?   The fight is still between Davis and Streep.  I am actually hearing a bit more chatter along the lines of “when the heck are they going to let Meryl win?” which is encouraging – but I’m going to try not to let myself get too invested there, because we know Meryl always loses these head to head battles.

Best Director

I said: Woody Allen, David Fincher, Michel Hazanavicius, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese

They nominated: Woody Allen, Michel Hazanavicius, Terence Malick, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese

4 out of 5 again. Well, I said the last slot was between Fincher, Malick, and Spielberg; I just picked the wrong horse.  I don’t feel badly about it; it really could have been any of them.  I should have said in the prediction post, but the exclusion of Tate Taylor, director of The Help, signals that The Help isn’t a top contender.   It’s virtually impossible for a film to win when it’s director hasn’t been nominated; it’s a clear sign that the film doesn’t have enough across the board support.  You have to go back to Driving Miss Daisy for an example of that even being possible.  Given that, you have to consider that the only films with even a scrap of a chance to beat frontrunner The Artist are The Descendants (perhaps weakened by Woodley’s snubbing) and nomination count winner Hugo.

Best Picture

I said: The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, War Horse

They nominated: The Artist,The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, Tree of Life, War Horse

I got 7 out of 9, which is – I don’t know.  I didn’t get any wrong, but I didn’t pick enough, and I certainly wouldn’t have picked Extremely Loud – it barely made my long shot list.   Clearly the Academy liked the 9/11 family drama.  Tree of Life is less surprising.  And it’s already out on dvd for those who haven’t seen it (as are The Help, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball), so hurrah!  Everything else you can see in theaters.  Man, it really is an interesting list.

Other categories:

Not only did Steven Spielberg miss out on a director’s nom, he was denied the expected Animated Feature nod for The Adventures of Tintin.  Now that’s a big, big shock.  And the movies that took it’s place?  A Cat in Paris and Chico and Rita.  Huh?  (Actually, even though I’ve never heard of it, A Cat in Paris is such a wonderfully evocative title; I totally want to see it now, though heaven knows where its available!) Just not a great year for animated film, so the voters went pretty far afield to get nominees they were passionate about, it seems.

I was happy to see an Adapted Screenplay nomination for the married writing team behind Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, chiefly because the wife unexpectedly passed away; it’s a lovely tribute for her and consolation for her grieving husband.   Kristin Wiig did get her writing nod.  It’s nice to see a few women writers make the list. George Clooney had a pretty good morning (he just added a screenplay nod to his resume for Ides of March);Pitt and Davis both star in multiple Best Picture nominees.  The Iron Lady and Harry Potter both got make up nods; I’d never thought I’d be so excited about make up.

Now I know MMGF and I complained that there weren’t a lot of good songs this year, but seriously, only two nominees?  That’s pathetic.  Absolutely pathetic. Glenn Close will have to be content with her lead actress nomination; the song she co-wrote did not make that tiny list.  Good for Bret McKenzie, however; his “Man or Muppet” did make it.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was snubbed for its much lauded score.  Tintin did manage to sneak in a nomination here (if it can be considered sneaking when your composer is John Williams).

And that’s about it for now!  What are your thoughts?  Are there movies you’re excited about?  Snubs you can’t believe?  What’re you going to run out and see?  For a full list of nominations, go here.

3 comments on “Oscar Nominations and Reactions 2012

  1. John says:

    Awesome – great job E! To come so close to picking all the nominees in so many categories is really excellent. I think you can be forgiven for not picking 9 best-picture nominees. Who knew that “Extremely Loud” and “Tree of Life” would get enough top picks to get included? As you said, you didn’t actually get any wrong, of the ones you picked, so that’s pretty darn good.

    Of the Best Picture nominees, I still have to see “Extremely Loud”, “Hugo” (you saw that one without me), Tree of Life, and War Horse. So, not bad.

    I’d also be interested in seeing Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, from the Best Actor category. Of the Best Actress nominees, I’ve only seen Viola Davis in “The Help”, but I’d be particularly interested in seeing Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, and probably Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”, although that one sort of creeps me out a little (it’s probably a guy thing). Maybe Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn” would be safer…


    • M says:

      I totally agree with John. In predicting Best Picture with the post-2010 parameters on the nominations, you can guess at how many will be nominated, but given the rules it isn’t even an educated case. So, I’d say the number of pictures nominated counts as a separate prediction, with the results:

      You said: 7
      They nominated: 9

      However, for your picks, you were a clean 7 for 7, well done.

      As for Max Von Sydow (who, I’m sure we all agree, should have been nominated for Strange Brew), I read on AICN that he was expected to be nominated. Of course, that review didn’t agree that he should be, and called Extremely Loud the worst film of 2011, but still, the buzz was there, so it wasn’t just Dave Karger’s insider knowledge that allowed the prediction.

      • E says:

        Well, but see, expected by whom? Expected by Dave Karger, who is one of the top people. He wasn’t even on Sasha Stone’s list over at Awards Daily, and she’s another of the top people. He was outside the top contenders on Goldderby, which is a top compilation site. And if you look at the precursor awards – Golden Globes, SAG, Broadcast Critics and Bafta? He was nominated by no one. That’s unusual. It just is. Karger can really pat himself on the back for calling this one.

        As for making it two separate scores, I like that! Good idea, M. It occurs to me now I should have ranked the choices; I’ll do that next year if they keep this method of picking Best Picture. If I’d done that this year, I’d have put Tree of Life at 8 and GWTDT at 9, and ELAIC at 10, so I would have missed that one.

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