It’s that time of year again in Hollywood, the annual motion picture awards season, and Tuesday morning was the announcement of the nominees for the most coveted award in the film industry, the Oscars. As always, there were a few shocks (i.e. snubs!) and a laundry list of talented contenders. But will Leo ever get his chance at the golden statue! Check out who made the cut for this year’s list of Academy noms.
The main acting awards saw nominations for eleven different films this year running the gamut from smaller films such as A Better Life to the commercial juggernaut Bridesmaids. Receiving multiple acting honors were The Artist for leading actor and supporting actress (Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo), Moneyball for lead and supporting actors (Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, respectively), My week with Marilyn for leading actress and supporting actor (Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh), Albert Nobbs for leading and supporting actress (Glenn Close and Janet McTeer, respectively), and The Help for lead actress (Viola Davis) and dual nominations for supporting actress (Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer). With the expansion of the Best Picture category a few years ago there are nine films up for the top prize- Best Picture. Following their wins for Best Picture in their respective categories at the Golden Globe Awards a little over a week ago, the front runners for the Oscar are the nearly silent film The Artist and the Hawaiian drama The Descendants.
As with the nominating process every year, there are some surprises. Probably the biggest snubs of the year were in the men’s acting categories. Michael Fassbender, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ryan Gosling were all left out of the running for the Oscar for a leading actor. For Leonardo DiCaprio not receiving any Oscar love is beginning to become a pattern as he is probably the most snubbed leading man in recent years, failing to receive nominations for Titanic, The Departed, Revolutionary Road, or J. Edgar. Other notable snubs were for Tilda Swinton for leading actress and of all things Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut In the Land of Blood and Honey in the foreign language film category. In the Land of Blood and Honey was thought to be a leading contender alongside A Separation for the award, but alas was locked out of the category. Perhaps it was backlash against a U.S. film being submitted in the foreign language film category, because clearly we don’t have enough of those. Oh well, Angelina still has Brad Pitt to go home to at the end of the day, and they’ll have his nomination for his work in Moneyball to celebrate as a consolation.
Probably the biggest surprises were the nominations of Demian Bichir (for A Better Life) for leading actor, and Melissa McCarthy (for Bridesmaids) as supporting actress. I’m sure a lot of people are googling to find out about A Better Life since it was a low budget (~ $10M) film with a limited release. The good news is it’s already on DVD if you want to check it out. Personally, I was really excited to see McCarthy get the nod. After being left out of the Golden Globes names, I didn’t expect her name to get the call, but if you’ve seen Bridesmaids (not exactly typical Oscar fare) you’ll remember what a scene stealer she was.
Lastly, in probably what is the most head-scratching period of the entire nomination process was the lack of nominations for Best Original Song. A once prestigious category that brought us past winners the likes of “Over the Rainbow”, “White Christmas” and 80’s favorites “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun and “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, this category has seemed to fall on hard times lately. Nominations in this category appear to be shrinking with three of the last seven years, including this awards season, having only two nominations. With only two nominees it kind of makes the process seem a little pointless.
While the era of soundtracks filled with original music developed specifically for a film sort of went out of fashion in the last couple of decades, the reason for this year’s low number of nominations is a little bewildering considering last month the Academy released a 39-song shortlist of submissions. Someone probably needs to look into the voting rules in this category and suggest some serious revisions. You know something fishy is going on when not one of the four original songs up for the Golden Globe just last week managed to even garner a nomination. With “Hello, Hello” from Gnomeo and Juliet shut out of the Academy Awards, we will be forced to miss an appearance from two of the most flamboyant and interesting people the red carpet could of hosted, Sir Elton John and Lady f**n Gaga. I guess we’ll have to settle for enjoying the beautiful dresses instead.
While the 84th Annual Academy Awards show won’t be on for another month, February 26th, that won’t stop the odds makers and amateur fortune tellers from already making predictions about the winners. If you’re anything like me you’ve probably already printed out your voting form. If not, here’s the link to the full list of the award’s nominees, so go print one out and get a bottle of champagne ready because nothing says glamour like curling up on your coach watching the Oscars with your best girl friends and a glass of bubbly. Well, short of actually attending! Cheers!