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Oscar Nominations and Quick Thoughts

Alright, the nominees for the 2012 Oscars are in.  I’ll admit that I have a love/hate relationship with these awards.  They are way too long, the musical numbers are sort of boring to me, and I really hate how the academy chooses sometimes.  But, I do enjoy movies, I like watching the reactions of winners/losers, and I like rooting for movies I love (The Hurt Locker‘s and Kathryn Bigelow‘s triumph were probably my favorite moments of recent memory).  I’ll do a more in-depth Oscar post closer to the awards, but here are the nominees with some very quick thoughts that I’ll probably regret later.

Best Picture

  • “War Horse”
  • “The Artist”
  • “Moneyball”
  • “The Descendants”
  • “The Tree of Life”
  • “Midnight in Paris”
  • “The Help”
  • “Hugo”
  • “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

A few surprises here.  Everyone had basically written off “War Horse” after it got snubbed from the other awards, but it makes an appearance here, though I don’t see it winning.  No nomination for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” but I think that’s for the best as frankly, I’m just sick of that movie (although, I could see how some people might have wanted it after Fincher and company got totally robbed with “The Social Network”).  Not sure where “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” came from, although it stars a few Academy favorites.  I haven’t seen it, but making a movie about 9/11 is such an endeavor that I wonder if that will hurt or help its chances.  My frontrunner now is “The Artist” with “The Descendants” in second, with “Hugo” in third, but we’ll see what happens.

Best Actor

  • Demián Bichir, “A Better Life”
  • Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Personally, I’d go with Jean Dujardin in this one, but George Clooney has had a good year, so he may have a chance.  Very nice to see Gary Oldman getting a nomination as he is a tireless worker who is often overlooked because of the character bits he plays.  Again, I feel like Jean Dujardin has the momentum, but Clooney could make a run as well.  No Michael Fassbender here for “Shame”, I’m guessing NC-17 is a little too edgy for an award nom these days.

Best Actress

  • Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
  • Rooney Mara, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
  • Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”

So it’s here that Rooney Mara gets the only big nomination for her film.  Big names here with Glenn Close and Meryl Streep.  I’m sort of sick of Meryl Streep getting nominated and I was sort of glad to see critics go after “The Iron Lady”.  She is definitely a great actress, but for some reason I am starting to view all of her performances as Meryl being Meryl, and nothing else.  I think Michelle Williams actually might pick this one up, but that’s just a first thought.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
  • Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
  • Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
  • Max von Sydow “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

First off, I really liked “Warrior” so I’m glad to see Nick Nolte get a nomination.  I don’t think he’ll win though, the same goes for Jonah Hill.  There are too many legends in this category to root against them this time.  Someone with grey hair will take this one.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Bérénice Bejo, “The Artist”
  • Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
  • Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
  • Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Here’s where “The Help” might pick up a win, as I don’t really see it winning any other of its categories (though I may be wrong since audiences seemed to love it).  Since Viola Davis probably won’t win best actress, would the Academy then vote for Octavia Spencer instead?  I feel Jessica Chastain gets the nomination here because of her other work this year.  Berenice Bejo really became her character, but Melissa McCarthy could take this one as a semi-dark horse.

Best Director

  • Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
  • Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
  • Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
  • Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
  • Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

No Fincher nomination, or Spielberg for that matter.  The latter probably doesn’t deserve it, but I think a few people might think Fincher does, especially because he should have won for “The Social Network”.  If “The Artist” gets sweep momentum then it could win this, but Malick has a shot here as “The Tree of Life” got great reviews and probably won’t win much else.  This one will be good.

I’m skipping animated feature because I think it’s a stupid category and it basically shuts out Pixar from ever winning an Oscar for Best Picture, which is a shame because they make amazing films.

I’ll save the rest of the nominees for a predictions post, but really quickly a few thoughts.  No standout for Original Screenplay, unlike the year Diablo Cody won for “Juno” or Cameron Crowe picked it up for “Almost Famous.”  Could Harry Win for Art Direction?  I dunno, but I liked the darkness of the film.  I feel like Cinematography is the one chance for “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, except maybe editing as well.  Few nominations for “Drive” even though it was loved by everyone.  Nice to see “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” nominated.  I wonder if the buzz about “West of Memphis” will help or hurt its chances.  Anyway, those are my thoughts, they’re probably wrong, but we’ll see won’t we?