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The 84 th Annual Academy Awards

An awards show recognizing 2011's accomplishment in film.

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Road to the Oscars 2012: First Thoughts

  • Jan 25, 2012
The Road to Wrestlemani...the Oscars have finally begun. Most would agree it was a pretty weak year in film. There are a score of movies that came out last year which would probably be taking home the award this year. That is just not the case though, so let's take a look at some of the nominations or lack there of

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“The Help”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

With different rules this year one of the biggest questions was how many movies would be nominated in this category. In order to be nominated for best picture the movie needed to receive at least 5% of the vote. Many thought that because the field was weak this year it would lead to fewer nominees. Instead it led to more. With the most surprising selection being “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” followed closely by “The Tree of Life.” Both of these movies left critics and audiences highly divided walking out of the theater. Despite the Academy not normally supporting comedies, I honestly thought that “Bridesmaids” would make it through this year, sadly it was not to be as the combination of Tom Hanks and September 11th seems too strong a pull for the older Academy voters. While it was never going to happen weren’t you kind of hoping to see the final Harry Potter movie get nominated, say what you wish about the series, bit if you put away any bias you may have it was a good movie, and one of the best this year. Not an artistic choice, but a really well done movie.

Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist")
Alexander Payne ("The Descendants")
Martin Scorsese ("Hugo")
Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris")
Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life")

Four of the five directors nominated also were nominated for the Director's Guild Award. While it may shock some to see Steven Spielberg off the list, the more surprising diss is without question David Fincher for his take on “The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo.” Spielberg is usually snubbed come awards season, it didn't help that his horse movie wasn't as so much good as it was sentimental. Fincher did terrific work, well maybe not terrific but certainly better than Terrence Malick whose own star couldn’t even understand “The Tree of Life.”

Demián Bichir ("A Better Life")
George Clooney "The Descendants")
Jean Dujardin ("The Artist")
Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy")
Brad Pitt ("Moneyball")

Clooney, Pitt, and Dujardin, were obvious selections and while it seems to be a two man race between Clooney and Dujardin many thought that two of the biggest rising stars in Hollywood would get the nod as well. Without a doubt the biggest snubs of the day came in this category with the exclusion of Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling. Gosling had three fantastic performances in “The Ides of March,” “Drive,” and “Crazy, Stupid Love” (which would actually get him a supporting nomination). But Fassbender seemed like the bigger snub of the two, though it makes more sense as Academy voters typically don't support naked men. But seriously has anyone seen “A Better Life’ besides Christoph Waltz?

Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs")
Viola Davis ("The Help")
Rooney Mara ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo")
Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady")
Michelle Williams ("My Week with Marilyn")

A lot of people are surprised that Rooney Mara made the list; I am not one of them. She did well but many of the experts thought that took away from Tilda Swinton for Let's Talk About Kevin. I didn't see this one so can't speak to it. Moving on.

Kenneth Branagh ("My Week with Marilyn")
Jonah Hill ("Moneyball")
Nick Nolte ("Warrior")
Christopher Plummer ("Beginners")
Max von Sydow ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close")

Love that Nick Nolte got nominated for “Warrior.” This was one of my favorite movies of the year and I suggest every guy out there go out and watch this one. This is one of the reasons that Tom Hardy got cast as Bane. The movie was marketed wrong initially, but it had a lot of great action sequences and was a fun watch. I did not think that Jonah Hill was going to get nominated either, but was glad to see him on the list. Now the question is did Albert Brooks deserve the nomination. He certainly was good but I completely forgot about his performance until people kept talking about it which may be the most telling sign of his deserving the honor.

Bérénice Bejo ("The Artist")
Jessica Chastain ("The Help")
Melissa McCarthy ("Bridesmaids")
Janet McTeer ("Albert Nobbs")
Octavia Spencer ("The Help")

It is surprising that Bejo got nominated in this category and not for lead actress, but that was her decision to make as she submits herself into the category. Melissa McCarthy getting nominated was well deserved for her performance and also a way to make up for the fact that her movie didn't make it to the big one. But everyone knows this award will belong to Octavia Spencer by the end of the night.

Best Animated Film
“A Cat in Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”

How did Puss in Boots get nominated? And while “Cars 2” didn't make it, and didn't deserve to make it I'm still surprised it didn't make it. This will be the first year in a while that Pixar won't walk away with the major award, which means this field is wide open.

Finally how are there only two songs nominated for Best Song. Man or Muppet will go head-to-head with Real in Rio. But where is the love, for songs from Elton John, Mary J. Blidge, and this year's Golden Globe winner Madonna all being left off the list. Even with the prospect of a Muppet performance at The Oscars it is surprising not to see more nominations, and for that matter where is the love for last year's winner Trent Reznor. His score for “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is what garnered a lot of the early buzz for the movie. You certainly could take off one of John Williams’s two nominations for scores as that are completely interchangeable and sound like every other Spielberg movie he worked on
Those were my thoughts. What did you think? Let me know.

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January 25, 2012
Agreed on the music...WTH?!? I'm a little surprised that Leo DiCaprio didn't get a nod but, I'm biased, I think he's been robbed of Awards forever. I also think that Gosling should've gotten something? He showed a great range in those movies. I'm a little surprised at The Artist...didn't it JUST come out? How can it win so many awards? I know the Academy gets a preview but, how much earlier do they watch the films than us mere mortals? Things that make you go hmmmm....
More 84th Academy Awards reviews
review by . March 04, 2012
I've made few secrets about how much I love the Oscars.  I love the guessing games.  I love the oscar pools.  I love watching the red carpet and watching the glamorous dresses and picking out the best and worst dress.  I like the guessing game.  The Oscars isn't about watching pretentious movie snobs give out awards.  It is, like some of the other award shows, about the entertainment factor and about hoping we see the people (or film, in this case) win what …
Quick Tip by . February 27, 2012
Was that last night?  I was too busy watching The Walking Dead and then snoozing through Comic Book Men to check out the Academy Awards.      All jokes aside, I'm sick and tired of all of these self-serving awards programs.  95% of the time the general public doesn't even know most of the films that get nominations. 
Quick Tip by . February 28, 2012
This show seems to get more boring each year. After a fairly exciting Grammy Awards two weeks ago, this show is a real snooze. How a silent French black and white film can be the best picture and how an actor with no lines can win best actor is beyond me. The Red Carpet pre-show was a lot more interesting and even that was boring compared to the Grammys pre-show.
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