Thursday, January 10, 2013

And this year's Oscar nominations go to...NOT Ben Affleck?!

The 2013 Academy Award nominations came out today. And I'm in a bit of a daze. Not because of the films that got nominations, like the 12 for "Lincoln" and the 11 for "Life of Pi", but for the individuals that didn't get a nomination in categories that they have dominated over these past months in other award nomination fields like the Golden Globes, SAG, DGA, and Critic's Association.

So while there were nominations that were not surprising at all, - I easily predicted 8 out of the 9 Best Picture nominees - like the Academy's continued love over nominating Steven Spielberg and his works, or their aversion to nominate action films (sorry "Skyfall"!), there were far more nominations this morning that knocked me out. Let's analyze those surprises, both good and bad.

Ben Affleck didn't get a Best Director nomination -
Hello? Did Academy members see "Argo"? Well they must have, they did give it well-deserved Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations. But still, Affleck's brilliant direction is what gave this movie its energy and suspense. Anytime I'm on the edge of my seat, biting my knuckles, when I not only know what happened to the real people, but also read the autobiography that was the source material? That's a well directed film that deserves a nomination. Whom among the Direction nominees would I have eliminated instead? Probably David O. Russell. Silver Linings Playbook is great, but not necessarily because of the way it was directed.

Zero Dark Thirty got kind of shafted -
Okay, no it didn't, I'm being dramatic. It got 5 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Jessica Chastain. But still, it feels very strange and very wrong that Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a Best Director nomination. Is it because she already won an Oscar for directing a war film and the Academy voters decided that one was enough? Bigelow should've had the nomination that was given to Ang Lee, or dare I say it, Steven Spielberg.

Silver Linings Playbook locked up ALL 4 acting nominations -
A feat that hadn't happened in over 30 years; the last time being Reds in 1981. Both supporting and both lead acting categories have nominees from this quirky movie. Listen, I loved this film and think that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both earned their Best Acting noms. But DeNiro and Weaver? Not so much. I like both of these actors and thought they were very good in their roles, but they weren't Oscar-worthy performances. I mean damn, compare Jackie Weaver's other supporting actress Oscar nominated performance in "Animal Kingdom" to her character work in "Silver Linings Playbook". It's no contest! She was sooo flat in "Playbook". Her nomination should've gone to Nicole Kidman or Samantha Barks.

The Academy didn't neglect Quvenzhan√© Wallis or “Beasts of the Southern Wild” -
Because I saw this movie way back in early June 2012 at SIFF, it feels so strange to me to be talking about award nominations for it. I just figured that anyone who cared about this movie had blown their trumpets about it months ago and it was largely forgotten by now. But instead it was rewarded with not only a Best Picture nomination, but also a Best Actress nod for Wallis (will I ever be able to pronounce or spell her first name without looking it up 45 times?), and a surprising and yet worthy Best Direction nomination for Benh Zeitlin. Yay!

Amour wasn't too depressing for the Academy members after all -
I have yet to see this movie (doesn't open in Seattle until January 25), but everything I've read about it seemed to be summed up thusly - an amazing film, but depressing as hell, and not in a "moving" way. I thought for sure Amour would get snubbed by the nominators, except for the inevitable Best Foreign Film nod. But surprisingly, not only did Emmanuelle Riva get nominated for Best Actress, Michael Haneke got a nom for direction, and "Amour" was also nominated for Best Picture. Speaking of...why does it irk me so much when films are nominated in both the "Best Picture" and "Foreign" categories? I don't know, it just does!! It's annoying to hog both film categories - The Artist I'm looking at you. Grrrrr




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