|The 2011 Academy Award Nominees|
|Movies - Feature Stories|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Tuesday, 25 January 2011 10:06|
If you were wondering what that anguished roar was at approximately 7:40 a.m., it was probably the sound of thousands upon thousands of Christopher Nolan fans simultaneously wailing, “Not again!!!”
In what was easily the biggest surprise of the 2011 Academy Awards nominations – yet also, sadly, little surprise at all – the Inception creator’s name was left off the roster for this year’s Best Director nominees, despite the recognition he received from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) a few weeks ago. Just like in 2009, when his DGA-nominated work for The Dark Knight was ignored. And just like in 2002, when his DGA-nominated work for Memento was ignored. If my stats are correct, that makes Nolan the only helmer thrice lauded by the DGA with, as of yet, no Best Director Oscar nods to his name ... except for Rob Reiner. All due respect, but that’s not exactly the sort of company you wanna keep. (At least Nolan can console himself with the two Inception nominations he did receive, for Best Original Screenplay and as a producer of one of the year’s Best Picture competitors.)
Otherwise, the shockers were mostly kept to a minimum, with the current Best Picture favorite The King’s Speech leading the field with 12 nominations, the Coen brothers’ True Grit next in line with 10, and Inception and The Social Network tied with eight apiece. Among the other Best Picture nominees, The Fighter had a more-than-respectable showing with seven nods (apparently, Best Director contender David O. Russell, all is now forgiven!), Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours landed six [any chance we’re gonna finally gonna get the movie in the Quad Cities now? (Author's note: Looks like we are - it opens at Davenport 53 on Friday, January 28.)], and Toy Story 3 and Black Swan managed five each – an excellent showing for the Pixar title, and a less-than-expected tally for Darren Aronofsky’s divisive ballet-world thriller. (No Mila Kunis? No Barbara Hershey? No Original Screenplay? No costumes, for heaven’s sake?)
Rounding out the top category, The Kids Are All Right scored its four widely anticipated nods, although Julianne Moore unfortunately missed out on sharing the Best Actress spotlight with Annette Bening. And in the only moderate surprise among the 10 recognized for the big prize, little-indie-that-could Winter’s Bone snagged the spot that many (including yours truly) presumed would’ve gone to the much bigger hit The Town, with that film’s only recognition going to Supporting Actor contender Jeremy Renner. (Maybe they’ll let Affleck present an award at the ceremony.) All told, it’s a rather extraordinary Best Picture lineup, with no obvious filler in the Blind Side vein. And while I’m still not convinced that doubling the number of nominees was a good idea, I’ll admit that this year, at least, it’s a relief; can you imagine how pissed off the online Inception brigade would’ve been had Nolan’s movie been dissed there, too?
As far as personal disappointments go, I was bummed that the one performance I was rooting for the hardest – Andrew Garfield’s in The Social Network – didn’t make the cut; I would’ve happily awarded the actor the statuette just for his goofy little dance at that Caribbean-night frat party. But you won’t hear me complain about Garfield’s Supporting Actor slot instead being filled by Winter’s Bone’s John Hawkes, who was absolutely magnificent, nor about The Social Network getting recognized for Best Cinematography, Sound Mixing, and Original Score, all seemingly dicey categories for the film. (Oscar nominee Trent Reznor. Nice.) And while it kind of sucks that Shutter Island and The Ghost Writer were completely dismissed, it was at least heartening to see that voters found room for modern-art legend Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop documentary, Animal Kingdom’s fabulously evil Jacki Weaver, I Am Love’s costumes, and even the visual effects in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter. That tsunami sequence was freakin’ stunning.
Plus, on a purely selfish level, it’s cool to see that a trio of specialty films – Biutiful, Rabbit Hole, and Blue Valentine – received nominations for their leading performers (Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, and Michelle Williams, respectively), as that heightens the chance that they might be screened locally, and I won’t have to schlep to a larger burg to catch them. Excluding the five foreign-language nominees, three of the Best Documentary Feature contenders, and the shorts, those three movies and the trio of Another Year, Barney's Version, and The Tempest are the only Oscar-cited titles I’ve yet to see. Don’t let me down, area bookers! (The animated and live-action shorts, by the by, will be shown at the University of Iowa’s Bijou Theatre February 11 through 17.)
Oh, and how did I do on my predictions, especially after my last-minute changes in a bunch of categories? Meh. It turned out to be a wash; for roughly every correct guess I included, I dropped a nominee I shouldn’t have. Damn you and your category confusion, Hailee Steinfeld! (I kid the kid. She’s delightful.)
I’ve listed the accuracy of my revised picks, in boldface, following the nominations below, but feel free to click here to see exactly what I screwed up on.
And for those miserable that we’re now going to be denied a Cher number at the February 27 Academy Awards ceremony, take heart: Maybe Gwyneth will sing!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST SCREENPLAY ADAPTATION
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST ART DIRECTION
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST SOUND MIXING
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
TOTAL NUMBER OF NOMINATIONS:
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