Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Plenty of shock and awesome on parade at the 2012 Oscar nominations
Bright and early this morning,the nominations for this year's Oscar race were announced with the usual amount of fanfare and there were a good number of surprises to be found on the list,both good and bad.
Some were surprised to not see certain names up for contention such as Leonardo DiCaprio as Best Actor for J. Edgar and Trent Reznor for the score to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(The Artist is nominated in that category,which will irk Kim Novak even more,I'm sure).
Others were amazed at seeing certain films like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and The Tree of Life receive as much love as they did from the Academy,considering the lack of major attention from most of the major movie related award shows this season. Since both of those films are big league critical darlings(Tree of Life more so than EL&IC),it's not that startling to see them here.
Let's take a tour of some of the highs and lows of the Academy Award competition laid out for us and map out our routes towards rooting for the truly best to win:
ONE SMALL STEP FOR SCORSESE,ONE GIANT LEAP FOR HUGO AND 3D FLICKS
It was to be expected that the children's fantasy film Hugo would get some noms but no one anticpated that it would lead the pack with 11 nominations,including Best Picture and Best Director.
Granted,Martin Scorsese did win a Golden Globe for his directorial work here,making not only his first film for children but his first 3D one as well. As far as I know,a 3D movie has never been given this type of honor before and it could very well set a precedent,mark my words.
Hugo is normally the type of film that does well in the technical categories(where a strong portion of it's nominations lie)but rarely acknowledged in the major league sections of the show. Given that a key plot point is the revival of cinematic passion in innovative filmmaker George Melies,Hugo can be rightly seen as the little brother of The Artist(which racked up a respectable ten nominations),so perhaps this should have been expected all along:
A MUCH NEEDED TOUCH UP FOR THIS DRAGON TATTOO
Many movies still playing in theaters get a nice boost at the box office if they become major Oscar nominees and The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo truly needs that shot in the arm. It earned five noms,including a juicy Best Actress spot for Rooney Mara as the current incarnation of iconic heroine Lisbeth Salander.
Given the lackluster reception from audiences and doubts about follow-ups being filmed,this was the golden gift basket left on this film's doorstep. While Mara's chances of beating out Meryl Streep and Viola Davis are slim to none,having this role become her first Oscar nomination is not a bad way to go next level with her career:
A very pleasant surprise during the Oscar nominations was hearing Melissa McCarthy announced as one of the Best Supporting Actress contenders,due to her breakout role as the brash Megan in Bridesmaids.
Folks were keeping their fingers crossed for her but the odds weren't in McCarthy's favor,since comedies(especially raunchy ones)tend to get short shift from the Academy. Bridesmaids also landed a spot in the Best Original Screenplay category,giving co-star Kristen Wiig a sweet escape from the curse of SNL stars stuck in bad movie hell.
I'm somewhat torn about Melissa McCarthy's nomination,since I am a big fan of her work but on the other hand,rooting very much for Octavia Spencer to take the gold home here for her excellent performance in The Help(with Melissa and Octavia happening to be good friends,no doubt they'll be supporting each other that night).
Well,the best I can do is wish good luck to both ladies and having already seen The Help on DVD,adding Bridesmaids to my Netflix queue is my next step. After all,the parts with Melissa should be hilarious and that alone will make it worth checking out:
MAJOR MUSICAL MALFUNCTION
Speaking of The Help,while it's great that three of the main actresses from the film are nominated and that the movie is up for Best Picture,it is disappointing to not see any other nods here. Certainly,it could have been included in the Best Adapted Screenplay section or Best Director.
There was plenty of room to add The Help to Best Original Song,since there are only two tunes up for that award. That's right,two songs for the entire category;are you kidding me,Academy? Granted,this wasn't the greatest year for movie songs but if the Golden Globes can come up with five,you should have been able to do better than that!
Those two songs,by the way,are both from children's movies. "Real In Rio" comes from the animated feature Rio and the other is from the new Muppet film entitled "Man or Muppet?".
Nothing against singing Muppets,but surely there were just as many worthy songs from grown-up films to be competing for this award,such as Mary J. Blige's theme for The Help, " The Living Proof" ,that deserved to be nominated. I swear,Rodney Dangerfield gets more respect than Best Song does these days:
Oscar night is on February 26 and one thing is for sure,having Billy Crystal back as the host is a truly welcome relief. It's been awhile since he took the Oscar stage but this should be like coming home for him. Getting him to come back this time was a sheer stroke of luck,so with that in mind,let's rejoice in his return and hope that he might want to stick around until the right replacement appears:
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