All Hail Oscar: 84th Academy Award Nominations

Well, the Oscar nominations are in, and it’s gearing up to be year of multiple choices. There are many strong contenders, although there are also many favorites standing out, especially with past awards ceremonies this season prepping us for said stand outs.

For the Golden Globes, I didn’t include a list, but just speculated on what I liked and what I didn’t like. For the Oscar categories, I’ve decided not only to include the full list, but also to limit myself to a single question or statement for each category.

Actor in a Leading Role

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

Even with exceptionally great performances nominated, Jean Dujardin strikes me as the real winner of this category.

Actor in a Supporting Role

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

Nick Nolte, Jonah Hill, Christopher Plummer . . . wait, where’s Drive‘s Albert Brooks?

Actress in a Leading Role

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

Meryl Streep delivers, even in a terrible movie.

Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Who thought playing a hilarious, unapologetic bridesmaid could place you in the same category as Spencer and Bejo?

Directing

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

Oscar darling noms aside, Mr. Hazanavicious is due for another acceptance speech.

Best Picture

The Artist, Thomas Langmann, Producer
The Descendants, Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Scott Rudin, Producer
The Help, Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
Hugo, Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
Midnight in Paris, Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
Moneyball, Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
The Tree of Life, Nominees to be determined
War Horse, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

And they thought downsizing this category from 10 to 9 would really change things, huh?

ALSO – what the heck is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close doing on this list? (sorry, had to break my rule at least once)

Animated Feature Film

A Cat in Paris, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita, Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Puss in Boots, Chris Miller
Rango, Gore Verbinski

I wonder how Pixar is handling better films like Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, and even Puss in Boots taking up all the room in this category.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan
The Ides of March, Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Is there anything really exciting about these nominations?

Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Artist, Written by Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
Margin Call, Written by J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen
A Separation, Written by Asghar Farhadi

I think a certain little original Will Reiser piece called 50/50 is missing from this category.

Art Direction

The Artist 
Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 
Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

Hugo 
Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Midnight in Paris 
Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil

War Horse 
Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

And all the Harry Potter fans say, FINALLY!

Cinematography

The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo, Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Should anyone aside from Emmanuel Lubezki even be considered in this group?

Costume Design

Anonymous, Lisy Christl
The Artist, Mark Bridges
Hugo, Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre, Michael O’Connor
W.E., Arianne Phillips

Anonymous and Jane Eyre make welcome appearances to the nominations.

Documentary (Feature)

Hell and Back Again 
Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front 
Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory 
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

Pina
Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

Undefeated 
TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

N/A

Documentary (Short Subject)

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement 
Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

God Is the Bigger Elvis 
Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

Incident in New Baghdad 
James Spione

Saving Face 
Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom 
Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

N/A

Film Editing

The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball, Christopher Tellefsen

I would be OK with TGWTDT getting some love here.

Foreign Language Film

Bullhead, Belgium
Footnote, Israel
In Darkness, Poland
Monsieur Lazhar, Canada
A Separation, Iran

Why does everyone already know that A Separation is going to win?

Makeup

Albert Nobbs
Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

The Iron Lady
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Makeup: one of the only categories Harry Potter is getting credit for, one of the only categories The Iron Lady should receive any kind of commendation for.

Music (Original Score)

The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
Hugo, Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
War Horse, John Williams

Despite my love for John Williams and Howard Shore, I can’t imagine anyone but Ludovic Bource winning.

Music (Original Song)

“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from Rio, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

I could cry tears of joy over the “Man or Muppet” nomination; we’ll be looking for you at the Oscars, Jason Segel and Jim Parsons.

Short Film (Animated)

Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
La Luna, Enrico Casarosa
A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
Wild Life, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

N/A

Short Film (Live Action)

Pentecost, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
Raju, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
The Shore Terry, George and Oorlagh George
Time Freak, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
Tuba Atlantic, Hallvar Witzø

N/A

Sound Editing

Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Is anyone else half laughing, half angry that the only category Drive received a nom for, Transformers is also sharing a spot of recognition?

Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

Hugo
Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Moneyball 
Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

War Horse 
Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

As long as Michael Bay doesn’t get any reward or recognition, I’m strangely OK with Transformers getting nominated.

Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 
Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

Hugo
Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

Real Steel 
Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

Transformers: Dark of the Moon 
Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Harry Potter, please win something. Planet of the Apes, welcome.

Yes, there were snubs. But after reading the list, is there any other bigger surprise or disappointment than watching Ryan Gosling receive no nominations?!