Oscar Nominations for 2012

All my friends think I wake up early for the Oscar nominations. It’s baffling how little they know me. I love nothing more in life than sleeping in. And why wake up early to pull an Elvis and shoot the TV screen at the idiotic nominations that always end up irking me?

I’ve been awake for an hour now, had a cup of tea, and am ready to complain and praise the Academy for their various picks.

Since I had The Artist and Hugo in my Top 5 of the year, you’d think with those films leading the way (The Artist got 11 nominations, Hugo 10) that would make me happy. Well, that does; but as usual, there’s more to be upset with.

Let the list begin.

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

The problems I have with the Best Picture list is: War Horse, which was entertaining, but hardly a great film (I won’t go into details why, as you can find my reviews on this site for that). I thought Moneyball and Midnight in Paris were good but highly overrated, yet I don’t have a problem with them being on the list. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was a good movie, not great – but it had too many flaws to be Oscar worthy. And don’t even get me started on The Help, which was okay, but extremely flawed.

Best Actor:
Demian Bichir, "A Better Life"
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujarin, "The Artist"
Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"

I thought Bichir was great in A Better Life. It’s the kind of acting I like, where sometimes subtle facial expressions are powerful. My problem is that A Better Life was a horrible movie. It was like a bad Afterschool Special. I hated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but Oldman is always aces (amazing to think this is his first Oscar nod). I find it odd that Pitt is getting praised for Moneyball, when he just played a casual character that is probably a lot like…Brad Pitt. Now, you could argue Clooney did the same in The Descendants, but I disagree. I loved the restraint he showed in many scenes, and how we could tell he was boiling right under the surface. And call me crazy but, I didn’t think Leonardo DiCaprio not getting nominated for J. Edgar was a snub. He was okay in the part, not great.

Best Actress:
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"

This is a category where I really got upset with. When I saw Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, I wanted to rip the knobs off my TV set. That movie was dreadful, and she wasn’t anything special in it. The best thing with her in it this year, was a wacky comedian on Funny or Die, who went around asking people in the street who was better between Meryl Streep or Glenn Close. Davis was great in The Help. She’s great in everything. Even though I’m furious about The Help being nominated for Best Picture, I have no problem with the cast garnering nominations. They were all strong. My favorite was the surprise nomination of Rooney Mara. She was absolutely amazing in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – my favorite movie of the year (and how it was left off the Best Picture list, and did so poorly at the box office, is beyond me). Now, my current favorite actress could be Tilda Swinton. She didn’t get nominated for We Need to Talk About Kevin. I’m bothered by that, but ya know what? Since The Iron Lady wasn’t even a good movie, I think Streep should do that move where, not giving the Oscar up if she wins, but coming out now and asking the Academy to remove her from the list. We get it, she’s the best actress that ever lived…but come on. She doesn’t deserve to win for this, so just take her off the list, and give it to somebody else that truly feels “it’s an honor just to be nominated.”

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week with Marilyn"
Jonah Hill, "Moneyball"
Nick Nolte, "Warrior"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Max von Sydow, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

I am so, so happy Branagh got the nomination. I was furious with the San Diego Film Critics Society (which I’m a member of), for leaving him off our list for voting. His role was every bit as good as local A-lister Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. The two on this list that take away all the happiness I have for him being nominated, are Jonah Hill for playing a fat guy, and Max von Sydow for playing a deaf guy. Come on, he wasn’t in The Artist! He’s an amazing actor, but it was a horribly written character (see my review of Extremely Loud for all the details as to why). Some could argue Nolte was playing an alcoholic, and how much of a stretch is that? (remember the mug shots?) I did think there was enough acting and interesting nuances to warrant him being on the list (although I’m baffled as to how he won Best Actor in our SDFCS). Speaking of which, many critics in our group are upset Albert Brooks didn’t get nominated for Drive. Not me. I didn’t care for the movie, and although he was good in it, I felt it was a similar character to one he did in Out of Sight (a much better George Clooney movie than the two getting nominations this year). I would’ve liked to have seen Robert Forester, as the grieving father-in-law from The Descendants on this list. It was my favorite Supporting performance of the year.

Best Supporting Actress:
Berenice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

Okay, this is the first time I possibly screamed out loud in anger. Why in the world is another actress for Albert Nobbs nominated? Did the Academy even watch this movie? Go ahead, rent it when it’s on video, and you’ll feel my pain. You’ll come back here saying I was a genius. All the other actresses I’m fine with. Part of me doesn’t like McCarthy being nominated because…well…everybody said Bridesmaids was the female answer to The Hangover. Yet, we wouldn’t even dream of nominating Zach Galifianakis for playing a crazy fat guy. Why does different logic apply to a female character? Now, I was bummed that former model turned actress Shailene Woodley didn’t get a nomination. She got one for a Golden Globe, and a lot of us in the SDFCS praised her performance. It’s a year the young folks didn’t get nominations (Tom Horn for Extremely Loud was also snubbed).

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

This might be the category I don’t have a single complaint about. Sure, The Tree of Life was garbage, with some interesting cinematography – but well directed garbage. Oh wait, I just realized…no David Fincher for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Dump Malick and put him on the list and I’m happy.

Best Foreign Language Film:
"Bullhead" (Belgium)
"Footnote" (Israel)
"In Darkness" (Poland)
"Monsieur Lazhar" (Canada)
"A Separation" (Iran)

I’m seeing A Separation in a few days. I’ve heard it’s great. I haven’t seen the other movies, but I’ll give you a list of foreign movies that you will love: The Double Hour, Point Blank, Submarine, and A Somewhat Gentle Man. Rent all of those, and thank me later.

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

I’m always impressed with Payne movies, but especially his adaptations. The book Sideways is awful, the film amazing (can you believe he turned down George Clooney for Sideways?). Well, he used Clooney nicely in The Descendants. I’ll be rooting for Hugo to win. It was such a lovely film, and it was written by a San Diegan! And, Tinker Tailor was just as boring as the novel!