Academic Writing

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oscar Nominations

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 Anecdotally, this year's Oscar noms have already started spurring a lot of heated debates.  According to my very scientific research on Twitter and Facebook, people seem to be overwhelmingly unhappy about the results.  Understandably, upset is generally over those who were either overlooked or who undeservingly got nominated.  Additionally, people get annoyed when the nominations are too predictable, but conversely also are irritated when nods are given to those who seem to come from obscurity.  The Internet exploded with wrath that Ryan Gosling wasn't nominated for any of his work this year.  How could Leo or Clint be neglected in this race?  The Tree of Life, seriously?  In short, The Academy can never win.  But do movie fans win either?

I always set my alarm early the morning of the announcements to see the announcements.  Often having seen most of the movies I get excited when my favorites are also the favorites of those who make the decisions.  Then, why this year did I not bother to wake up till after the announcements had been made?  Probably because on a whole, I am underwhelmed by this year's films and therefore I don’t have a tremendous amount invested in who is nominated and who isn’t.   

The only standout films, for me, this year were Hugo and The ArtistThe others, such as The Descendants or the much hyped The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo left me feeling as though something was lacking in the narrative.  I will say that I was surprised by a few of the choices, like Leo’s acting nom omission.  But J. Edgar wasn’t all that great of a film even though he happened to shine in it.

Also interesting, this years’ nominated best picture films are among the lowest grossing nominated films in Academy history. Some have been calling this a further example that the voters are out of touch with the movie-goers, but I would disagree. There really have been no stand out record breaking movies this year, and those which have done well tended to skew the numbers because they were in 3D and the tickets cost more to begin with. I hate to say it, but movies have just not been that good this year. 

The Academy has often been accused of neglecting the masses, that the movies they choose are not what the people are seeing.  I don't think that's a huge problem.  Take Bridesmaids for instance.  Funny movie, lots of people saw it and loved it.  Do I think it's best picture worthy?  Definitely not.  The Oscars are about celebrating the craft and artistry of film and filmmaking.  I hate to sound like a snob, but when it comes to those qualifications, Bridesmaids does not fit the bill.  And should no be nominated solely based on the fact that a lot of people saw it.  It's finding the crossover that is important, that's the sweet spot between mass adoration and quality artwork. 

I’d also like to add that in a cinematic landscape where the independent films are continuing to hold ground and make an impression on voters and viewers (, I find it increasingly frustrating that there are little to no opportunity to see the documentaries or foreign films before the Oscar telecast. Art house films should be distributed more widely and offered to a larger audience than is now.

So there’s my take on this morning’s announcements. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s the complete list of nominations:

Best Motion Picture of the Year
The Artist (2011): Thomas Langmann
The Descendants (2011): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin
The Help (2011): Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan
Hugo (2011/II): Graham King, Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris (2011): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
Moneyball (2011): Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
The Tree of Life (2011): Nominees to be determined
War Horse (2011): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)
George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)
Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Viola Davis for The Help (2011)
Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)
Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)
Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)
Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)
Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)

Best Achievement in Directing
Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)
Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)
Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Hugo (2011/II): John Logan
The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
A Cat in Paris (2010): Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita (2010): Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011): Jennifer Yuh
Puss in Boots (2011): Chris Miller
Rango (2011): Gore Verbinski

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam(Belgium)
Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar(Israel)
In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland(Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau(Canada)
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi(Iran)

Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Artist (2011): Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo (2011/II): Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life (2011): Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse (2011): Janusz Kaminski

Best Achievement in Editing
The Artist (2011): Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants (2011): Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
Hugo (2011/II): Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball (2011): Christopher Tellefsen

Best Achievement in Art Direction
The Artist (2011): Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
Hugo (2011/II): Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
Midnight in Paris (2011): Anne Seibel, Hélène Dubreuil
War Horse (2011): Rick Carter, Lee Sandales

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Anonymous (2011/I): Lisy Christl
The Artist (2011): Mark Bridges
Hugo (2011/II): Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre (2011): Michael O'Connor
W.E. (2011): Arianne Phillips

Best Achievement in Makeup
Albert Nobbs (2011): Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson, Matthew W. Mungle
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
The Iron Lady (2011): Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The Adventures of Tintin (2011): John Williams
The Artist (2011): Ludovic Bource
Hugo (2011/II): Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Alberto Iglesias
War Horse (2011): John Williams

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
The Muppets (2011): Bret McKenzie("Man or Muppet")
Rio (2011): Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett("Real in Rio")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Bo Persson
Hugo (2011/II): Tom Fleischman, John Midgley
Moneyball (2011): Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Peter J. Devlin
War Horse (2011): Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Stuart Wilson

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Drive (2011): Lon Bender, Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011): Ren Klyce
Hugo (2011/II): Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
War Horse (2011): Richard Hymns, Gary Rydstrom

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011): Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson
Hugo (2011/II): Robert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning
Real Steel (2011): Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Danny Gordon Taylor, Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011): Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew E. Butler, John Frazier

Best Documentary, Features
Hell and Back Again (2011): Danfung Dennis, Mike Lerner
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011): Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011): Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky
Pina (2011): Wim Wenders, Gian-Piero Ringel
Undefeated (2011): Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, Rich Middlemas

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement (2011): Robin Fryday, Gail Dolgin
God Is the Bigger Elvis: Rebecca Cammisa, Julie Anderson
Incident in New Baghdad (2011): James Spione
Saving Face (2011/II): Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011): Lucy Walker, Kira Carstensen

Best Short Film, Animated
Dimanche (2011): Patrick Doyon
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011): William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg
La Luna (2011): Enrico Casarosa
A Morning Stroll (2011): Grant Orchard, Sue Goffe
Wild Life (2011): Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby

Best Short Film, Live Action
Pentecost (2011): Peter McDonald
Raju (2011): Max Zähle, Stefan Gieren
The Shore: Terry George, Oorlagh George
Time Freak (2011): Andrew Bowler, Gigi Causey
Tuba Atlantic (2010): Hallvar Witzø

1 comment:

shaina324 said...

I also try to see as many of the nominated films as possible and I'm in a pretty good place so far!
I actually really enjoyed the Best Picture nominees that I've seen - I've seen 5/9.
On my schedule for the next month:
*Moneyball- on DVD tonight.
*The Tree of Life- on DVD this/next week.
*I honestly have no interest in War Horse or Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, so those probably will not even bother.
*Footnote- I saw a trailer for it before The Artist and it looked really interesting. And it's always nice to see Israel represented. It's released on 2/24 so that gives me a day before the Oscars...
*A Separation - it's playing at Lincoln Plaza. Have you seen it yet? If not- want to go in the next few weeks?
*Warrior- on DVD. I wanted to see it when it came out, but I think I was spent with fighting movies after The Wrestler and The Fighter.