Oscar Nominations Post-Mortem: Surprises And Sure Things.

On Sunday, we handicapped the 2012 Oscar race by telling you who we thought was going to be nominated. Now, it’s time to face the music, and see how well we did. There have been a lot of surprises in the nominees,  both pleasant and puzzling. Let’s see how we fared against our prediction, then we’ll comment on surprises in other categories that we didn’t talk about over the weekend. Let’s start with Best Actor:

Performance by an 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

Number of Nominations We “Called”:  5 out of 5

We Say: Granted, two of the ones we “called,” we called as longshots. But both Bichir and Oldman deserve the nomination (especially Oldman). But their inclusion comes at the expense of Michael Fassbender and Leonardo DiCaprio. The Academy has shown a profound lack of respect for DiCaprio in the past, so his exclusion is not THAT big a surprise, but Fassbender has been great in just about every role he’s done this year. His snub is a bit of a shock.

Performance by an 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

Number of Nominations We “Called”: 4 out of 5.

The One We Didn’t: Max von Sydow, in a role that received good notices but absolutely no other nominations for any major awarding body, knocks out Albert Brooks, who was in a role that garnered him even better notices, a bunch of nominations, and more than his fair share of awards from a number of regional critics. That is gob-smacking.

I will say this, Jonah Hill looks like a baby next to his fellow nominees. He is at least 20 years younger than anybody else on the list.

Performance by an 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

Number of Nominations We “Called”:  4 out of 5

The One We Didn’t: Nothing against Rooney Mara, she is after all the scion of the Mara’s who own my second favorite football team, the New York Giants, and the Rooneys, who own my favorite football team, The Pittsburgh Steelers. I feel like I should root for her regardless. But I though the fact that she was playing a role that was already played to perfection by another actress just years before, when that actress, Noomi Rapace, didn’t get nominated, would have killed her chances. She didn’t get a lot of nominations in other places. I was also wrong in thinking Tilda Swinton was a dead solid lock over Glenn Close. Oh, well. Although I should get points for saying that this category had the best chance for a surprise.

Performance by an 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 

Number of Nominations We “Called”:  5 out of 5

We Say: Not hard to pick the nominees here. Still, I’m glad that McCarthy got the nomination.

Achievement in directing-

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

Number of Nominations We “Called”:  5 out of 5

We say: The Academy’s love for Malick gave him the edge over the other, equally worthy candidates I thought might have had a shot, including David Fincher who got the spot in the Director’s Guild list, but the other four are a lock.

Best motion picture of the year- 

  • 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

Number of Nominations We “Called”:  It’s hard to calculate, but we mentioned 8 out of the 9.

The One We Didn’t: Ah, Academy. First you expand the list of Best Picture nominees to ten, hoping that would appease the chorus of moans each and every year from fans who are complaining that their films do not get nominated. Then, this year, surely after waking up in a cold sweat thinking that a less-than deserving film might sneak in by mistake, you change the rules to make it so a film has to get at least 5% of the Academy’s first place votes in order to make the list, which could be anywhere from five to ten films. Then, you go and nominate Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, a film that had only received other nominations from Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards and has an abysmal 48% “Fresh” rating at the review aggregate site, Rotten Tomatoes, over looking Bridesmaids (90% fresh), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (87% fresh), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (84% fresh) and The Adventures of Tintin (74% Fresh)? Are you serious? Hell, even The Muppets (96% fresh) has more of a claim to being nominated Best Picture than Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close does! And to add insult to injury, there is one “open”spot on the nominee list that one of the more deserving film could have taken. None of those other movies were number one on 5% of the ballots? I find that hard to believe. This boggles the mind.

I guess this all proves one thing–the number of nominees is not the one thing wrong with this system, it’s the people who vote on what films will be nominated that is the problem.

Other surprises:

  • Even with the field expanded from three films to five, PIXAR’s Cars 2 was not nominated for Best Animated Film, essentially ending the studio’s dominance of this category. I didn’t think that the film had a chance of winning the award, but I thought it be a shoo-in for a nomination. This puts more focus and attention on Brave as a people become interested if this year was just a blip on PIXAR’s perfect record or the start of a major decline.
  • I was surprised that Captain America: The First Avenger and Green Lantern were snubbed in the special effects categories. The former for mixing CGI with live-actor’s appearance to create a new reality, the latter for creating whole new worlds and bring new alien species to life.
  • I’m happy that Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig got a nomination for Original Screenplay for Bridesmaids  and Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan got a nod for Adapted Screenplay for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It’s good to see the Academy throwing some recognition their way.

Stay tuned to FilmBuffOnline, because, as we get closer to the ceremony, the staff will bring you more news about this year’s ceremony.


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About William Gatevackes 1983 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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