I’m feeling kind of chipper and awake this morning, and I think it’s because the Oscar nominations were announced. As much as I believe they’re just a meaningless mutual appreciation society for Hollywood types, every year around this time I get unspeakably excited about them. I think the Academy might be beaming radio signals into my head or something.
Of particular interest to a girl geek website, several genre films picked up nominations, the most prominent of which is Beasts of the Southern Wild (my review is here). The indie flick is a dark horse, but of all the Best Picture nominees it has my vote. Its nine-year-old star Quvenzhané Wallis picked up a Best Actress nod, making her the youngest nominee ever in that category; she’s also one of three persons of color to be nominated for acting awards this year. (The others are Denzel Washington and Joaquin Phoenix). [Edit: Though Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico, he is Caucasian of Russian/Hungarian descent. My bad.]
Kathryn Bigelow was snubbed for Best Director, as was Les Misérables‘ Tom Hooper, also a previous Best Director winner, and Ben Affleck for Argo. Personally I think Affleck deserved the nom, Hooper didn’t, and I haven’t seen Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty yet, as it’s not out until tomorrow.
Jennifer Lawrence picked up a nomination for Silver Linings Playbook, and good for her, but my interest in that film is still hovering around 5%. It looks like an unexceptional romantic dramedy the type of which has been done to death. I swear my ambivalence isn’t a kneejerk reaction to how Lawrence’s character looks like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. No, I swear. It isn’t. I still might see it, just to see if I agree with what Film Crit Hulk had to say about it. (Yes, there is a Film Critic Hulk. He reviews movies in all caps, and he’s brilliant.)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey picked up nominations in Makeup and Hair, Production Design, and Visual Effects. If it doesn’t win in Makeup and Hair I’m going to flip. All the dwarves were wearing prosthetics, even on their hands, and it looked great. Plus: Dwarf braids! All the dwarf braids! And let us not forget Nori’s star hair. It’s up against Hitchcock and Les Misérables, and I’d think it would be a lock, but the Academy loves their old person makeup, so maybe not. I wish Cloud Atlas has been nominated in that category, too, but the Academy apparently really hated it, because it was shut out entirely.
And yes, The Dark Knight Rises was also shut out. I’m not displeased. I’m surprised it wasn’t nominated for sound editing or mixing, but then I thought The Hobbit should have been too, so clearly I just don’t know much about those categories. If The Dark Knight, the best movie in Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy, didn’t pick up nominations for Best Picture and Director, The Dark Knight Rises sure didn’t deserve to.
In other Films of Geek Interest (™), Django Unchained picked up five nominations, one of which did not go to Leonardo DiCaprio, so I would recommend whoever takes home the Best Supporting Acting statue this year hide it away posthaste lest he try and steal it. Christoph Waltz was nominated, as was Quentin Tarantino for Original Screenplay. Other noms were for Best Picture, Sound Editing, and Cinematography.
Surprising no one, Brave was nominated for Best Animated Film. I make no secret of my love of that movie and Pixar, so I feel a twinge of guilt when I say this, but: ParaNorman. Take. Brave. Down. ParaNorman was one of my favorite movies this year, not just animated but in general. Sorry, Brave. Pixar has enough Oscars already. Other Best Animated Feature nominees are Frankenweenie, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Wreck-It Ralph.
Wolverine and Catwoman—sorry, Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway—were nominated for Best Actor and Supporting Actress, respectively, in Les Mis. I didn’t think Jackman did that good a job, frankly, and Hathaway did an excellent job at some Al Pacino-level scenery chewing. (Sorry, Hathaway fans. Her acting in Les Mis was embarrassing, at least in my view.)
The highest number of nominations went to Lincoln, which picked up 12, among them Daniel Day-Lewis for Lead Actor (of course), Tommy Lee Jones for Best Supporting Actor (if he doesn’t win I might scream at the TV), Sally Field for Best Supporting Actress, Steven Spielberg for Best Director (…meh), Best Picture, and Costume Design, where it’s going up against Anna Karenina, Les Mis, and the year’s two Snow White adaptations (Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman).
So. That’s my cinema geekery vented for the day. (Well, the hour. I can’t guarantee it won’t make a resurgence soon.) What do you think of the nominees? Do Hathaway or Lawrence deserve to win? Will you throw things if The Hobbit doesn’t take home Makeup and Hair? Is anyone as over the moon as I am about Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s noms?