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Oh Hollywood

Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence, Beasts of the Southern Wild Pick Up Oscar Nominations


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 MisérablesTom 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?

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  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I’m shocked by the number of lacklustre films that received nominations or the surprising categories that films received nominations in (rather than others). I don’t necessarily disagree, for example, Jennifer Lawrence deserves an award being a fine actor, but it’s too bad it’s a nomination for what looks like a real stinker. This goes for quite a few of the nominees, actually.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    Sorry, but Joaquin Phoenix is a person of color? When did that happen?

  • http://twitter.com/LJo83 Lindsay Beaton

    I find myself surprisingly irritated (in that I don’t normally get terribly up in arms over these things, even with movies I love) that Affleck got shut out for best director. I know it was a loaded year, but come on. Argo was fricking fantastic, and he totally deserved it. That is my gripe for this morning, and I’ll probably gripe further as the Oscars get closer as the snub has left me in the position of rooting for Argo for best picture because Affleck deserves something for his work. Gah.

    I’m glad Jennifer Lawrence got a nom as I thought she was brilliant in Silver Linings Playbook–that movie drove her a whole lot higher on my mental “actresses to pay attention to” list.

    Apparently I really, really need to see Django Unchained. I’ll move it to the top of my list, I guess, since all and sundry are throwing nominations at it. Tarantino and I have a complicated relationship. Oh, and Lincoln, which I just haven’t gotten to yet but I’m sure is just as good as everyone says it is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alliedmoon Allison Moon

    Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of my favorite movies of all time, let alone this year. You are not alone.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I believe he is Puerto Rican.

  • BabyBearStrikesAgain

    Just cause he was born in Puerto Rico doesn’t make him Puerto Rican…

  • Anonymous

    Got all the way off my pulse app and came over to my computer just to say: Anne Hathaway chewing the scenery? Hugh Jackman not that great? Les Mis is by no means a perfect film, but the best things about it are the performances – those performances. I can understand that, if you’re not a fan of musicals, the acting may not have come across because the singing was distracting in some way, but those were in my top five performances of the year. Anne Hathaway ‘chews the scenery’ while playing a character who just sold her hair and teeth and entered prostitution in an era where such things meant likely death or imprisonment, with no hope of reprieve. Fantine is facing down her own swiftly coming death and the death of her daughter, which would follow. Her life has completely fallen apart in an irreparable way. Would it have made more sense for her to drag her way through it in a monotone? In a musical, no less?

    And Hugh Jackman, when Jean Valjean is singing in the chapel, “Is there another way to go?” down on his knees, begging God to show him a way out of hell, that ‘wasn’t great’? I shudder to wonder what IS great, then. It must be a superhuman threshold that only dogs can hear.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I enjoy musicals and Les Mis, and Jackman’s performance was good, but it didn’t grab me, and I don’t think it was one of the best of the year.

    And Fantine’s situation is tragic, no arguments there, but I still think Hathaway overacted. When you’re in close-up, and the audience can see every little thing you do, you don’t need to gasp and shudder through every line of I Dreamed a Dream to get your pain across.

    My favorite Les Mis performances were the Thenardiers, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, and Gavroche.

    I understand that a lot of people—most people, maybe!—really liked Hathaway’s and Jackman’s performances. But I didn’t. To each their own. *shrug*

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Ah, I didn’t know he was only born there, just always heard him referred to as Puerto Rican. What’s his background then?

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Ah, the eternal Oscar conflict: Whether great actor/directors should be nominated for their less-impressive work. In an ideal world I’d say no, but that not how the Oscars work, so…

    Oscars. Urgh. Frustrating.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    *indie film love fistbump*

  • Anonymous

    Hunger Games was more popcorn fare and the Academy doesn’t generally like those. There was a rumor a while back that they only reason they nominated James Franco for Milk was because they were too embarrassed to admit how much they loved him in Pineapple Express.

  • Anonymous

    Quvenzhané Wallis was excellent in Beasts so I sincerely hope she wins something this year. After the criticism the Oscars received in recent years for the decidedly monochromatic palette of the nominees, it looks like they tried to choose a few more actors of color.

  • Lady Viridis

    I’m really torn on the animation front. ParaNorman was amazing and very very impressive technically, but the Academy seems to hate stop-motion films, so I don’t think it’ll win, even if it probably deserves it. Of the others, I think I’d like to see Wreck-it-Ralph win over Brave. It really was a better story.

    Kind of surprised Dreamworks didn’t get nominated for ‘Rise of the Guardians’. The story wasn’t as good as it could have been, but I thought the animation effects were also pretty impressive.

  • Ricardo Sánchez Berral

    You see, a nationality is not a race. He is Latino, I suppose, but that’s an ethnicity, not a colour.

    I am from Spain, a country that is particularly clueless about the subject of race (lots of discrimination towards Latinos, Moroccans, black people, Romanians, Asians and the local minority, Romani people); but I think we’ve learnt very well the difference between Hispanic/Latino and “people with a racial background from the natives of the Americas” .We’ve had to, mostly because some people in the US seem to think that, because we are Spanish, we share the same racial background with Latinos (I use Latinos as in Latinamericans). Truth is, we are white, Caucasians, Europeans, however you want to put it. So, sorry, but Penélope Cruz isn’t a WOC, either.

    My point is, there are plenty of people with European origins in Puerto Rico. If Joaquin Phoenix looks white, he probably is mostly white. There needs to be more POC in the movies, and counting Joaquin Phoenix as one seems kind of a cheat.

  • Guest

    “His father, John Lee Bottom, was a lapsed Catholic[3] from Fontana, California.[4] His mother, Arlyn (née Dunetz), was born in The Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents whose families emigrated from Russia and Hungary.[3]”

    Courtesy of wikipedia.

  • Anonymous

    His father, John Lee Bottom, was a lapsed Catholic[3] from Fontana, California.[4] His mother, Arlyn (née Dunetz), was born in The Bronx, New York, to Jewish parents whose families emigrated from Russia and Hungary.[3]

    Courtesy of Wikipedia.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, I also loved the three performances you just cited – they were my runners up, so to speak (Sacha Baron-Cohen about killed me). I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the rest!

  • Rebecca Pahle

    That sounds like the Academy. :)

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think the point is whether being born in Puerto Rico makes you Puerto Rican; I think the point is whether being Puerto Rican makes you a person of color (no). We don’t know for sure all the details of Joaquin Phoenix’s heritage, but based on the information on Wikipedia, it sounds like both his parents were white. Therefore he is not a person of color, and I don’t think whether he’d be considered Puerto Rican or not is relevant.

  • http://twitter.com/MiladyJenevere Milady Jenevere

    I’m pretty glad that Cloud Atlas didn’t get anything for makeup. ESPECIALLY for makeup, given that a lot of their makeup use went to making white actors look Asian. It was pretty terrible; almost on par with Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

    It’s only the Hollywood insiders who have seen Zero Dark Thirty, but everything I’ve heard has said that it’s blow-your-mind awesome. And she is nominated for Best Director at the Golden Globes… so it’s pretty damned weird that she’s not at least nominated here. Boys’ club strikes again…

    I hate that Peter Jackson’s work will never get the kind of acknowledgment that it deserves. I remember walking out after seeing Return of the King and thinking that it was so good, I didn’t pay enough for the pleasure of going to see it.

  • http://psychotronicvortex.tumblr.com/ Psychotronic (Michael F.)

    Nice to see The Pirates! Band of Misfits featuring Martin Freeman and David Tennant nominated for Best Animated Feature.

  • Anonymous

    Yea, I’m surprised by the Hathaway scenery chewing comment as well, especially because Tommy Lee Jones didn’t? I loved him in Lincoln, but dang, he chewed up the walls big-time. And I’m not even a Hathaway fan at all, but I thought she was absolutely incredible in Les Mis. The best performance in the film.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Yeah, it’s like the prom. At least those little statues don’t say what movie they’re for at the bottom. The recipient can just lie.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    You have a point—though some of the characters had great makeup, the makeup in the New Seoul storyline was pretty bad. OK, opinion revised. :)

  • Rebecca Pahle

    If Lawrence wins this time around, she can just say it was for Winter’s Bone.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Hooray!

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.truxillo Laura Truxillo

    Sorry, I thought Hathaway was AMAZING in Les Mis. I was freaking bawling by the end of her solo. She was raw.

    But yes. ParaNorman needs to win. I loved Pirates, and I quite liked Brave and Wreck-It Ralph, but ParaNorman really pushed what it could do as a movie and gave us something honest and new.

  • Terence Ng

    I would give my respect to Jackman and Hathaway, but I HATE child acting (I just don’t ever really accept alecky child roles as anything believable) and I thought Baran-Cohen and Bonham Carter were fine, but not great. Marius…eh/

    I don’t expect either Jackman or Hathaway to win. They were doing well in roles that are significantly better. But I think other actors HAD to have done supremely in their other film roles. I’ll be shocked if either wins (though I suppose, with the politics of the Oscars, Jackman is a Hollywood/theater darling and unlikely to land a serious dramatic lead role of such caliber again, so they MIGHT give it to him.)

  • Terence Ng

    I just don’t think she’ll win because of her age. There’s some opposition to nominating, let alone awarding, child actors with these kinds of awards. It follows them for their entire career, which probably gives rise to difficulties living up to their childhood performances. That said, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t excellent, if not the best among her fellow actors (nor does it mean she won’t continue to be).

    I dunno. Mixed feelings on my end about child actors, but maybe the nomination is enough until later.

  • Terence Ng

    He was so excellent in Pineapple Express. It really turned my opinion of him around.

    Why can’t the Academy be real and nominate people who are amazing for the amazing things that they’re in? I don’t care what anyone says, Marissa Tomei earned that frickin’ Oscar in My Cousin Vinny.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I guess with Marius I was most impressed that Eddie Redmayne can actually sing quite well. I wasn’t super-impressed with Hathaway and Russell Crowe, and OF COURSE Jackman can sing, but when Redmayne started singing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables I was kind of like… huh. He’s pretty good at this.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree on the Jennifer Lawrence nom and 100% recommend seeing Silver Linings Playbook. Jennifer Lawrence is not manic pixie dream girl, not by a long shot, and if you go into it thinking it’s a romantic comedy, you’re going to be disappointed by most of the movie. Especially the tailgating scene.

  • Terence Ng

    God, that was a great moment. It made me like him. Jackman’s good and he’s got Broadway cred, but I think they could have arranged some of the songs a bit differently to meet his vocal limitations. Noticeably, I know that “Bring Him Home” is a falsetto song, but with how they changed “I Dreamed a Dream” they could have gotten away with changing the octave and giving Jackman a softer and more natural sound, instead of being so forced.

    Crowe was terrible. He’s the definition of a limited range. :/

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Yeah, Bring Him Home was kind of painful. :( But Bring Him Home is ALWAYS kind of painful, in a “no, I have a really deep voice, I just can’t sing that high!” way. Nudging it down just a bit might have worked, though.

    Strangely enough, though Crowe’s singing was pretty bad, I liked his Javert quite a lot. But that might be just a delayed realization of how great a character he is. It was all about Eponine and Enjolras for me back when I was obsessed with Les Mis in high school.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    And Russell Tovey! Man, I really need to see that.

  • Terence Ng

    I dunno. Colm Wilkinson’s performance in the 10th Anniversary concert is superb. You can sense that it’s high for a deep-voiced male performer, but he is able to control it with such skill that it sounds as it should be: timid, tremulous at the chaotic world, but held together by Valjean’s characteristic strength of will and faith.

    I like Javert in general, but Crowe looked so out of it the entire time, as if he got that head wound long before the movie started, and hid it really well until he gets apprehended by the revolutionaries. He seemed less like a mission-focused Doberman and more like an old Boxer.

    I think, in the case of the movie, the actors are good, but they’re buffered by how amazing the characters and the material in general are. To go back to my original statement, that’s why I can respect Jackman, Hathaway, and even Crowe, but don’t think the former two will get the awards. They were good, but their characters are great.

    Of course, everyone initially loves Eponine (and all these characters are so damn good), but I think Javert is so fascinating from where he begins and where he ends.

    Also, why not throw in some Beatton awesomeness:

    http://www.harkavagrant.com/history/javertsm.png

  • Terence Ng

    I dunno. Colm Wilkinson’s performance in the 10th Anniversary concert is superb. You can sense that it’s high for a deep-voiced male performer, but he is able to control it with such skill that it sounds as it should be: timid, tremulous at the chaotic world, but held together by Valjean’s characteristic strength of will and faith.

    I like Javert in general, but Crowe looked so out of it the entire time, as if he got that head wound long before the movie started, and hid it really well until he gets apprehended by the revolutionaries. He seemed less like a mission-focused Doberman and more like an old Boxer.

    I think, in the case of the movie, the actors are good, but they’re buffered by how amazing the characters and the material in general are. To go back to my original statement, that’s why I can respect Jackman, Hathaway, and even Crowe, but don’t think the former two will get the awards. They were good, but their characters are great.

    Of course, everyone initially loves Eponine (and all these characters are so damn good), but I think Javert is so fascinating from where he begins and where he ends.

    Also, why not throw in some Beatton awesomeness:

    http://www.harkavagrant.com/history/javertsm.png

  • Rebecca Pahle

    But… but he’s Colm Wilkinson! No one can live up to that. I love that he played the Bishop; I imagined him standing just offstage whenever Jackman was singing, making encouraging facial expressions and egging him on.

    I wonder what the dynamic was on-set between the Hollywood actors and the Broadway ones. I’m imagining Hathaway, Seyfried, Redmayne, etc. sitting on the opposite ends of the craft services area from Wilkinson, Aaron Tveit, and all the extras who ever actually trained singers. And Hugh Jackman’s trying to get them to talk to each other like they’re at a middle school dance.

    I guess I kind of liked that interpretation of Javert being not all with it. Crowed really got across the sense, for me, that Javert’s not just “Rah, justice, I love it!,” that he’s actually obsessed with the concept of “order” to a pathological level and is really quite psychological unstable underneath that. The first time something messes with that, and he can’t make himself shoot Valjean, he’s just like “My entire world order is in shambles now, time to kill myself!” I’m not sure if my interpretation could be backed up by the text, as I haven’t read the book since high school, but I like it all the same.

  • Anonymous

    Not mentioned here (it may not be “of geek interest”) , but I’m kind of baffled with Amour being nominated for everything. (I haven’t seen it yet, but I REALLY want to.) It seems excellent, but, if a non-Hollywood film can be nominated for things other than Best Foreign Language Film, the history of unfair noms/wins is even more awful than we usually think it is.

    Also, The Eagleman Stag. It’s a short animated film – it’s on vimeo, and quite popular- that’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. Shocked it’s not even nominated.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    The Eagleman Stag might not have been eligible. There are a limited number of film festivals that are “Oscar-qualifying” for short films, so if it didn’t win at one of those it wouldn’t be able to be nominated.

  • Anonymous

    I just want to say that Samantha Barks deserves a nom just for singing A Little Fall of Rain.

  • Anonymous

    Makes sense, but I remember reading somewhere it was shortlisted (that’s why I expected it). http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/oscars-shortlist-for-best-animated-short-everything-you-need-to-know-dwalb.php

  • Anonymous