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The 83rd Academy Awards: Kinda Meh

The challenge for every blogger covering the Academy Awards this year seems to be to make a reasonably interesting-sized molehill out of a regular molehill. No one movie won more than four awards, there weren’t any breakout surprises, and the most shocking thing about the broadcast seems to be that Melissa Leo used the f-word. Come on.  Last year Ben Stiller showed up in a Na’vi costume.

And unlike last year, the number of really beloved genre films treated to nominations was slim. Inception, the tent pole movie of many a geek’s 2010 summer managed to pull only half of the awards it was nominated for, and half of those wins were Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, the two Oscar categories that no one can ever remember the difference between.

Yes, yes, unless you’re in film school.

Here’s how the Awards fell out, for the big genre or tech-related movies of the 2010:

  • Best Picture – “The King’s Speech” Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
  • Actor in a Leading Role – Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
  • Actor in a Supporting Role – Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
  • Actress in a Leading Role – Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
  • Animated Feature Film – “Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich
  • Art Direction – “Alice in Wonderland” Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
  • Cinematography – “Inception” Wally Pfister
  • Costume Design – “Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
  • Director – “The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
  • Documentary (Feature) – “Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
  • Documentary (Short Subject) – “Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
  • Film Editing – “The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
  • Foreign Language Film – “In a Better World” Denmark
  • Makeup – “The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey
  • Music (Original Score) – “The Social Network” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • Music (Original Song) – “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • Short Film (Animated) – “The Lost Thing” Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
  • Short Film (Live Action) – “God of Love” Luke Matheny
  • Sound Editing – “Inception” Richard King
  • Sound Mixing – “Inception” Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • Visual Effects – “Inception” Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
  • Adapted Screenplay – “The Social Network” Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
  • Original Screenplay – “The King’s Speech” Screenplay by David Seidler

To summarize, that’s:

  • Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects: Four for Inception
  • Film Editing, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay: Three for The Social Network
  • Animated Feature and Original Song: Two for Toy Story 3
  • And Art Direction and Costume Design: Two for Alice in Wonderland

How To Train Your Dragon and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were nominated, but received no awards.

My Additional Notes?  Well, it turns out that no matter how many times I see the evidence, every year I have to remind myself that the collective consciousness of Hollywood does not like genre movies (at least until they’ve gotten to the third installment of a trilogy). The Academy opened up the number of pictures nominated for Best Picture last year, nominally because they wanted to feature more genre film, maybe get the first animated best picture.  Two ceremonies later, we still haven’t seen real progress on this initiative to honor more science fiction, fantasy and animation.  I’m not saying Toy Story 3 should have won Best Picture.  Maybe this just wasn’t the year for genre.  But no writing award for Inception?

Speaking of Toy Story 3, it’s win cements another Academy trend: that of recognizing animated movies for children over animated film for adults. The Illusionist (that is, the 2010 French animated film, not the 2006 Edward Norton movie), the only adult animated film nominated for Best Animated Picture, is a movie that at least five animators have yelled at me to find and watch this year.  (Or maybe it was just one, loud animator.)

(Yes.  Yes Toy Story 3 made me cry.  Yes, I almost cried in the first five minutes.  Yes, I bawled for the entire last half hour of the movie. Yes.)

So I guess I should get on that.  Not to mention finding a copy of The Lost Thing, adapted from the book by Shaun Tan.  If you’ve never heard of Mr. Tan, please.  Go pick up a copy of The Arrival, which you’ll probably find slightly mis-filed in the picture book section of your local Barnes&Noble and give it a good long stare.  You can thank me later.

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  • Juliane

    fyi in the top navigation it appears as “oscars 2010″… you missed a year ;)

  • TwinkleLittleBat

    It says that because the awards were for films released in 2010, so it’s more like “Awards for 2010 Movies” rather than “Awards Broadcasted in 2011″

  • myname

    “To summarize, that’s:

    * Cinematography, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects: Four for Inception
    * Film Editing, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay: Three for The Social Network
    * Animated Feature and Original Song: Two for Toy Story 3
    * And Art Direction and Costume Design: Two for Alice in Wonderland”

    One might point out that The King’s Speech also received four awards.

  • myname

    Albeit rather small ones..OH FUCK NO THEY’RE THE IMPORTANT ONES. Yeah, hard to miss.

  • Z. Chevat

    As one really loud animator who frequently yells (at this poster, as well as others) about Sylvain Chomet; yes, you should.

    We get it. The Academy Awards are the industry’s political popularity contest, and, yes, foreign films make Americans twitch and beg off for the night. But “L’Illusioniste” is an original and truly beautiful film that treats its medium and subject with a delicacy and grace that no amount of CG bombast can ever top. Also…there is virtually no discernible dialogue in the film. Take that, filmgoers too lazy to read subtitles!

  • min

    Seeing Shaun Tan was the greatest joy and surprise for me during the Oscars, since I didn’t know he was nominated, or even that “The Lost Thing” had been animated. Yes, please, go to the library and check out “The Arrival” and “Tales From Outer Suburbia,” or my favourite, “The Red Tree.” I am proud to say that, in my delicious power as public librarian, I did NOT catologue these books into the easy/picture book section.

  • Erincb87

    “The Arrival” is an AMAZING book! I got it as a gift a couple of years ago. :) Another fabulous illustrated volume is “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” It’s gorgeous! I’m a graphic designer and illustrator, so I adore this sort of thing.

    Some other adult animated movies you all should definitely see: “Persepolis,” and “Waltz for Bashir.” They are amazing, I promise. (And if anyone went to art school, you will particularly appreciate “Persepolis.”) “Persepolis” is also a fantastic graphic novel that everyone should read.