comScore 2011 Academy Award Nominations | The Mary Sue
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The 84th Academy Awards Nominations, By Katniss

Oh Hollywood

Okay, that title is pure Hunger Games fanaticism, but seriously, when one of the major themes of The Hunger Games is the shallowness and self-pandering nature of pomp and circumstance, it doesn’t get more surreal than to see Jennifer Lawrence announcing the Oscar nominations like she was picking random tribute children on Reaping Day. Above, you can see the video, below, a list of the nominees, to remind you of all the movies you intended to see this year and didn’t.

The nominees for Best Picture include a whopping nine. Well, it still seems like a whopping nine to those of us accustomed to only four movies in the slot. This is only the third year that the Academy has opened the category, with the purpose of nominating more movies that are generally overlooked in the category and are closer to what the average viewing public are watching… and there’s barely a genre film in there, isn’t there. Overall, it’s a lackluster year for sci-fi at the Oscars, in all likelihood due to the dominance of superhero flicks in this year’s lineup. We’ll see what next year’s ceremony does with The Dark Knight Rises, the capper on what’s arguably the most Academy friendly superhero franchise out there. We all know the Academy likes to reward oft-ignored franchises by tossing statues at their last installment.

Speaking of, the final installment of the Harry Potter series is up for two of the usual genre flick awards: Visual Effects and Makeup, as well as Art Direction. Also, this year’s Oscar noms are perhaps the most obvious sign that the Academy has absolutely no idea what to do about motion capture performances, so it is simply ignoring them.

Consider: in an otherwise completely bleak year for the animated feature in America (Pixar scrapped what would have been its 2011 release, Newt, in early production stages, and has been focusing on Brave), Hollywood was introduced to a loving throwback to the classic Hollywood adventure film from one of its favorite directors in the form of The Adventures of Tintin. Tintin, however, gets a nod only in the Soundtrack category.

You would think that if the Academy considers mo-cap to be more than animation, than it might assume that the performance captured would be on a level with that captured in live action movies. Again, there seems to be some confusion, because the only mention of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, much less Andy Serkis and the film’s fervent push to get him a supporting actor nomination, is in the (surprise!) Visual Effects category.

Personally, I waver back and forth on whether motion capture performances should be considered all the actor’s work or all the animator’s work (it’s truly something in between) but the Academy’s apparent policy of ignoring the new technique entirely, for what is now years, is going to become more and more egregious as more and more directors decide that they can use it to make good art. Over the next two years Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit is going to have not just one, but two to three major motion capture performances integrated (beautifully, based on his past work) with live action ones, from two different actors. It’s going to continue to be hard for the Academy to ignore motion capture, just as it became hard for them to ignore computer generated images in animation and special effects back when Tron came out.

Other notes:

  • Yay, Bridesmaids! Yay, Melissa McCarthy!
  • LOL, John Williams stop hogging the Oscars, jeez.
  • Bret McKenzie, congratulations on your Oscar for The Muppets. If you don’t get it, it will be a crime, and I will be sorry I jinxed you.

Best Picture

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Actor In a Leading Role

  • Demián Bichir – A Better Life
  • George Clooney – The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin – The Artist
  • Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt – Moneyball

Actress In a Leading Role

  • Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis – The Help
  • Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Kenneth Branagh – My Week With Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill – Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte – Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer – Beginners
  • Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Actress In a Supporting Role

  • Bérénice Bejo – The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain – The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer – The Help

Animated Feature Film

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico & Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

Cinematography

  • The Artist
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Art Direction

  • The Artist
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • War Horse

Costume Design

  • Anonymous
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Jane Eyre
  • W.E.

Directing

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • The Tree of Life

Documentary Feature

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Pina
  • Undefeated

Documentary Short

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
  • God is the Bigger Elvis
  • Incident in New Baghdad
  • Saving Face
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Film Editing

  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball

Foreign Language Film

  • Belgium, “Bullhead”
  • Canada, “Monsieur Lazhar”
  • Iran, “A Separation”
  • Israel, “Footnote”
  • Poland, “In Darkness”

Makeup

  • Albert Nobbs
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • The Iron Lady

Music (Original Score)

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • The Artist
  • Hugo
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • War Horse

Music (Original Song)

  • “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
  • “Real in Rio” from Rio

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • La Luna
  • A Morning Stroll
  • Wild Life

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost
  • Raju
  • The Shore
  • Time Freak
  • Tuba Atlantic

Sound Editing

  • Drive
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse

Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Hugo
  • Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse

Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Descendants
  • Hugo
  • The Ides of March
  • Moneyball
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • Margin Call
  • Midnight in Paris
  • A Separation

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