"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The 2012 Oscar nominees...

So the biggest mystery of the Oscar nominations has been finally many movies will compete for Best Picture?  Here's a full rundown and reaction to the 2012 Oscar nominations.

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

My take: Nine nominees in the end, then.  From 5 to 10 any number of movies could have been nominated and 9 is such a tease.  For the 10th picture that could have been, like Bridesmaids and Harry Potter, it does feel like some darn bad luck.  There are some definite surprises here with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and The Tree of Life making the cut.  But the biggest surprise? Hugo leads The Artist in more nominations, 11 in all to its 10.  Could this be a real Oscar race now?

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

My take: I didn't expect to see Terrence Malick's name up there and was instead thinking of David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) or Steven Spielberg (War Horse) to eke through.  Which goes to show you, there are people out there that really did like The Tree of Life.  I need to see this movie, stat!

Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

My take: Two surprise nominees, Demian Bichir and Gary Oldman (this is his first nomination, can you believe it?) made sure that Michael Fassbender (Shame), Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar), and Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March, Drive) were all denied a nomination this year.  But hey, they're all young and we can say that we might see them nominated in the future.

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

My take: I think in this category all the usual suspects who were supposed to be present are all there although both Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk about Kevin) and Kirsten Wiig (Bridesmaids) might have featured on some ballot lists.

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

My take: Ladies and gentlemen, Jonah Hill is an Oscar nominee.  How crazy is that?  He always makes me laugh, his line delivery is perfectly pitched in every movie.  However, this category is all about the old-timers, Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow.  Better late than never, huh?

Actress in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

My take: Congratulations to all the ladies in this category but truly it's Octavia Spencer vs. Melissa McCarthy here.  And the question will remain, can comedy score over drama?  I loved both their performances so I'm very torn.

Animated Feature Film
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

My take: The Adventures of Tintin not getting a nomination is a big snub here being that it just won at the Golden Globes and the Producer's Guild Awards.  I'm glad besides the big studio films making the list, two very different animation genre films like A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita are showcased.  Congratulations to Dreamworks Animation on their two nominations for Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2.  This really could become an open category for any film.

Art Direction
The Artist, Production Design: Laurence Bennett, Set Decoration: Robert Gould
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Production Design : Stuart Craig, Set Decoration: Stephanie McMillan
Hugo, Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
Midnight in Paris, Production Design: Anne Seibel, Set Decoration: Helene Dubreuil
War Horse, Production Design: Rick Carter, Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

My take: Harry Potter got its one of three nominations in where I'd hoped to see it recognized and I do wish it wins this year.  Stuart Craig has been working in that world for over a decade.  Although, any of the best picture nominees could solidify their frontrunner position with a win here.

The Artist, Guillame Schiffman
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo, Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

My take: So glad to see War Horse make it through for a nomination.  Every shot in that film looks gorgeous photographed.  Same goes for The Tree of Life.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
The Descendants, Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Hugo, John Logan
The Ides of March, George Clooney, Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Moneyball, Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorking, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan

My take: Alexander Payne has won in this category before and it's safe to say he's the frontrunner here again.  Hugo scored a surprise nomination here too.  Things are looking up for the film's chances.

Writing (Original Screenplay)
The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids, Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
Margin Call, J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
A Separation, Asghar Farhadi

My take: Two more surprises in this category, the very well-made Margin Call and A Separation making it through.  I do feel Woody Allen is the one to beat but there can always be an upset.  Congratulations to Mumolo and Wiig, the lone female nominees from the bigwig categories.  I was looking to see Diablo Cody get nominated again for Young Adult.

Film Editing
The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball, Christopher Tellefsen

My take: A nomination here greatly increases a film chance's at winning at Best Picture and it's all the big names here.  I am hoping Schoonmaker, Scorsese's longtime editor, wins again.  I'm biased.

Sound Editing
Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

My take: Ah, the sound categories, if you don't get this right on Oscar night, it really does screw you up on the Oscar pool.  And usually, the same film wins both categories!  Chose wisely.  Things are not looking good for Drive's lone nomination then.

Sound Mixing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
Hugo, Tom Fleischman and Jon Midgley
Moneyball, Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Pete J. Devlin
War Horse, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

My take: See above.  Although, Moneyball is the odd man out this time around.

Costume Design
Anonymous, Lisy Christl
The Artist, Mark Bridges
Hugo, Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre, Michael O'Connor
W.E., Arianne Phillips

My take: Jane Eyre got a nomination! As did W.E.?  I had really hoped to see Harry Potter score here and I'm really surprised to see that Midnight in Paris didn't feature here.  The setting, the look, and the costumes really did set the mood for 1920s Paris.

Foreign Language Film
Bullhead, Belguim
Footnote, Israel
In Darkness, Poland
Monsieur Lazhar, Canada
A Separation, Iran

My take: Congrats to the rest of the nominees but who are we kidding? A Separation has this locked.

Visual Effects 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richarson
Hugo, Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
Real Steel, Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark Of the Moon, Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

My take: Rise of the Planet of the Apes cannot lose this.  Kudos the rest of the nominees on their amazing and hard work to make it all seem so effortless but this was year of Caesar.  Believe me, I would have loved for the wizards from Hogwarts to finally win at something.

Albert Nobbs, Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
The Iron Lady, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

My take: Only 3 nominees? Though I have sneaking suspicion that The Iron Lady will emerge victorious here, you can hardly recognize Meryl Streep; it's like she really did become Margaret Thatcher.

Music (Original Score)
John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Howard Shore, Hugo
Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
John Williams, War Horse

My take: Oh, no, John Williams!  It's never good for double nominees, they always cancel themselves out.  Ludovic Bource and his charming French accent might make it up the stage for The Artist.

Music (Original Score)
Man or Muppet, The Muppets Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
Real in Rio, Rio Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

My take: While I'm happy for the nominees, why do they even bother with this category?  The most random people are Oscar winners for this category.  That being said, you know what this means, right? Kermit and Miss Piggy are going to the Oscars!!

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

Documentary Short Subject
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

Short Film Animated
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Short Film (Live Action)
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

And that's it, folks!  While many of my favorites did not make this time, there's always next year and the year after that.  That's what you have to keep telling yourself.   The awards will be handed out on February 26th, 2012  and the show will be hosted by Billy Crystal.  See you there!

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