Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Oscar Nominations Play it Safe, Boring.

Eh. You were expecting something else?

If it wasn't partially my JOB to cover this sort of thing, I'd prefer to declare that the entire shindig this year is rendered irrelevant by the failure to nominate Albert Brooks in "Drive" for Best Supporting Actor. The most "interesting" thing about this year is that there are NINE Best Picture nominees - they changed the rules again so that the list could be "between 5 and 10" based on total number of votes per individual film, meaning that there's some poor unfortunate movie out there that would have been the tenth nominee under last year's rules.

"The Help" simply does not belong on a Best Picture list in any year, but certainly not in a year that also included the shut-out "Drive." "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is kind of a mess, but it was a given that the first big-star "let's all have a cry about 9/11 memories" movie was going to be nominated. "The Artist" is probably going to win, and will quickly join "A Beautiful Mind," "English Patient" and "Dances With Wolves" on the future "REALLY!?" lists - though I suppose they deserve big propers for acknowledging "Tree of Life."

Full list (and comments) after the jump:

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

BOB COMMENT: Obviously, I'd prefer to see "Tree of Life" win, but y'know what would be an even better spoiler in some ways? "Midnight in Paris" - 'Classic Woody' making a big comeback is a big deal.

Best Actress
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

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

BOB COMMENT: This should be Oldman's to lose, but the role is likely too restrained for Oscar. Dujardin probably takes this, will be the most popular "funny foriegn guy" in American movies for about six months and then promptly be banished back home a'la Roberto Benigni.

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

BOB COMMENT: Respect where it's due, Melissa McCarthy is a delightful surprise here. "The Help" is obviously the more 'popular' movie, but I really doubt Chastain would've been noticed in this if she didn't have "Tree of Life" the same year.

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

BOB COMMENT: No Albert Brooks, no sale.

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

BOB COMMENT: Y'know what? I like Hazanavicius. The "OSS" movies are hilarious, and he seems like a cool cat. But the "one of these things is NOT like the others" on this roster is staggering, and the idea that he'd be a frontrunner for something as inconsequential as "The Artist" on a list where the great Alexander Payne is the LEAST accomplished filmmaker otherwise is completely ridiculous.

Best Original Screenplay
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Annie Mumolo Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

BOB COMMENT: Will probably be Woody, and he deserves it, but it'd be great to see Wiig win.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, Ides of March
Steven Zallian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin, Moneyball
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Foreign Film
In Darkness
Monseiur Lazar
A Separation

BOB COMMENT: I'm assuming "The Artist" isn't on this list because it's technically "Foriegn LANGUAGE Film" and the only spoken dialogue in the film is in English.

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

BOB COMMENT: My overseas readers are probably wondering how "Tintin" didn't make this list. Likely answer? A lot of "Tintin" was accomplished via motion-capture, and there's a vocal and powerful contingent of the American animation industry that sees mocap either as a threat to their livelihoods or a "low" form of the medium; and they've circled the wagons.

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

Best Live Action Short
The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic

Best Art Direction
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Midnight in Paris
War Horse

Best Cinematography
The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Best Costumes
The Artist
Jane Eyre

BOB COMMENT: The lack of ANY 'genre' films outside of "Harry Potter" in the tech/art categories is baffling, until you remember that the prospects would include Captain America, Thor, XMen, etc. Bias against scifi/fantasy? Lessening. Bias against supehero-subgenre? Alive and kicking.

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

Best 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

Best Film Editing
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

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

BOB COMMENT: Really? Red Skull get's nothing?

Best Original Score
The Adventures of TinTin
The Artist
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
War Horse

BOB COMMENT: WHAT!? Okay, not to channel poor Kim Novak here or anything... but "The Artist" get's Best ORIGINAL Score?? Forget that the original part of it's score is deeply generic even as "tribute" scores go, big chunks of it are sampled from other scores. Two years ago, "The Will Be Blood" got shafted on a score nod because the composer sampled ONE riff from his OWN catalogue - how does this get a pass? Even the fucking Weinstein's shouldn't be this powerful...

Best Original Song
"Man or Muppet", The Muppets
"Real in Rio", Rio

Best Sound Editing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
War Horse

Best Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

BOB COMMENT: Oh, look, some non-Potter genre movies finally make the cut in the usual place. This should go to "Apes," as consolation prize for the rank cowardice in not giving Andy Serkis an acting nod.


Toodinho said...

Bob you keep telling that tree of life was the best movie of last year,but after watching it I couldnt figure out what the point of the movie was,I know its suposed to be a big meaning of life message but I just dont get it and honestly I think the movie tries to be so abstract that the message kind of gets lost in the middle,either that or i am to stupid to get the message.If you could explain why do you think tree of life was so good it would be helpfull.

Elessar said...

Personally I'm still holding out for a split between Picture and Director with The Descendents grabbing Best Picture. It is a little weird to see Hazanavicus up there next to Alexander Payne, Woody Allen and Martin Scorcese. And not that my opinion matters, but if I had to guess at an upset for Best Actor, it'd be either Clooney or Pitt (hopefully Pitt, he's been due since 12 Monkeys back in 1995). Honestly, this was kind of a weak year for Oscar movies (nothing like Black Swan or True Grit or even Inception) but if The Descendents can wander home with at least 1 Oscar, I'll be happy.

But you're right, Drive and Albert Brooks not getting up there is a goddamn crime (and I'm a little pissed about Melancholia not getting a nod).

MerelyAFan said...

Puss in Boots gets a nod for best animated feature, but not Winnie the Pooh.

Yeah, this list has complete credibility.

Graham said...

Cars 2 isn't even nominated. Thank god.

My greatest fear that the Academy likes to play favorites has been put to rest.

Mr. Gone said...

"A Separation" was amazing, and I'd say it's a shoe-in for foreign language film. I'd like to see it win Best Original Screenplay as well, but I won't hold my breath on that one.

Weakest round of nominees in a long time. "Shame," "Take Shelter," and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" get nothing, "Transformers 3" gets multiple nominations.

Gallium said...

I must admit not seeing Senna in best documentary is shocking. Hell, I'd put it up for best editing too.
Oh well, it is up for 3 BAFTA's, might find some joy there.

The rest of the list? Yeh, pretty much 'as you were'. Slight nit pick, while Martin Scorsese is great, the Academy's near constant apology for missing Raging Bull by nominating everything he touches is tiresome.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely livid for not seeing Andy Serkis' fantastic work in Apes. One of the year's best performances (IMHO).

Bob, where do you stand on the "Is 'Performance Capture' acting?" debate?

Christopher Delvo said...

Bleh. How boring can one year get? Not even watching these, this year.

I see you're still sucking off Malick. How's that working for you? Feel smarter for liking his pretentious tripe?


David (The Pants) said...

I'm fine with Tintin not getting Best Animated Feature, which is understandable. BUT DRIVE!?!?


This must be what the Discrict 9 or Inception hardcores must've felt like, but at least THOSE got NOMINATED!!

IT ONLY GOT BEST SOUND EDITING!?!? Elessar's right; this is a goddamn crime. Ryan Gosling should've gotten Best Actor too, if the other silent male lead from The Artist got it.

I haven't even seen The Artist but i'm starting to hate it already. I mean, I know the "best" films come out in December and destroy most other's chances, (like I thought The Iron Lady was a 2012 movie because that's when it was released widely in the US) but The Artist seems to have mind-controlled the Academy voters.

But who knows I may like it.

Also, and this is the last thing (obviously), the only thing that'll bring me out of this disappointment is if they honor Harry Potter in some way. I'm not saying they need to recite your "Hollywood's Moonlanding" speech verbatim, but they better appreciate how fucking miraculous this series was to pull off.

This sucks, I am old enough and into movies enough to pay attention to The Oscars, and they get more and more disappointing. Hopefully the two "Bridesmaids" nominees win.

biomechanical923 said...

So do you think "The Help" got a hat tip from the Academy in a sort of "See, guys? We're totally not racist!" kind of way?

biomechanical923 said...


"Bob you keep telling that tree of life was the best movie of last year,but after watching it I couldnt figure out what the point of the movie was,I know its suposed to be a big meaning of life message but I just dont get it and honestly I think the movie tries to be so abstract that the message kind of gets lost in the middle,either that or i am to stupid to get the message.If you could explain why do you think tree of life was so good it would be helpfull. "

The director is an "auteur". They're doing it for art, not a story.

Being a haute artiste has to be the easiest fucking job in the world. You create random meaningless shit. When people criticize it, you tell them "it's just too deep for you" and "if you dont get it then thats too bad for you"

I think a lot of the art community is one gigantic Emperor's New Clothes racket, where there's a tacit agreement among "artists" that "you don't call me on my bullshit and I don't call you on your snake oil"

Uncle Tim said...

I still can't quite understand the tremendous backlash building up for the Artist or this sense that it's a shocking crime that it be up for best picture. No, it isn't packing a twisty, complex plot and no, it it isn't seething with grim, scathing insights on the human condition and no, it isn't full of historical or cultural references for the intelligensia in the crowd.

But after seeing it play with an audience twice I can say that people really respond to it and not just because of what many seem to have decided is just a gimmick. It's fun and sweet and it makes people leave the theater feeling pretty damn good. I keep hoping everyone will have a Joel McCrea moment and realize that just doing that, especially in this day and age, is hardly inconsequential.

For the make-up category, I can see Captain America getting skipped because A: the Red Skull was only one make-up and while a decent one, wasn't outstanding, and B: it was digitally enhanced in several ways, and while they do this in Harry Potter for Voldemort, there's a ton of traditional make-ups in the Potter films that qualify.

I would like to have seen Thor up for art direction and certainly costume design and do agree the Artist does not deserve a score nomination. That should have gone to the Chemical Brothers for Hanna.

Daniel R said...

To be perfectly honest I find this list entirely disgraceful.

I Simply cannot believe they completely snuffed;
Winnie the Pooh
Captain America
Attack the Block
Andy Serkis
Albert Brooks
Ryan Gosling
TinTin (Controversy's not a good enough excuse!)
The Muppets

But still managed to honor trite like The Help, Rango, and Extremely Loud

You know I hate approaching things with cynicism and negativity so I looked forward to see someone be nominated for Best Actor for playing a Monkey. But NOOOOOO, I guess Oscar's proved me wrong. It seems I can't hold any optimism regarding their decisions any time soon!


You may be correct to say that the backlash against The Artist is a bit unwarranted but in my opinion...

While The Artist may have been Fun, Sweet, Praise-worthy, and Engaging that alone doesn't qualify it to be considered for Best Picture of the Year.

Real Steel was the movie that made me "feel" most this year- Partly because of its overall quality and partly because of my own complicated relationship with my Father -but that doesn't mean I can confidently say it deserves to be nominated for anything on this list.

Aiddon said...

The only noms (or lack thereof) that make me legitimately MAD are Brooks not getting a Supporting Actor nod and tripe like Extremely Loud getting nominated (making it the Blindside of this year). And of course Andy Serkis gets snubbed because he's not doing "real" acting and the Academy Awards continue be shown as a fucking joke that isn't really about the "best" of a year so much as giving lifetime achievement awards to old farts well past their prime.

John Gates said...

I know this category is pretty much reserved exclusively for indie or even some student pictures, but how didn't Small Fry, the Pixar short in front of the Muppets, get a best animated short nod? On a per minute basis, that was the best thing I saw all year.

Ronan Wills said...

I'll repeat what I've said before about The Artist- it seems like the sort of movie "serious" film critics would feel obliged to heap acclaim on, regardless of how much it deserves it.

Its nice to see Moneyball get a nomination for best picture (I thought that was a real overlooked gem) and Rooney Mara get some recognition.

"The lack of ANY 'genre' films outside of "Harry Potter" in the tech/art categories is baffling, until you remember that the prospects would include Captain America, Thor, XMen, etc. Bias against scifi/fantasy? Lessening. Bias against supehero-subgenre? Alive and kicking."

Maybe they just didn't think those movies had very impressive special effects or art direction?

CoconutBuyer said...

You're tears, Bob. They are delicious. Good for the academy for not recognizing this year's line up of mediocre comic book fluff.

Elessar said...

With the exception of the Drive nominations and Shame, I don't think could honestly expect those movies to get nominated (Thor or Captain America get nominated when Dark Knight didn't? Andy gets nominated for Planet of the Apes when he didn't get nominated for LotR? Sure.)

I know you consider Roger Ebert to be a stick in the mud, but he wrote an interesting article on the movies he thinks should and should not have been nominated (he agrees with you on a lot of them, especially Drive):


The entire article is worth reading, but the money quote?

"Of course, no nominee is really robbed of an Academy Award nomination. It's a gift; not a right."

Worth a thought.

Daniel R said...


Very well, to each their own.
Honestly, I'm really just venting my own overdramatic inner monologue.

I agree that considering the Academy's past nominations- including snuffing Serkis' Gollum -it could have been easy to predict his latest snuff.
But hey, you gotta start somewhere right.

Oh and to be clear even though I do truly and immensely love both Thor and Captain America I don’t believe either are really fitting to be on the Best Picture spot (although Cap certainly comes close by my estimation) but they definitely deserve a nod for Costuming, Make Up, and Art Direction. Hell, in my opinion Cap’s score is better than any of the actual nominees.