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The Oscar Nominations – What We Think!

Frankly, the Academy has no idea. Drive, a film I consider to be easily the best film of 2011, missed out on virtually any Oscar nominations at all, save a filler spot for Best Sound Editing (I mean, c’mon, when you’re up against a Transformers movie, what hope to you have?) – not even Albert Brooks’ nasty turn as a gangster in that film was given so much as a nod. Instead, Melissa McCarthy now becomes an Oscar nominee for her work in the female slanted comedy Bridesmaids. Really?

And so the frustrating spectacle of seeing truly great films miss out on the Oscar glow comes around again.

I guess the question could be asked: why exactly do we hinge our film  fanaticism on the black-slappers in the Academy as being the pinnacle of truly awesome cinema? I mean, these are the people who allow films like Jack & Jill and Big Momma’s: Like Father, Like Son to be made in the first place. How can we trust these clowns?

The Oscar nominations for films of 2011 have raised a number of interesting points:

1 – A silent film, in the modern age of digital cinema, surround sound and color film, is in the running for – and frankly odds-on to win – Best Picture. If you’d told me 12 months ago that I’d be staring at a silent film for a Best Picture award, I’d have happily signed the form to have you locked up in the madhouse. The Artist, by all accounts, should take the top prize this year. Its only real competition looks to be The Descendants, with an outsiders chance for The Help.

2 – If Rooney Mara scores an Oscar for her work in David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake, then the Academy needs to award one to Noomi Rapace (retrospectively) as well. How Rapace never scored a gong for her work in the original Swedish version is beyond me, so to see Mara snag a look-in for a remake, a reprisal, that sticks in my craw.

3 – It’s weird not seeing a Pixar film in the Best Animated Feature category. I’d be happy for either Puss In Boots or Rango to take home the gong.

4 – Only two songs are nominated for the Best Original Song category this year. I ask the Academy: is it really worth it? Isn’t this the kind of thing the Grammys are supposed to look at?

5 – From what I’ve seen, either Hugo or Tree Of Life should win Best Cinematography.

6 – Meryl Streep is once more nominated for an Oscar. Some folks (including several of our readers!) have indicated that perhaps she should sit a few years out and let others have a shot, but I still gaze in amazement at the woman’s ability to transform so effortlessly into each character she plays. Streep for the win (again) as Margaret Thatcher.

7 – Visual effects will go to either Transformers or Rise Of The Planet of The Apes, and in my mind, each would be a worthy winner. My hot tip is for Transformers, though.

8 – This year is Gary Oldman’s Oscar year. As I write this, I have Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on my list of films to watch next week, and from what I’ve heard about the blogoverse, he’s better in that film than Clooney is in The Descendents. So I’m gonna stick my arm up for Oldman.

9 – Is it just me, or is the sight of Jonah Hill’s name alongside the likes of Christopher Plummer, Kenneth Branagh, Nick Nolte and Max von Sydow, for Best Supporting Actor, just a little jarring?

10 – My official tips for the big four – The Artist, director Michel Hazanavicius, Gary Oldman and Meryl Streep.

The Oscars will be broadcast on Sunday February 26th (US time), or around lunchtime next day (Monday 27th) here in Australia – we will have a live update post on the day, for those of you stuck at work and unable to watch live!!

What Others Are Saying About The Oscars:

Dan over at Top 10 Films has a little article about the fact The Artist is up for best Picture!: “Okay, okay, so Martin Scorsese’s brilliant 3D extravaganza Hugo got more Oscar nominations than The Artist but – and correct if I’m wrong…isn’t it about that great silent film pioneer Georges Melies…”

Sam over at Duke & The Movies got up early to watch the nominations come through

Jessica over at The Velvet Cafe had a few words:  “The Oscar nominations is a good time for film buffs to get out of their bubble.”

Max over at Impassioned Cinema gives his own views on the noms!: “I kept waking up hoping that I wouldn’t miss it. That’s when you know you really love something.”

Ruth over at Flixchatter got into the swing of things: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close up for Best Picture?? I have not read a single review praising it and it’s only got a paltry 48% on Rotten Tomatoes.”

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16 COMMENTS

  1. I am honestly very pleased. I am glad Malick got the nod, and Hugo getting 11 nominations could NOT please me more! Now I must pray for a Best Director or Best Picture win…. not gonna happen 😉

    Oh and on a side note, I will have commented the most on your site before the year is over. I'm sure of it 😉

    • That's fine Matty, good luck making the top of the almighty leaderboard – I think you'll have some stiff competition!! LOL!!! I'm pleased Scorsese got another directing nomination, although I don't think he'll get it ahead of the team behind The Artist. Which is a shame, but then, Hugo never struck me as a serious Oscar contender… Thanks for dropping by my friend!

      And don't worry about War Horse – there's not enough general acclaim for that to really get a shot….

  2. I agree that this song category is strange. Maybe a sign that there aren't enough musicals made? Perhaps they should check out some Bollywood flicks? 🙂

    I actually liked Jonah Hill just fine in Moneyball. But I'd be shocked if he got that award instead of Plummer or von Sydow.

    I have yet to see The War Horse, The Artist, The Descendents and Hugo. It's frustrating to live in a far distant corner of the world in the times of the Oscars.

  3. Thank you for the link Rodney.

    You know, I can't understand the amount of praise heaped upon Bridesmaids. It was okay but nothing more. You are so right about Drive – easily one of the best films of 2011 and it is effectively ignored. Doesn't make sense.

    Meryl Streep is a great actress. There's no denying that. But like her, I know of other actors who can seamlessly immerse themselves in characters in much the same way – or even better – such as Johnny Depp and, the thankfully nominated, Gary Oldman. So I think it comes down to the TYPE of films they are making. This might be fine for best film, but for best performance it shouldn't matter if the film is a period drama or a violent exploitation flick…surely. For this reason it seems the Academy has ignored, as you point out, Albert Brooks fine support turn in Drive – he's obviously far too nasty!

  4. Pretty ridiculous how Bridesmaids got a writing nominee, I agree. I didn't think the film was bad or anything, while feeling cliché it was pretty funny, but how the hell is it Oscar-worthy? I haven't seen the original Dragon Tattoo film, but, again, I'm really hoping Mara wins the Oscar.

  5. I think you're the first person I've seen who's predicting an Oldman win. I was assuming it'd go to Dujardin, but honestly, both performances were fantastic and either one would be fine with me. Also, thanks for adding my site to your friends list!

    • @ Scott – By that I assume you're watching the Oscars at about 3am? 😉

      @ Jessica – You know, I don't know what the Academy doesn't recognize more foreign films in its scope: there are thousands of films made in India and around the world that deserve some time and recognition. Like Scott, I feel for the European fans who have to stay up into the early hours of the morning just to watch the Oscars live! Here in Australia, they start just after lunch.

      @ Dan – You raise a great point, mate. The acting categories should cut across the type of film the performances are in: be they romantic comedies, heavy dramas or action films, a great performance should be highlighted regardless of film genre. And it shouldn't matter if the character is god, bad or other – although, I don't think this bothers the Academy, after all, they gave an acting nom to Ralph Feinnes for his incredibly nasty performance as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, as one example – but no doubt we tend to remember the Good Guys more than the Bad, by and large. Brooks' role in Drive should have been given a nod. And yes, I don't understand the overwhelming love for Bridesmaids either.

      @ Vik – LOL, and here's me hoping Mara doesn't win it! 😉

      @ Adam – I could have hopped on the bandwagon for The Artist, I guess, and put my money on Dujardin, but I want to see Oldman finally scoop and Oscar for something, and I think this is his year. It was criminal how they overlooked him for The Contender: one of his best performances ever, in my opinion. Call it a career award, I don't care, as long as he finally gets an Oscar. And no dramas re my friends list, my friend. I'm always cool with plugging other fine sites here!

  6. Thanks very much for the link love, Rodney! I'm so with you on a lot of these and no, it's not just you regarding #9… I'm sure even Jonah himself is pinching himself to make sure he's not dreaming!

  7. Congrats to Gary Oldman for finally getting an Oscar nomination. I wouldn't mind him taking the golden man home for all his work over the years. The Tree of Life has to win Best Cinematography seriously, it didn't have to resort to gimmicks (3D) to look great like Hugo.

  8. In retrospect Drive would've never gotten any nods, the Academy loves warm and fuzzy movies, not action movies with a European aesthetic. It's just too cool for them!

    Maybe if Drive had starred George Clooney as a driver getting his friend – played by Morgan Freeman – to the hospital because he's dying and used to be a war hero, then it would've made it to the Best Picture race.

    • @ Jose – Thanks for dropping by mate! I can see your point about Drive… and I hate that I have to agree with you about it. It is just such a cool film, they overlook it because it's "trendy and modern", which mustn't be something they like in Oscar winning films! 😉

      @ Castor – ditto re Gary Oldman.

  9. Nice post. I agree with you when you say the Oscars may not necessarily do a great job choosing movies. I have been tracking the nominees and making my predictions too. 🙂 Some of my thoughts –

    Well….I watched "The Artist" other day and i must say, it was very boring. Its true what they tell in the movie…One should let go the old and welcome new. The action and reactions that keeps you glued in the first 20 minutes simply disappears into a boring saga of love that has been told thousand times before.

    "Drive" according to me was very slow. Many a times i had to check if the CD was suck 🙂 But the performances by Ryan and Carey were really good.

    The Descendants and Midnight in Paris were simply the best entertainer of the year with right mix of drama, comedy and sense. The Ides Of March was well written too. Still got to watch tinker spy but I liked the mixed emotions of George Clooney in the Descendants.

    Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs was very good for a supporting role.

    The help seems to me very overrated with actors over acting EXCEPT Voila Davis who has given as usual a very controlled performance. She is too good.

    • Thanks for stopping by, AJ. Good to have you along. Some great thoughts on the Oscar race this year, especially your against-the-grain feelings on The Artist. I have yet to see The Artist myself, but a few reviews I've read have agreed with your sentiment that as much as it's a throwback to the silent era, and a well made film in general, the story feels like it's been cobbled together from a bunch of films we've already seen.

We want to hear from you!!! Leave us your thoughts here!!!

Never blessed with a body worthy of a porn star, nor being the heir to a wealthy industrialists fortune, nor suffering the tragedy of having his parents murdered outside a Gotham theater, Rodney is, contrary to popular opinion, neither Ron Jeremy, JD Rockefeller, or Batman. As a serious appreciator of film since 1996, Rodney's love affair with the medium has continued with his online blog, Fernby Films, a facility allowing him to communicate with fellow cineasts in their mutual love of all things movie.

The Oscar Nominations – What We Think!

by Rodney Twelftree
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