Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Oscar Nominations and Observations

This is my 300th post, so I’m glad I get to do something a little special with it.

The 2012 Oscar nominations were announced a couple of hours ago.  Going down through them I didn’t see any really huge surprises among them.  Here are the nine Best Picture nominees:

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

I will post reviews for as many of these movies as I can prior to the Oscar telecast on February 26th.  At this point I have seen five of the nine.  I will also post my predictions in the days leading up to the ceremony.

Click “Read more” for a complete list of the nominees, what got the most nominations, and some other things of interest.

Most nominations among the Best Picture nominees:

Hugo – 11
The Artist – 10
Moneyball – 6
War Horse – 6
The Descendants – 5
The Help – 4
Midnight in Paris – 4
The Tree of Life – 3
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – 2

Multiple nominations among other “Oscar bait” films:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – 5 (Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
Albert Nobbs – 3 (Actress, Supporting Actress, Makeup)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – 3 (Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Score)
The Iron Lady – 2 (Actress, Makeup)
My Week with Marilyn – 2 (Actress, Supporting Actor)

Mainstream movies with nominations:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – 3 (Art Direction, Makeup, Visual Effects)
Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 3 (Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing)
Bridesmaids – 2 (Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay)
Real Steel – 1 (Visual Effects)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 1 (Visual Effects)
The Muppets – 1 (Original Song)
Rio – 1 (Original Song)

Best Animated, Foreign Language, or Documentary nominees with any other nominations:

A Separation – 2 (Foreign Language Film, Original Screenplay)

Movies Nominated Only for Acting:

My Week with Marilyn (Michelle Williams – Best Actress, Kenneth Branagh – Best Supporting Actor)
A Better Life (Demian Bichir – Best Actor)
Warrior (Nick Nolte – Best Supporting Actor)
Beginners (Christopher Plummer – Best Supporting Actor)

No Movie was nominated in all five major categories:

The Artist had four out of five.  It missed in the Best Actress category, but did receive a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.  It could be argued that Berenice Bejo was more than just a Supporting Actress in The Artist, but movies rarely get both Best Actor and Best Actress nominations nowadays.

Other observations:

  • Even though War Horse got six nominations, they were almost all in the minor categories.  “Minor” means those categories where the nominees have spent just as many years and decades as the actors/actresses perfecting their craft, but which the general movie-watching populace knows little about.
  • Four of the nine Best Picture nominees did not get nominated for Best Screenplay (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, The Tree of Life, and War Horse.)  Last year only one of the ten nominees missed out (Black Swan).
  • The Help received no nominations other than Best Picture and three acting nominations.
  • Not one of Hugo’s eleven nominations was in an acting category.
  • Only two of the three Golden Globe winning films (Drama – The Descendants and Comedy/Musical – The Artist) received Best Picture nominations.  The Golden Globe foreign language film winner, A Separation, was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.  Not only did the Golden Globe animated film winner, The Adventures of Tintin, not get a Best Picture nomination, it did not even get a Best Animated Picture nomination.  This is probably the biggest surprise for me.
  • All six different winners of Golden Globes for acting were nominated for Oscars, unlike last year when Paul Giamatti was snubbed.  (Is that guy hated by the Academy, or what?)
  • Despite getting much praise in 2011 for The Ides of March, Drive, and even Crazy Stupid Love, Ryan Gosling did not receive an acting nomination.
  • Pixar was passed over in the Best Animated Movie category (no surprise – Cars 2 was not a hit), but I was surprised that two films from 2010 (A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita) were nominated.  The rules for eligibility must be different for animated films.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close only received one other nomination (Best Supporting Actor) to go with Best Picture.  I think it’s been a long time since a Best Picture nominee had so few total nominations.  It also has to have the worst name I have ever seen for a movie that is supposed to tug at your heartstrings.  It sounds like it should be a rock and roll documentary.
  • For the second year in a row, Michelle Williams was nominated for Best Actress.  She will probably be out of luck this year, too.
  • This is a strange year in the Best Original Song category.  Not only was it limited to just two nominees, but neither is from any of the Best Animated Film nominees.
  • In the two Sound categories all of the nominees are the same except for Drive in Best Sound Editing and Moneyball in Best Sound Mixing.
  • A short - The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement - has the longest name of all nominations.  A full length film - W.E. – has the shortest name of all the nominees.
  • And finally, the biggest snub by the Academy was in the Best Supporting Actor category.  Yes, I am referring to Uggie the dog not getting a nomination for his work in The Artist.  (What?  You were expecting me to mention Andy Serkis?)

Here is the complete list of nominations in all twenty-four categories.  I will probably list my picks for all of them just prior to the Oscars:

Best Picture

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

Best Animated Picture

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

Best Foreign Language Picture

Bullhead                       (from Belgium)
Footnote                       (from Israel)
In Darkness                  (from Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar          (from Canada)
A Separation                 (from Iran)

Best Documentary

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

Best Actor

Demian Bichir              (in A Better Life)
George Clooney            (in The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin               (in The Artist)
Gary Oldman                (in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Brad Pitt                        (in Moneyball)

Best Actress

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

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh          (in My Week with Marilyn)
Jonah Hill                      (in Moneyball)
Nick Nolte                      (in Warrior)
Christopher Plummer    (in Beginners)
Max von Sydow             (in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

Best Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo               (in The Artist)
Jessica Chastain           (in The Help)
Melissa McCarthy        (in Bridesmaids)
Janet McTeer               (in Albert Nobbs)
Octavia Spencer           (in The Help)

Best Director

Woody Allen                 (for Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius    (for The Artist)
Terence Malick             (for The Tree of Life)
Alexander Payne           (for The Descendants)
Martin Scorcese            (for Hugo)

Best Original Screenplay

The Artist
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris
A Separation

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants
The Ides of March
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Original Song

Man or Muppet            (from The Muppets)
Real in Rio                    (from Rio)

Best Original Score

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

Best Cinematography

The Artist
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Best Editing

The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Art Direction

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

Best Costumes

The Artist
Jane Eyre

Best Makeup

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

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

Best Sound Editing

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

Best Sound Mixing

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

Best Animated Short

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

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 Live Action Short

The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic


  1. Nice observations Chip here!
    I don't get the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close nomination but since the Academy nominated Bridesmaids two times I won't be surprised at anything ever.

  2. @Michael Parent - Thanks. I, too, was seriously unimpressed with Bridesmaids.