The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were unveiled earlier this morning, and largely went as foreseen. Whether you agree with me or not about thoughts like Silver Linings Playbook was too chaotic to be clever about family strife and mental illness, that Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild were major, if esoteric, emotional triumphs, that Lincoln was well done but maybe not the harrowingly illuminative biopic to end all biopics, the frontrunners were clear, and many placed exactly as predicted. Below, then, find five notable snubs from the list of nominees…and one pleasant surprise.
I placed Hawkes’ performance, along with co-star Helen Hunt’s, as my top film work of the entire year, so this omission is a standout one. As a polio victim looking for physical with Hunt’s sex surrogate, Hawkes’ performance was demanding physically and emotionally, a triumph in each way. Making things more curious is that Joaquin Phoenix, who had not only not campaigned for his nomination but who had publicly decried the aggressive campaigning process, still got in – despite the lack of overall love for his film, The Master (co-stars Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman got supporting actor nominations, but there were no nods for Picture, Director, Screenplay, or amazing cinematography). That means Hunt really deserved her Supporting Actress nomination – apparently she was having sex with herself in the movie.
Neither Kathryn Bigelow nor Ben Affleck in the Best Director race
Did Argo peak too early? Did Zero Dark Thirty polarize too many people? Hard to say, because while the two early Best Picture favorites both made it into the category (which also includes seven other films this year), neither director did. This might be an especially hard blow to Affleck who was campaigning ultra-hard to be seen as a leading Hollywood director. The good news for them is that both still got nominated as producers. And oh yeah, they both already have statuettes on their mantles.
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Dowd was as perfect a performance as captured on celluloid this year. Alas, her film’s studio, citing budget restrictions, didn’t provide screeners to award nominators, allowing bigger stars with bigger representation to move right on in. I’m impressed by veteran Jacki Weaver – the character she played in Silver Linings was the emotional fulcrum of the novel but reduced to inexpressive wallpaper in the film. And still she got in over Dowd.
Ewan McGregor, The Impossible
Naomi Watts received a well-deserved Best Actress nom for tsunami story The Impossible, but in a more crowded Best Supporting Actor category, McGregor was dismissed. It’s a shame. Both carry equal halves of the demanding film, and McGregor had one scene, reconnecting with certain family members over the phone, that makes for a perfect “Oscar scene.” Making this category all the more yawn-worthy is that all five nominees have already won at least one Academy Award.
DiCaprio’s Django co-star, Waltz, is terrific and got nominated this year. But his role is really a lead. And DiCaprio demonstrated remarkable prowess, cultivating a comically nuanced Southern villain. Maybe if his upcoming Gatsby role doesn’t do the trick for a leading actor nomination, he can play a singing alcoholic president grappling with mental illness. Just as long as the character doesn’t have polio.
The directors of Amour and Beasts, two of my big 2012 triumphs, got in – pushing the aforementioned Affleck and Bigelow out of their presumptive slots. One’s a veteran and one’s a newcomer, and I’m happy to see both recognized. I just wish Life of Pi’s Ang Lee or Silver Linings’ David O. Russell could have lost their slots to make room for Bigelow and Master’s Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Oscars will be handed out on February 24.
Tags: 85th Annual Academy Awards, Academy Awards, Ben Affleck, Benh Zeitlin, Compliance, Django Unchained, Doug Strassler, John Hawkes, Kathryn Bigelow, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Haneke, Oscar snubs, oscars, The Impossible, The Sessions
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