Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar nomination reaction

The 2010 Academy Awards nomination surprised and largely pleased me. I was deathly afraid that two of my favorites, "127 Hours" and "Winter's Bone," would not get love from the Academy because neither managed to light much of a fire at the box office.

I was especially pleased to see acting nominations for Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes from "Bone" -- two of the best performances I saw this year. James Franco (who's co-hosting the ceremony Feb. 27) got a nomination for his performance in "127 Hours," but he has a much higher profile than the other two.

"The King's Speech" led the field with 12 nominations, an indication of a strong swell of support from the Academy's older voters. Should it now be the favorite for Best Picture? I still think "The Social Network" is tops.

A lot of dap for "Toy Story 3," including becoming the third animated feature to get a Best Pic nod, plus a screenplay nominations. I still think "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Tangled" are better films.

Films that did better than predicted: "Rabbit Hole," "Winter's Bone," "Toy Story 3," "The Kids Are All Right," "The Fighter," "Biutiful" (a surprise -- and deserved -- nom for Javier Bardem).

Films that did worse: "Inception" (no Christopher Nolan directing nomination), "Never Let Me Go" (totally shut out), "Blue Valentine," "Tangled."

Snubs: No nod for Julianne Moore from "The Kids Are All Right"? Co-stars Mark Ruffalo and Annette Bening both got nominations, and her performance was no less compelling.

Ryan Gosling, in one of the most nuanced roles of the year in "Blue Valentine," got the shaft. Co-star Michelle Williams did get a nod, though. This is a movie built around two performances, and to recognize only one of them feel strange and bitter.

No Diane Wiest nod for "Rabbit Hole," though not surprising. It's a small but meaty role in a film few people have seen. Aaron Eckhart also got snubbed, which is strange in the same way as "Blue Valentine," in that's a movie about a relationship between two people.

A lack of a directing nod for Christopher Nolan is vexing. Here was one of the most truly original visions of the year, and to not recognize the man behind it strikes me as bizarre and cruel. Maybe voters felt a screenwriting nomination was sufficient. It wasn't.

Another acting nomination I wasn't really expecting but would have liked to see was Andrew Garfield for "The Social Network." Armie Hammer was amusing as the Winklevi, but it's just not an Oscar-caliber role or performance.

Although my prediction of a youth movement in the acting nominations proved largely true, with by my count nine of the 20 nods going to actors under the age of 40.

The Overrated: "The King's Speech" is a solid, well-made film, but about as original as an Andy Warhol soup can print. I think Film Yapper Nick Rogers said it best in his Facebook post: "Two great performances from actors who need neither good direction nor scripts to excel."

I liked "Toy Story 3," but c'mon. It was the third-go round with some very familiar characters and settings. You can't tell me certain parts of the plot felt like they were on auto-pilot (the escape from daycare, etc.). So a screenplay nod here seems really misplaced.

I know it's a nice-looking film, but there's just something wrong with the world when "Alice in Wonderland" earns more Academy Award nominations than "Blue Valentine," "The American," "Lebanon," "Never Let Me Go" and "Tangled" combined.

And, thank God, we avoided a Mila Kunis nomination for "Black Swan." I'm not a fan of that film, but Kunis was borderline horrible in it, and I couldn't believe she generated talk about a nod. No Milli Vanilli Moment for these Oscars.

Here's the complete list:

Best motion picture of the year

     Black Swan
     The Fighter
     The Kids Are All Right
     The King's Speech
     127 Hours
     The Social Network
     Toy Story 3
     True Grit
     Winter's Bone

Performance by an actor in a leading role

     Javier Bardem in "Biutiful"
     Jeff Bridges in "True Grit"
     Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"
     Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"
     James Franco in "127 Hours"

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

     Christian Bale in "The Fighter"
     John Hawkes in "Winter's Bone"
     Jeremy Renner in "The Town"
     Mark Ruffalo in "The Kids Are All Right"
     Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech"

Performance by an actress in a leading role

     Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right"
     Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole"
     Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"
     Natalie Portman in "Black Swan"
     Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine"

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

     Amy Adams in "The Fighter"
     Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech"
     Melissa Leo in "The Fighter"
     Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit"
     Jacki Weaver in "Animal Kingdom"

Best animated feature film of the year

     How to Train Your Dragon
     The Illusionist
     Toy Story 3

Art Direction

     Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O'Hara (Set Decoration)
     Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
     Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)/span>
     The King's Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
     True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

Achievement in Cinematography

     Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique
     Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
     The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen
     The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
     True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design

     Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood
     I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi
     The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan
     The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell
     True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

Achievement in directing

     Black Swan (Fox Searchlight), Darren Aronofsky
     The Fighter (Paramount), David O. Russell
     The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company), Tom Hooper
     The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), David Fincher
     True Grit (Paramount), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Best Documentary Feature

     Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D'Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production
     Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production
     Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production
     Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production
     Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

Best documentary short subject

     Killing in the Name
     Poster Girl    
Strangers No More
     Sun Come Up
     The Warriors of Qiugang

Achievement in film editing

     Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
     The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin
     The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
     127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
     The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Best foreign language film of the year

     Biutiful Mexico
     Dogtooth Greece
     In a Better World Denmark
     Incendies Canada
     Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) Algeria

Achievement in makeup

     Achievement in makeup (Sony Pictures Classics) Adrien Morot
     The Way Back (Newmarket Films in association with Wrekin Hill Entertainment and Image Entertainment) Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
     The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

     How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell
     Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
     The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
     127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
     The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

     Coming Home from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
     I See the Light from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
     If I Rise from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
     We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Best animated short film

     Day & Night (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production Teddy Newton
     The Gruffalo A Magic Light Pictures Production Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
     Let's Pollute A Geefwee Boedoe Production Geefwee Boedoe
     The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
     Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) A Sacrebleu Production Bastien Dubois

Best live action short film

     The Confession (National Film and Television School) A National Film and Television School Production Tanel Toom
     The Crush (Network Ireland Television) A Purdy Pictures Production Michael Creagh
     God of Love A Luke Matheny Production Luke Matheny
     Na Wewe (Premium Films) A CUT! Production Ivan Goldschmidt
     Wish 143 A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Achievement in sound editing

     Inception (Warner Bros.) Richard King
     Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
     Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney) Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
     True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
     Unstoppable (20th Century Fox) Mark P. Stoeckinger

Achievement in sound mixing

     Inception (Warner Bros.) Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
     The King's Speech (The Weinstein Company) Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
     Salt (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
     The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
     True Grit (Paramount) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Achievement in visual effects

     Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
     Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
     Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
     Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
     Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Adapted screenplay

     127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
     The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
     Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
     True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
     Winter's Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Original screenplay

     Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh
     The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
     Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan
     The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
     The King's Speech

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