Shockers include no nods for Kathryn Bigelow, John Hawkes
While in general the Academy Award nominations went as expected, the two exceptions were jaw dropping: No best director nomination for Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and no best actor nod for John Hawkes (The Sessions). Both of these omissions really have me steamed.
Bigelow was nominated for a DGA (Directors Guild of America), yet she lost out to the surprising nod to Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. The nods to Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee were expected, and it was great that David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) beat out the other DGA nominee rightfully scorned by the Oscars, Tom Hooper (Les Miz). The nod for Cannes’ big winner, Michael Haneke for Amour, was less of a surprise.
My guess is the fact that Bigelow’s film suggests that torture worked in tracking down a lead to find Osama bin Laden was a factor in her losing out. Maybe I’m crazy but the torture controversy seems to be the only explanation that makes sense, although it didn’t keep screenwriter Mark Boal from getting his original screenplay nod for the film being nominated for best picture.
As for John Hawkes losing out, that omission has me totally without an explanation, but perhaps it is merely sour grapes because I didn’t think The Master was as impressive as other critics did. However, that said, Joaquin Phoenix is a worthy nominee for his performance in the film.
The biggest surprises when it comes to nominations received are the nods to child actress Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild, making her the youngest nominee ever in this category at age nine. Of course it makes for a nice story line since 85-year-old nominee Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, is the oldest nominee ever in this category. The loser then was Marion Cotillard, who was thought to have this slot, joined by mortal locks Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence, plus Naomi Watts (The Impossible) and Riva.
With the 12 nominations for Lincoln, such a classic Oscar-style movie, Spielberg’s intimate masterpiece has become the Academy Award frontrunner although my beloved Silver Linings Playbook took nominations in all the major categories, which puts it ahead of Life of Pi, despite 11 nominations for the latter.
So who will win? I’ll provide my complete Oscar analysis Feb. 21.
A full list of nominees:
Best Picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
Actor: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln; Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables; Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; Denzel Washington, Flight.
Actress: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Naomi Watts, The Impossible.
Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Argo; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained.
Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Master; Sally Field, Lincoln; Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook.
Directing: Michael Haneke, Amour; Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Steven Spielberg,“Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.
Foreign Language Film: Amour, Austria; Kon-Tiki, Norway; No, Chile; A Royal Affair, Denmark; War Witch, Canada.
Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo; Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; David Magee, Life of Pi; Tony Kushner, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook.
Original Screenplay: Michael Haneke, Amour; Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained; John Gatins, Flight; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom; Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty.
Animated Feature Film: Brave; Frankenweenie; ParaNorman; The Pirates! Band of Misfits; Wreck-It Ralph”
Production Design: Anna Karenina, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln.
Cinematography: Anna Karenina, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall.
Sound Mixing: Argo, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall.
Sound Editing: Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty.
Original Score: Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli; Argo, Alexandre Desplat; Life of Pi, Mychael Danna; Lincoln, John Williams; Skyfall, Thomas Newman.
Original Song: “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, J. Ralph; “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted, Walter Murphy and Seth MacFarlane; “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, Mychael Danna and Bombay Jayashri; “Skyfall” from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth; "Suddenly" from Les Miserables, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil.
Costumes: Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman.
Documentary Feature: 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, Searching for Sugar Man.
Documentary (short subject): Inocente, Kings Point, Mondays at Racine, Open Heart, Redemption.
Film Editing: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty.
Makeup and Hairstyling: Hitchcock, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Les Miserables.
Animated Short Film: Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, “ead over Heels, Maggie Simpson in `The Longest Daycare,’ Paperman.
Live Action Short Film: Asad, Buzkashi Boys, Curfew, Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw), Henry.
Visual Effects: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi, Marvel’s The Avengers, Prometheus, Snow White and the Huntsman.
While there are the usual stone-cold lock Oscar nominees this year, the Academy is jumping the gun with its early announcement of nominations. This was done because the Academy members were sick and tired of all the other awards like the Golden Globes watering down the Oscar excitement by announcing its winners before the Oscar nominations were even released.
I don’t like the term top movies of the year. Defining them as your favorite movies is more on point, but if you’re a film critic you are not supposed to whine about how movie taste is subjective, not objective.
I’ve been a crafty film critic over the decades, which means I have learned to avoid movies that look horrible in the coming attractions. Of course some movies featuring major stars and high profiles simply can’t be avoided.
Some would say being a Quentin Tarantino fan is a matter of taste, or perhaps in some minds, it’s a matter of being swayed by his utter tastelessness. Put me in Camp Tarantino every day and twice on Sunday.
Now that the Academy Awards were announced yesterday (Jan. 10), moviegoers locally will finally get a chance to see two of the nominated films, the hunt for bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty and the hunt for survivors after the horrifying 2004 tsunami in The Impossible.