Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oscar 2012

Nominations for the 64th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo leads the pack with 11 nominations, followed by The Artist with 10. This year there are 9 best picture nominees, but it’s obvious that the awkwardly titled Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with only one other nomination (supporting actor for Max Von Sydow) doesn’t stand a chance, and neither does Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris even though its 3 mentions include director and screenplay. War Horse has 6, but not for director Steven Spielberg, and The Tree of Life has 3 including one for director Terence Malick, but it would likely need to be recognized for more than its cinematography to be a serious contender. Moneyball managed 6 nominations, but none for its director, and The Help has 4, but other than best picture it’s competing only in acting categories.

So, it’s ultimately a three picture race: Hugo VS The Artist with The Descendants the possible spoiler. The latter film has 5 nods with its director, star, screenplay, and editing all in the running. The Artist has two acting nominations while Hugo has none, and with actors dominating the voting membership of the Academy, The Artist would seem to have the edge.

The nicest surprise is the best actor nomination for Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It’s the veteran actor’s first recognition from Oscar and somewhat unexpected since he’s been passed over by many of the preliminary awards - and what are the other awards but preliminaries for the only prize that counts? Those broadcast film critics, who like to pretend they’re somehow independent thinkers and above the more show-bizzy and supposedly compromised Oscars, merely imitate their every move. When Oscar expanded its best picture category from 5 to 10 nominees, they did the same. This year, when Oscar was more flexible, with 5 nominees the minimum with 10 a possibility, they followed suit. Whether or not one agrees with their choices, the Academy still has the award that matters, the one that will be remembered, if only in the winners’ obituaries, while the others are forgotten.

The biggest disappointment was the lack of nods for J. Edgar. Leonardo DiCaprio seemed a shoo-in, but the film failed to earn a single mention. Christopher Plummer was recognized for supporting actor and I’m betting he’ll win.

Among the 5 documentary short subject nominees is something called God Is the Bigger Elvis. After googling the title, I learned it’s about Dolores Hart, Presley’s co-star in Loving You and King Creole, who gave up acting to become a nun.

The big show airs Sunday February 26 on ABC.

© 2012 Brian W. Fairbanks


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