Sunday, January 13, 2013

Of Snubs and Triumphs

     Okay, so the Academy's nomination announcements were far more shocking than usual.  Best Director alone almost gave me a heart attack.  Forgive me for not posting some immediate reaction, but it took me a minute to get my head back on straight.  I decided to attack these nominations in the most traditional manner, regardless of what an unconventional race it has turned into.   So...without further ado, here are thirteen winners, seventeen losers, and one who did  both.  Let's get hoppin...

13 Big Winners

  13.  Kon-Tiki - This Norwegian adventure flick was ranked about eighth in buzz out of the nine films on the Academy's Foreign Language Film short list.  It still doesn't have a chance in hell of beating Amour, but the nomination is a triumph in itself.
  12. The Sound Team from Argo - The film was considered an outside shot for either sound category, and it managed to score nods in both.  The movie needed SOME good news this week.
  11. Pirates!  Band of Misfits - This Aardman studios production managed to squeeze out both Rise of the Guardians and all four G-Kids movies to grab the fifth slot in Animated Feature.  Maybe AMPAS was trying to correct themselves for snubbing the far better Aardman film Arthur Christmas in this category last year.
  10. 5 Broken Cameras - This was one of the lowest profile documentaries still eligible for a nod.  Many a documentary that flies below everyone's radar up to the day of nominations turns around and wins it all, so who knows.
  9. The Snow White Story - Not only did Mirror Mirror grab a half expected nod in Costume Design, but Snow White and the Huntsman snagged quite unanticipated recognition in both Costume and Visual Effects.  Gooo Snow!
  8. Jackie Weaver - It's not like she unseated some presumed lock to get her nomination, but she was far from the most buzzed about contender.  Still, I had a sneaking suspicion that this could be a possibility, leading me to place her in my Best Supporting Actress Wild Card slot.  This is the Australian actress,s second nomination, having come out of nowhere the first time for Animal Kingdom.
  7. Anna Karenina - Mixed critical reception may have killed this movie's Best Picture hopes early on in the game, but it still managed to pull off four tech nods, which should still be enough to at least give DVD returns an "Oscar boost".
  6. John Gatins - The Flight scripter managed to squeeze out a nod ahead of more buzzed about (and, in my opinion, stronger) scripts for The Master and Looper.
  5. The Silver Linings Playbook - Everyone expected this film to do well with Picture and Screenplay nods in addition at least a couple of acting nominations, but FOUR acting nominations plus Director and Editing were real wish fulfillment for the picture's fans, making it one of the presumed Best Picture front runners.
  4. Joachin Phoenix - Everyone was holding their breath to see if the Academy would hold Phoenix's big mouth against him and leave him out of the Best Actor race this year.  Thank goodness they didn't, because his performance was definitely one of 2012's best.  His comments about the awards race HAVE probably dashed any hopes he had of WINNING, but at least he's (mostly) been forgiven.
  3. Amour - It's been a long time since a Foreign Language Film broke into the Best Picture race, but pundits have been playing with the idea that director Haneke's latest would do just that, and it did.  Not only that, it secured nods for Director, Screenplay, Actress, and Foreign Language Film.
  2. Steven Spielberg and Lincoln - With Affleck and Bigelow both out of the running, it would seem that Spielberg's win for Director (and, most likely, the film's for Picture) are all but assured.  However, it is still early, and Life of Pi is looking stronger all the time.
  1. Benh Zeitlen and Beasts of the Southern Wild - After the snubs at SAG and the Globes, every prognosticator and their brother began to slowly but surely eliminate Beasts from ANY consideration at the Oscars this year.  Not only did it pull out the Picture, Actress, and Screenplay nods that I and a few other true believers never stopped predicting, but it pulled out a Best Directing nomination that even I had totally given up on.  I have never been happier to get one of my predictions WRONG!  Granted, I would have loved to have seen the film receive much deserved recognition in Score and Cinematography, but I'll take what I can get in the year of...

Seventeen (mostly) Regrettable Losers
  17.  A bevy of Best Supporting Actress Hopefuls - The fifth slot in this race was WIDE open, but by my tabulations, at least five other ladies were ahead of Ms. Weaver in buzz.  They were...Maggie Smith - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Nicole Kidman - The Paperboy, Ann Dowd - Compliance, Samantha
Barks - Les Miserables, and Judi Dench - Skyfall.  While I'm sure none of these ladies were counting on getting into this highly competitive race, they still have my condolences.
  16. Hitchcock - No one was expecting this movie to be an awards juggernaut at this point, but I'm sure they were hoping for SOMETHING beyond Make-Up and Hairstyling.
  15. Nepotism - Bryce Dallas Howard (offspring of Ron) failed to secure a Best Live Action Short nod for her shortlisted piece:  When You Find Me.
  14. The Master - I suppose it could have been a lot worse (Phoenix did get his actor nod), and we all suspected that a picture nod was out.  Still, there were a host of technical nods (score, costume, production design, etc.) that this meticulously made film missed out on.
  13. Cloud Atlas - We all knew that above the line nods were probably out of the question, but nothing?  This was one of the most ambitious films of the year, and it was technically sound no matter what else you thought about it.
  12. Sharen Davis - It must hurt to have your worthy costuming work on Django Unchained passed over for the overly showy outfits of Mirror Mirror.  If your name was erroneously leaked to the press as a nominee, it must be even worse.
  11. Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson's little mini-masterpiece may have landed a screenplay nod, but I'm sure they were hoping for a little more (like the Best Picture nod they must have JUST missed).
  10. Rian Johnson - Looper might have been the best screenplay of the year period, and this young auteur lost a nod to Flight?
  9. Marion Cotillard - She is rapidly becoming one of those actresses that everyone predicts every year, who never gets nominated.  Rust and Bone did not  break this trend.
  8. The Songs of Brave - With Skyfall and Les Miserables in the hunt, no one was expecting a win here, but everyone was expecting an Original Song nod for Pixar.  Didn't happen.
  7. The Intouchables - This was supposed to be Amour's top competition in Foreign Language Film:  top U.S. and world box office, backed by the Weinsteins...not to be.
  6. G-Kids - This Indie animation distributor has managed to slip into the Animated Feature race at the last second for two years running.  That streak is now broken as From Up On Poppy Hill, The Painting, The Rabbi's Cat, and Zarafa all failed to make the cut.
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio - Like Cotillard, he is turning into the perpetual bridesmaid of the Oscars.  Still, they had to go with five guys who are already former winners over Leo?
  4. Katherine Bigelow - Yeah, she just won Best Director last time out, but she has won the MOST accolades from critics groups and didn't even get a nomination here.
  3. John Hawkes - So, everybody knew that we had six strong contenders for Best Actor and only five slots.  However, if there was one performance (outside of Day-Lewis in Lincoln) that everyone thought was a lock in the category, it was John Hawkes in The Sessions.  It just goes to show:  nobody knows anything.
  2. The Dark Knight Rises - This is one of the year's best films.  We had all accepted the fact that it was probably out of the running for anything above  the line due to its subject matter and unfortunate connection to the Aurora shooting, but come on Academy!  No tech nods?  A TOTAL shut out?  Someday we will look back and laugh at Oscar on this one, I promise you.
  1. Ben Affleck - I don't even know what to say.  I was still predicting Mr. Affleck to WIN best director this year.  Sorry, Ben, better luck next time.

And One That Did Both
  The Weinstein Company - WIN:  Two Best Picture slots and half the Acting nominations.
                                           LOSE:  Documentary, Foreign Language, Song (for Lawless), and most of the tech awards.

     Stay tuned for analysis and handicapping of all the major categories starting soon and running right up to the big day.

Related Posts:  Nov/Dec Oscar Buzz and Predictions: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (preview), Musical Techs (Score and Song), Noisy Techs (Sound Editing and Sound Mixing), Pretty People Techs (Hairstyling and Make-up & Costume), Pretty Picture Techs (Production Design and Cinematography), Finishing Touch TechsToons of Any Length (Animated Short and Animated Feature), Docs of Any Length (Documentary Feature and Documentary Short), Screenplays (Adapted and Original), Supporting PerformancesActor and ActressForeign Films (and Live Action Shorts), Conclusion (Picture and Director), I Think You "Argo"ing to Love It!Bernie! On a Ledge of Misfits (Pirates! Band of Misfits review), Being Margaret's Mirror (Mirror Mirror review), The Best Huntsman's Shadow (Snow White and the Huntsman and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel reviews), Can You "Master" Your Nature?Twist Until You Are Loopey! (Looper review), Best That the Summer Wields (Beasts of the Southern Wild review),
23? You Don't Play Like a Sequel Over 2! (Skyfall review), Cloudy Connections (Cloud Atlas review),
Promarlius Kingdom (Moonrise Kingdom review), Elena's Brave Law (Brave and Lawless reviews), Acting Master Classes in Private "Sessions"The Dark Knight TranscendsFinal Pre-Nomination Oscar Predictions

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