Tuesday, January 25, 2011

83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations

Without fail, the announcement of the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations this morning has left people in a frenzy of frustration. The biggest complaint on everyone's plate this year? The snub for Christopher Nolan in the category of Best Director for his work on "Inception." How did the Academy think it was OK to snub him again after already snubbing him back in 2008 for "The Dark Knight" is beyond me.

Sure some can argue about the other five Best Picture nominees who don't have a Best Director nominee to match, but it just felt like--with his film garnering eight total nominations and all--his work deserved to qualify for a nod.

In any case.

"The King's Speech" led the pack with 12 nominations total followed by "True Grit" with 10, "The Social Network" and "Inception" tied at eight and "The Fighter" with seven.

In for Best Director over Nolan was David O. Russell for "The Fighter," Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech," David Fincher for "The Social Network," Darren Aronofsky for "Black Swan" and--who wasn't expected to make it in but did--Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit." It's pretty clear David Fincher has this one.

I'm proud to announce I predicted the 10 slots for Best Picture nominees correctly. They are as follows: "127 Hours," "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit" and "Winter's Bone." I'm glad that Debra Granik's film made it in over the last minute prediction that Ben Affleck's "The Town" would be able to edge it out. This came as a surprise considering many predicted it would do better in major categories.

Best Actor nominations included the suspected four with front-runner and clear winner Colin Firth for "The King's Speech" along with Jesse Eisenberg for "The Social Network," James Franco for "127 Hours" and Jeff Bridges for "True Grit" who won last year. The fifth spot was rather up for grabs, and it ended up going to Javier Bardem for "Biutiful" over both Robert Duvall for "Get Low" and Ryan Gosling for "Blue Valentine."

The Best Actress category held the least amount of surprise with the nominees of Nicole Kidman for "Rabbit Hole," Annette Bening for "The Kids Are All Right," Jennifer Lawrence for "Winter's Bone," Natalie Portman for "Black Swan" and Michelle Williams for "Blue Valentine." Strange to note Williams got in but Gosling didn't; one must note, though, that the year was indeed stronger in actor over actress performances. Williams had less of a chance in being edged out over Gosling although both performances were at an equal caliber. Natalie Portman is the front-runner here and probable winner over Bening.

The debate of whether Hailee Steinfeld constituted as lead or supporting finally got put to an end as she was placed as a nominee within the Best Supporting Actress category. Joining her was Amy Adams and Melissa Leo both for "The Fighter," Jacki Weaver for "Animal Kingdom" and Helena Bonham Carter for "The King's Speech." A notable snub here comes with the lack of a nomination for either Mila Kunis or Barbara Hershey for "Black Swan." Many figured Kunis would go on to receive a nomination here considering the love for her at other award shows. Not here. Melissa Leo is still, in my mind, the one to win.

Predicted winner Christian Bale for "The Fighter" led the way in the Best Supporting Actor category. Joining him was not Andrew Garfield for "The Social Network," which was in my opinion one of the larger snubs of the morning. He was just astonishing in that film. Edging him out was Mark Ruffalo for "The Kids Are All Right," Geoffrey Rush for "The King's Speech," Jeremy Renner for "The Town"--the film's only nominee--and, an unexpected twist, John Hawkes for "Winter's Bone." This nomination acknowledges the Academy's love for that film.

Mike Leigh received recognition in Best Original Screenplay for his "Another Year." Other nominees in that category were a whole bunch of folks for "The Fighter," Christopher Nolan for "Inception," Lisa Cholodenkos and Stuart Blumberg for "The Kids Are All Right" and David Seidler for "The King's Speech." At least Nolan didn't get snubbed here, but I'm predicting Seidler to take the win.

Best Adapted Screenplay nominees were the front-runner Aaron Sorkin for "The Social Network" along with Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy for "127 Hours," Michael Arndt for "Toy Story 3," Joel and Ethan Coen for "True Grit" and, more love for this one, Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for "Winter's Bone."

"Burlesque" got entirely left out of Best Original Song, which came as a surprise. Instead the nominations went to "Coming Home" from "Country Strong," "I See the Light" from "Tangled," "If I Rise" from "127 Hours" and "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3."

"Waiting for Superman" got left out of the nominations for Best Documentary which went to "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "Gasland," "Inside Job," "Restrepo" and "Wasteland."

"The Illusionist" got its well-deserved nomination for Best Animated Feature along with "How to Train Your Dragon" and, of course, "Toy Story 3."

"Inception" managed to garner a lot of its technical awards aside from one glaring absence of a nomination for Best Editing. The nominees instead were "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours" and "The Social Network."

The category of Best Makeup was an entirely mixed bag bringing in the likes of "Barney's Version," "The Way Back" and "The Wolfman."

"TRON: Legacy" got left out of both Best Score and Visual Effects only making it in as a nomination for Sound Editing.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and "Alice in Wonderland" received two nominations each. The former for Visual Effects and Art Direction and the latter for Visual Effects and Costume Design.

Though it got left out of the Best Foreign Language category--which went to "Dogtooth," "Biutiful," "In a Better World," "Incendies" and "Outside the Law"--Italy's "I Am Love" did receive notice with a nomination in Costume Design.

John Powell's wonderful score for "How to Train Your Dragon" received a surprise nomination for Best Score along with Hans Zimmer for "Inception," Alexandre Desplat for "The King's Speech," A.R. Rahman for "127 Hours" and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for "The Social Network."

The nominations for Best Cinematography were Matthew Libatique for "Black Swan," Wally Pfister for "Inception," Danny Cohen for "The King's Speech," Jeff Cronenworth for "The Social Network" and Roger Deakins for "True Grit."

This morning leaves us with quite a few surprises and snubs considering how the award season had been previously going up until now. These shocks, however, do not detract from the predictability of the larger picture overall. My bets are still firmly placed on "The Social Network" taking the top prizes even though "The King's Speech" received the most nominations.

And, my closing words: Poor Christopher Nolan.

Check here for a full list of the nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

Check back for further analysis down the line, and be sure to tune in for the Oscar telecast on Feburary 27th to find out who the winners are!

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