Oscar Nominations 2011: My Thoughts

The nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were announced early this morning and, like most years, it seemed to be quite the ho-hum affair – very few surprises, many who were snubbed, and even more who won a nomination thanks in part to fervent studio campaigning and “bandwagon word-of-mouth” via the blitzkrieg that is the media. Though it doesn’t lead the pack in nominations garnered, David Fincher’s The Social Network looks to be the early odds-on favorite – and though I thought it was a very good film, I can’t help but think how lucky it is to be released in what was yet another weak year in motion pictures. I look at the titles of the 120+ films I have screened so far this year (and still a few I must soon see) and see many good films that made their way to movie screens in 2010. What I fail to see are many great films released. One, two….three? Does anyone see three? Can I get a three? Anyone? [insert cricket noise here] It seems to me, to be indicative of last year and the recent years that preceded it – a bunch of solid, quality films and very few truly remarkable ones.

In any case, I thought I would share with you my immediate reactions to the list of nominations for this year’s Oscar. Please feel free to comment and leave your own thoughts on the Oscar race.

And let’s be real. All of these Awards ceremonies, the gluttony of presentations we see with each new year are just fodder…they really don’t mean very much at all…To be honest, it is all just meaningless filler – that is, until my own prestigious Magic Lantern Award nominations are announced! The most distinguished always makes the final entrance – and, if I may say, that holds true here as well. I will make sure to post the 1st Annual Magic Lantern Awards noms within 7-10 days. Sorry for the delay – I just need to make sure and see a few more select films.

OK, enough. My quick reactions to the Oscar noms:

What is the point of having a category for the ‘Best Animated Feature’ if you are just going to consider these films for the ‘Best Picture’ category? It seems to me that nominating Toy Story 3 for ‘Best Picture’ is an absolute waste – and completely unfair to a number of films that were very deserving of the 10th slot. We all know how this plays out anyway – no chance in hell of winning ‘Best Picture,’ but a shoo-in to win the Animated category.

I was afraid that Jesse Eisenberg would win a ‘Best Actor’ nom and sure enough, he did. Eisenberg did what he always does in the very same manner. He just happened to do it in a critically acclaimed film. What’s next? Michael Cera gets a nod for the one role he doesn’t wear a hoodie for?

Kudos to the voters for remembering and honoring much smaller/lesser seen films that deserve recognition such as: Jacki Warner’s chilling performance in Animal Kingdom, John Hawkes’ terrific work in Winter’s Bone, the intriguing documentary Waste Land, the very nice costume designs in the otherwise lackluster I Am Love, the impressive art direction and costumes in Alice in Wonderland.

Did Robert Duvall do or say something to piss Hollywood off at some point? His performance in Get Low was one of the year’s best and I thought, a shoo-in for a ‘Best Actor’ nom. Seems a shame that James Franco and Eisenberg get these slots. Don’t worry, Bob…there’s always the Magic Lantern nomination soon coming.

Speaking of James Franco – it has crossed my mind that if he were not co-hosting the Oscars this year, he would not have been voted in for ‘Best Actor.’ So he cut off an arm. Big deal. Not many stand-out performers by lead actors this year, but I can think of 5 better right off the bat. And while on the topic of hosts – this odd experiment of Franco and Anne Hathaway has boring flop written all over it.

Thank you voters for not encouraging the pretentiousness of Christopher Nolan with a ‘Best Director’ nomination. It’s bad enough the film is nominated for Picture (though certainly deserving of its Cinematography and Art Direction nominations). Thank God it was left out of the Editing category too – because that could have used some chopping up.

I saw Rabbit Hole (good) and Blue Valentine (not so good). Nicole Kidman and Michelle Williams give good performances. That’s it. Good. So many others are far more deserving this year – we nominate male leads in foreign films…why not Hye-ja Kim (Mother) or Noomi Rapace for giving the year’s gutsiest performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The omission of Rapace is this year’s biggest snub. And, Annette Bening surely deserves a nomination here – they just picked the wrong film to nominate her from.

I am thrilled to see little-seen The Illusionist nominated in the ‘Best Animated Film’ category. But where the hell is the absolutely charming and intelligent My Dog Tulip? The film has received nothing but praise and they only nominate three films anyway. Seems to be a glaring omission from here. Gorgeous animation, wonderful narration by Christopher Plummer and one of the year’s smarter films.

Jeff Bridges. That is all.

Looks like comedies get left out in the cold again. It’s tough to squeeze them in, I understand – but in looking at all of the nominations – there aren’t a lot of laughs going around. City Island, Kick-Ass, Wonderful World, Please Give are all fine films…just couldn’t break through here. I know I piss all over the Golden Globes, but maybe the Oscars should start thinking of having a ‘Best Comedic Film’ category. Something to mull over, at least.

I still strongly believe there needs to be an award for “Best Performance by a Child.” There always seems to be a few solid performances given by actors under the age of 16. It is my belief that the work of a young child of say, 12 should not be compared to the work of an actor with years of experience and training. This would also avoid the whole Tatum O’Neal and Anna Paquin disasters. The Academy made the smart step in creating a category for animated films – this needs to be the next step. Chloe Moretz was too good this year to be excluded and Ms. Hailee Steinfeld (who was wonderful in True Grit) should not be going up against the multi-layered talents of Helena Bonham-Carter and Melissa Leo.

We’ll see how the race takes shape over the next few weeks. The King’s Speech made a mighty statement by winning the most nominations, perhaps putting a small dent in the momentum of The Social Network. Right now, it seems like a 2-horse race, but again…we’ll see how the media’s influence starts to shape the outcome.

As always, I am looking forward to watching the telecast, despite the inane choice in hosts and predictable ‘Best Picture’ nominations.

Next Up – The Magic Lantern Award Nominations!!!

You know…the real shit!


24 Responses to Oscar Nominations 2011: My Thoughts

  1. Atty says:

    I absolutely agree that there should be an award for children below 16. There have been such wonderful performances by such talented children… they really need to be appreciated for their amazing work. This category should definitely be introduced.

    • Thanks for commenting. Yeah, every person I bring this up to thinks it is a good idea. As you state, there are always some pretty good performances each year by young adults and children — I simply think it would be the fair thing to do to give them their own category…rather than go up against more polished actors who have been around for many years.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    I’m not all that disappointed with the Oscars this year, except no love for Christopher Nolan, or The Town for that matter. However, it doesn’t matter all that much really since The Social Network is practically going to win everything it’s nominated for. Which kind of blows, but hey it really was an amazing piece of work. Can’t wait for the show!

  3. rtm says:

    I like Bridges but I hope he doesn’t win again over Firth this year.

  4. Castor says:

    Someone was bound to be left out in the cold but I’m bummed Ryan Gosling didn’t net a nomination.

    • He was very good. I thought more insightful than his co-star. He gave a real, genuine performance. Wouldn’t have been upset at the nom — as I am Eisenberg. This year’s Jeremy Renner who stole a perfectly good slot from a more deserving candidate.

  5. Sebastian says:

    What’s with the Nolan hate? I totally understand if you didn’t like the movie, but you can’t deny that Nolan directed this shit out that!

    RIght with you on the child actor thing. I though Chloe Moretz gave, hands down, one of the Top 5 Best Performances this year in LET ME IN, and has nothing to show for it. Also, I find it really absurd that Steinfeld, who was the Lead in TRUE GRIT, is in Supporting Actress. Just a thought….

    • The Steinfeld nom in Supporting Actress reminds me of Tim Hutton as supporting actor for Ordinary People when he was in the entire film! I think the category would be a great one. I thought Inception was ok. I didn’t hate it, nor do I hate Nolan and his work. But this could have been a much tighter, slicker film with characters that have at least some dimension. His Insomnia was far better, I thought. And I feel that Inception was handled very heavy-handedly. Just my opinion. I know I am in the minority.

  6. Phil says:

    I can’t wait to hear the acceptance speeches at the Magic Lantern Awards!

    I mostly agree with everything (except your views on Inception, but that’s another discussion!) but I feel you should give more credit to James Franco for his role. He definitely did more than ‘cut his arm off .’ The whole picture rides on his performance which is essentially a one man show for a good portion of the film and without a charismatic, empathetic lead driving the film, it would have been completely uninspiring.

    Should he win? That’s up for debate. But I do feel he’s worthy of his nom.

    • Point taken. He does hold up the film and he must by a character we can sympathize with. I think I was looking at who was snubbed (Duvall, Ciarian Hinds, even Norton, even Wahlberg in The Fighter) and was weighing them against Franco and Eisenberg.

  7. Aaron says:

    You didn’t like Blue Valentine? Explain yourself.

    • Haha. It was ok. Not a bad movie, but I reallt didn’t see what the hype was about. Gosling was very good and very genuine/empathetic. I didn’t like her character. She says, “I can’t take this anymore” but I am not sure what she can’t take…him being a good father? He displays no terrible habits except for having no ambition – he just wants her. Like Cusak in Say Anything. It was a decent examination into a relationship, but there have been so many more that left a stronger impact on me. But that is just me.

  8. Tracey says:

    Oh, poor Robert Duvall… I Love him! I hope he wins the prestigious Lantern Award!!! Who needs a crummy Oscar anyway…

    Best Child category — why has Oscar not come up with this?

    • I thought he was a lock – for a nomination at least. I wonder why he was left out, especially for Eisenberg or Franco. I wonder where he would put his Lantern, should he win…hmmm.

      I like the child actor category. It is fair and there are usually a handful of strong perfs.

      • Tracey says:

        Will there be auditions for the Lantern girl or do you have to know someone to get that gig? I would love to be the one who gets to escort the lucky recipient off stage. If Duvall wins I’d definitely ask him where his Lantern would go. And since Bridges is a lock, I would feel no shame whatsoever in asking if I could run my fingers through his awesome hair!

  9. Joel Burman says:

    Great idea for a kids actors category!

    • Yeah, right. I think it would be great. Won’t make it THAT much longer at all. Plus, I never liked the idea that a 10 year old can be measured up to someone with a wealth of experience. Let’s get on this!

  10. Amy Wood says:

    I agree on your comments about Hye-ja Kim and Noomi Rapace. I personally did not see Social Network but i just cant believe that it can be so damn good that it is getting all these noms like it is Citizen Kane or something.

    • It was very good…very entertaining and, like Up in the Air, makes for interesting social commentary on the times we live in. You should see it — it is good…but the year was a bit weak.

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