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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Few Thoughts on the 83rd Oscar Nominations


Check out the full list of nominations here.

Thankfully, the Academy eschewed the Golden Globes and didn't nominate any songs from Burlesque, so we'll hopefully be spared listening to Cher's botox-y man voice at any point during the ceremony.

I'm bummed Carter Burwell's score for True Grit wasn't nominated. I thought it was a great throwback to the kind of music you'd hear in old school Westerns while still sounding like a contemporary film score. 

Toy Story 3 was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay; I'm curious from what it was adapted.

The Best Makeup nominations are a strange bunch this year, with all three films nominated for nothing else besides Best Makeup.  

In what is generally considered a strong year for animation, it's a shame there's still only three animated feature nominations. I'd have loved to see Tangled get nominated, and while I haven't seen it, I've heard that Despicable Me was pretty good too.

In Supporting Actress, it's a lock year, with Melissa Leo from The Fighter having all but won this award already. The interesting thing here was the nomination of Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit. In one of those cases where she was campaigned as both a leading and supporting actress (similar to Kate Winslet in The Reader a couple years back) no one was quite sure where she'd end up, if anywhere. Turns out she landed in the Supporting category, even though she more or less carries the film (I liked her performance even more than Jeff Bridges much more touted one). Not that it matters much, as both this category and the Leading Actress have strong front runners already (in the case of Leading Actress, it's Natalie Portman).

Speaking of Supporting Actress, this year's "huh?" award goes to Jackie Weaver's Best Supporting Actress nomination for Animal Kingdom, a film I've never heard of before.

Going into the nominations, four of the five Best Actor slots were considered locks, with the fifth somewhat up in the air (EW's Dave Karger was thinking Robert Duvall for Get Low, another film of which I've never heard). Turns out it went to Javier Bardem for Biutiful, a film which was also nominated for Best Foreign Language film and of which I've only heard because of Julia Roberts campaign for Bardem. I guess Julia is happy this morning, then. Also, in an interesting bit of trivia, this makes Bardem the first Spanish-language actor to be nominated.   

Fairly surprising to see the Coen Brothers snag Christopher Nolan's Best Director spot. While everyone expected True Grit to rack up plenty of nominations, the prevailing theory was that the cutdown from ten Best Picture nominees to five Best Director ones would cost the Coens and not Nolan the nomination.

The ten Best Picture nominations are largely as expected, the one minor surprise being Winter's Bone instead of The Town. Dave Karger is thinking that while The Town probably appeared on a lot of ballots, it was consistently ranked low enough on those ballots to get left off. 

As it has been all awards season, the main ticket comes down to The Social Network vs. The King's Speech. The former has been an awards juggernaut, sweeping up just about every award available in its march to Oscar while the later just won the Producers Guild Award (an Oscar predictor the last three years), leads the pack in total Oscar nominations and has the kind of upper class historical feel the Academy loves (and accomplished Oscar promoter Harvey Weinstein stumping for it).

9 comments:

  1. I recall hearing that the scores for True Grit, Black Swan and one other movie that I don't remember right now were not eligible for the Oscar because of something to do with having music from something that existed previously or something. Basically what I understood was that they weren't 100% original and couldn't win. Kind of lame if you ask me. As long as they don't borrow to heavily from whatever it was, in True Grit's case I assume it's the original score, I don't think there is anything wrong with using a little bit of whatever inspired you. Heck in the case of True Grit it seems appropriate and it sucks that they are getting penalized for it.

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  2. i LOVED Tangled, so it is a bummer that it was left off. Though glad to see How to Train your Dragon on there (and TS3 was a given). Despicable Me was cute, but not best animated picture good

    i didn't see nearly enough movies this year, apparently

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  3. I haven't seen the movie but from what I hear Hailee Steinfeld is in literally (or very nearly literally) every scene of True Grit.

    How does that make her a Supporting Actress? Who would the lead actress be? And isn't it silly that you can submit the same role as Lead Actress and Supporting Actress? I've always been annoyed by this.

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  4. @Phantomas: I recall hearing that the scores for True Grit, Black Swan and one other movie that I don't remember right now were not eligible for the Oscar because of something to do with having music from something that existed previously or something.

    Now that you mention it, I recall that too. With Black Swan I believe it had to do with the amount of music taken from "Swan Lake". Not sure what the deal was with True Grit (probably the original film's music, like you said).

    @Anne: Though glad to see How to Train your Dragon on there

    I haven't seen it but I've heard nothing but good things about. I'll definitely have to check it out before the Oscars.

    @Dr. Bitz: I haven't seen the movie but from what I hear Hailee Steinfeld is in literally (or very nearly literally) every scene of True Grit.

    I have seen it, and while I suppose it depends on what your definition of "scene" is, you've heard right (now that I think about, I guess the very end of the film, in which the character appears but she's played by somebody else is a scene in which she doesn't appear).

    Bottom line, yes, she is clearly the film's leading actress. As to why the Academy nominated her as a supporting actress regardless, I do not know. Maybe enough people wanted to nominate her, but liked five other leading actresses more, so they cast her as a supporting actress? Maybe a bunch of them think a film can only have ONE leading performance, male or female, and that was Jeff Bridges (which I'd argue with on both counts, but are at least defensible positions)?

    And isn't it silly that you can submit the same role as Lead Actress and Supporting Actress?

    Yes.

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  5. oh man, you gots to see How to Train Your Dragon. It's quite good. Otherwise Anne said everything i wanted to say.
    That, and i still want to see Black Swan and The King's Speech

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  6. oh, also, it's possible Hailee Steinfeld might play Kat in the Hunger Games movie. If so, that would be awesome

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  7. @Falen: That, and i still want to see Black Swan and The King's Speech

    I haven't seen Black Swan yet, but King's Speech was quite good.

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  8. Teebore: Toy Story 3 was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay; I'm curious from what it was adapted.

    From the first Toy Story movie. It's in the fine print of the category somewhere. So blame Joss Whedon. 8^)

    Other not-so-quick bits:

    Hailee Steinfeld was brilliant, and I said so in a post that I haven't been able to publish on my blog yet. Not that I'm alone in thinking so, obviously; she's rightly singled out all over the place by critics and her fellow actors. The choice to lobby for her in Supporting was purely a technical decision by prodcers, agents, whatever; voters could still have put her on a Leading ballot but apparently chose not too. I think that she belonged in the Leading category and in fact that she's formidable competition even against Natalie Portman and Annette Bening.

    I liked The Town a great deal, and would've included it over Black Swan for one. Winter's Bone features a brilliantly human, unshowy performance from Jennifer Lawrence, but the movie itself on the whole left me underwhelmed; not that it wasn't well-acted throughout — it just, to me, at once didn't have much to it and was kind-of confusing in parts, but the latter could've been my fault.

    Early on, like way back in the spring, The Kids Are All Right had all kinds of talk. Now it's The Social Network vs. The King's Speech, as you say, with the former winning every big award coming down the pike until recently, with articles talking about backlash, etc. I don't love the very end of Network, but I was turned off by the whole final act of Kids, and while Speech was very well done — very Best Picture in an old-school sense — I don't think it's comparable, inasmuch as we do compare these films, to The Social Network.

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  9. @Blam: From the first Toy Story movie. It's in the fine print of the category somewhere.

    Huh. I probably should have known that, but I didn't. Good to know.

    Hailee Steinfeld was brilliant

    Agreed.

    voters could still have put her on a Leading ballot but apparently chose not too.

    Not that it's even possible to find out, but I'd love to know what rationale the voters used to decide to nominate her as a supporting actress. I mean, I'm sure they have their reasons, I just can't think of any good ones.

    I liked The Town a great deal

    I've heard good things, but haven't seen it yet. It's in the queue, and though it only scored the Jeremy Renner nomination, I'm making it a point to include it in my "must see before Oscar night" movies.

    while Speech was very well done — very Best Picture in an old-school sense — I don't think it's comparable, inasmuch as we do compare these films, to The Social Network.

    Still haven't The Social Network (it's also in the queue) but in the time since I posted this, it's become an even tighter race between it and King's Speech.

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