Academy nominations stay truer to form even than usual

In a funny way, the most surprising thing about this year’s batch of Academy Award nominations was how strongly they stayed true to Oscar’s long-held habits — even a Film Drunk could see it this year. At least in terms of sheer numbers of nominations, the Academy was most generous to a historical/inspirational costume drama from England over a somewhat edgier and less traditionally fashioned tale ripped from today’s business headlines.

academy-awards

The King’s Speech” led the nominations with 12, followed by “True Grit” with 10, and just eight for “The Social Network” — still very much the front-runner in my opinion — and “Inception.” Though Anne Thompson sees the momentum shifting in a more royal direction, I think it’s a big mistake this time around to read too much into sheer quantity. For example, I would be surprised to see a huge number of non-“technical” awards for “True Grit” or “Inception.” (Roger Deakins’ “True Grit” cinematography and the amazing effects of Christopher Nolan’s team being very likely winners).

Considering where most of the awards have gone so far, the only thing really going for “The King’s Speech” and against the previously prohibitive favorite, “The Social Network,” is aforementioned traditional Oscar genre prejudices and the inevitable backlash most highly acclaimed and award winnings films get. However, outside of infantile attention-hog critic Armond White, I actually haven’t noticed a huge anti-“Network” backlash though there were some off-target feminist complaints. (A movie about an almost literal boys’ club is going to depict a boys’ club atmosphere.) In any case, the rather enormous and still ongoing on- and off-line backlashes against “American Beauty,” “Crash” and “Titanic” clearly didn’t hurt those films’ Oscar prospects one bit.

What we do see this year is a general tendency, Hailee Steinfeld’s terrific and hugely popular performance notwithstanding, not to give too many nominations to actors who are under-30 — unless they are leading men. And so James Franco and Jessie Eisenberg were both nominated for Best Actor while the quietly remarkable work of Andrew Garfield was ignored in the “supporting” category, though he was arguably almost as much a lead as Eisenberg. (I guess there was never much shot for a surprise nomination for the flashier work of either Justin Timberlake or Armie Hammer.)

Though I dislike the term “snubs” — as if any movie has any particular right to a nomination from any given body in this hugely subjective and inherently unfair game — there were some interesting omissions. “The Town” got a supporting actor nod for Jeremy Renner, taking the slot that might have gone to a “Social Network” actor. That was it.

Also, I’m wondering if there was a prejudice against over-50 and/or less glamorous characters and actors this year. I’m personally a bit disappointed that Lesley Manville wasn’t nominated for “Another Year,” though not really surprised. (Manville looks fantastic in person, but her character gets progressively more bedraggled in the course of the film.)

Lesley Manville in As per Anne Thompson, there was some silly arguing that Manville should have been in the supporting category. Considering Oscar’s history in this regards, it’s a massively silly argument and I won’t bore you examples but suffice it to say her character dominates the film, for better or worse. Also, as I’ve said repeatedly, it’s not unlikely that some people blamed her for playing someone who was as irritating as she is pitiable only too well. However, the Mike Leigh film generated yet another in a long list of screenplay Oscar nominations for the auteur (a very neat trick by Leigh, as his films are not “written” in the usual sense of the word).

“Blue Valentine” and “Winter’s Bone” seem to be this year’s two token indies. Speaking of unglamorous actors, Paul Giamatti was not nominated for his Golden Globe award-winning turn in “Barney’s Version.” On the other hand, Melissa Leo did get a well-deserved nod for her rather amazing (more amazing if you know her from elsewhere) work in “The Fighter,” a contender with six nominations.

The somewhat arty, hand-drawn, and more adult-oriented animated entry from Belgium, “The Illusionist,” was a wild-card nominee in the animation category over some very popular CGI animated comedies. However, if “Toy Story 3” doesn’t win, I’ll eat Woody’s hat.

Another non-surprise surprise was the exclusion of this year’s most popular and one of its most acclaimed documentaries from that category. Anne Thompson mentions that “Waiting for Superman” director Davis Guggenheim has been under some fire for over-simplifying certain aspects of his story — a charge that seems to be leveled against almost every documentary to achieve any level of success. This happens every year with documentaries, it seems.

All in all, this is looking like one interesting and fun Oscar race. Only now I really have to see “127 Hours” — along with all the Oscar pools, I should probably be running one myself on how little liquor bottles it’ll take me to get through the whole arm-sawing scene.

Things are looking up for James Franco

In case you haven’t seen them elsewhere, the complete list of nominations is below.

BEST PICTURE
127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)
An Hours Production Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
A Protozoa and Phoenix Pictures Production Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
INCEPTION (Warner Bros)
A Warner Bros. UK Services Production Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
A Relativity Media Production David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
An Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision and Gilbert Films Production Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co)
A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
A Columbia Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
A Pixar Production Darla K. Anderson, Producer
TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
A Paramount Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
A Winter’s Bone Production Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

BEST ACTOR
JEFF BRIDGES – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
JAVIER BARDEM – BIUTIFUL (Roadside Attractions)
JESSE EISENBERG – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
COLIN FIRTH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
JAMES FRANCO – 127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)

BEST ACTRESS
ANNETTE BENING – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
NICOLE KIDMAN – RABBIT HOLE (Lionsgate)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE – WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
NATALIE PORTMAN – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS – BLUE VALENTINE (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
CHRISTIAN BALE – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
JOHN HAWKES – WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
JEREMY RENNER – THE TOWN (Warner Bros)
MARK RUFFALO – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
GEOFFREY RUSH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
AMY ADAMS – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
MELISSA LEO – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
HAILEE STEINFELD – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
JACKI WEAVER – ANIMAL KINGDOM (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST ANIMATED PICTURE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (DreamWorks Animation)
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
THE ILLUSIONIST (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST DIRECTOR
DARREN ARONOFSKY – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
DAVID FINCHER – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
TOM HOOPER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co.)
JOEL AND ETHAN COEN – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
DAVID O. RUSSELL – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
ANOTHER YEAR, Mike Leigh (Sony Pictures Classics)
THE FIGHTER, Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Paramount)
INCEPTION, Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros)
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (Focus Features)
THE KING’S SPEECH, David Seidler (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 HOURS, Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (Fox Searchlight)
TOY STORY 3, Michael Arndt, Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich (Walt Disney)
THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Aaron Sorkin (Sony Pictures)
WINTER’S BONE, Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (Roadside Attractions)
TRUE GRIT, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Paramount)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Algeria, Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) (Cohen Media Group) – A Tassili Films Production
Canada, Incendies (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Micro-Scope Production
Denmark, In a Better World (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Zentropa Production
Greece, Dogtooth (Kino International) – A Boo Production
Mexico, Biutiful (Roadside Attractions) – A Menage Atroz, Mod Producciones and Ikiru Films Production

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) – Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) – Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) – Roger Deakins

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Exit Through The Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) A Paranoid Pictures Production Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
Gasland – A Gasland Production Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Representational Pictures Production Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) – An Outpost Films Production Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
Waste Land (Arthouse Films) – An Almega Projects Production Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Killing In The Name – A Moxie Firecracker Films Production Nominees to be determined
Poster Girl – A Portrayal Films Production Nominees to be determined
Strangers No More – A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
Sun Come Up – A Sun Come Up Production Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
The Warriors Of Qiugang – A Thomas Lennon Films Production Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter (Paramount) Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter (Warner Bros) – Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
Inception (Warner Bros) – Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) – Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION
Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Production Design: Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) – Production Design: Stuart Craig, Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
Inception (Warner Bros) – Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Production Design: Eve Stewart, Set Decoration: Judy Farr
True Grit (Paramount) – Production Design: Jess Gonchor, Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) – Antonella Cannarozzi
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (Miramax) – Sandy Powell
True Grit (Paramount) – Mary Zophres

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
Barney’s Version (Sony Pictures Classics) Adrien Morot
The Way Back (Newmarket Films/Wrekin Hill Entertainment/Image Entertainment) Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) – John Powell
Inception (Warner Bros.) – Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) – A.R. Rahman
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Coming Home” from Country Strong (Sony Pictures/Screen Gems) – Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from Tangled (Walt Disney) – Music by Alan Menken, Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) – Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) – Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Day & Night (Walt Disney) – A Pixar Animation Studios Production Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo – A Magic Light Pictures Production Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let’s Pollute – A Geefwee Boedoe Production Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) – A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) – A Sacrebleu Production Bastien Dubois

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
The Confession (National Film and Television School) – A National Film and Television School Production – Tanel Toom
The Crush (Network Ireland Television) – A Purdy Pictures Production – Michael Creagh
God Of Love – A Luke Matheny Production – Luke Matheny
Na Wewe (Premium Films) – A CUT! Production Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143 – A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
Inception (Warner Bros) – Richard King
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) – Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney) – Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
True Grit (Paramount) – Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
Unstoppable (20th Century Fox) – Mark P. Stoeckinger

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Inception (Warner Bros) – Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
Salt (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
True Grit (Paramount) – Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

  

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