Well, that was certainly interesting. Plenty of nominations no one saw coming along with some snubs no one would have guessed. I correctly predicted just two categories: Best Actress and Best Visual Effects. I went four for five in eight others (Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Animated Feature, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature and Cinematography). Just like last year, we’ll look at the year’s most dumbfounding snubs as well as the most welcome nominations.
Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious):
1. Rian Johnson – Best Original Screenplay for Looper
I genuinely thought it would be The Master that would steal the spot of the year’s most original screenplay, but it was John Gatins’ Flight that got the glory. To me, it’s the year’s biggest snub. Others will put my second choice as their biggest upset.
2. Ben Affleck – Best Director for Argo
And so the jokes have continued all morning: “Academy to Ben: Argo f— yourself.” I will not be surprised if he pulls a Ron Howard and wins the DGA. I may not have had him on my own Best Director list, but then again, only one of my five favorite directors (David O. Russell) is nominated this year. Argo figure.
3. Tom Tykwer, Reinhold Hall and Johnny Klimek – Best Original Score for Cloud Atlas
I knew any love for this movie was a long shot, but this was its best hope. Oh, to be an unheralded masterpiece.
4. Jack Black – Best Actor for Bernie
This is a tough category every year. But it was filled with previous nominees doing exceptional work, yet there was no love for an actor giving the performance of his career.
5. Any below-the-line nominations for The Master
The acting is understandably and obviously great, but it was the technical aspects of Paul Thomas Anderson’s difficult picture that really stood out to me. Mihai Malaimare’s cinematography, Jonny Greenwood’s music, Leslie Jones and Peter McNulty’s film editing, not to mention the gorgeous production design. But all were snubbed.
6. Richard Linklater & Skip Hollandsworth – Best Adapted Screenplay for Bernie
Maybe them Hollyweirdos just don’t understand us Southern folk. Or the writers branch was just especially lazy this year.
7. The Intouchables for Best Foreign Language Film
Hey committee: How are you gonna snub one of the highest grossing movies of all-time worldwide, and a legitimate arthouse sensation in the U.S. for the same ol’ stuff? Yeesh.
8. Stephen Chbosky – Best Adapted Screenplay for The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This movie touched a lot of people, but apparently not enough people. Maybe Summit should have used their Hunger Games and Twilight money to push even harder for this?
9. Wreck-it Ralph for Best Sound Mixing
It was always a long shot, but more than any recent animated feature, its sound is so key to its success. I could have taken one less Argo or Lincoln nomination.
10. Any song nominations for Django Unchained
I thought it would be the actors that would cancel each other out, but apparently the original songs did the unfortunate trick. Any chance to send love to Ennio Morricone is a chance worth taking. Also, “100 Black Coffins” is much better than the previous rap winner (Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp”).
Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order)
1. Prometheus nominated for Best Visual Effects
Frankly, a snub this size would have been to big to ignore. You can debate about the quality of the film all you like (I still love it), but you can’t debate the magnificence of its visual effects. A production design, sound editing or original score nod would have been nice, but this was its biggest triumph.
2. Eiko Ishioka nominated for Best Costume Design
Mirror Mirror is totally disposable, but the costumes by the late winner (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) are breathtaking. I hope she pulls the posthumous win.
3. Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” nominated for Best Animated Short
This was a total delight, and the only good part of seeing Ice Age: Continental Drift. This nomination takes some of the sting out of The Simpsons Movie losing its spot to Surf’s Up in 2008. (Really, this happened.)
4. Tom Hooper not nominated for Best Director, Danny Cohen not nominated for Best Cinematography
Not so fast, Les Misérables! Your obscenely frequent close-ups will not be honored. Look down, indeed.
5. Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers nominated for Best Film Editing, David O. Russell nominated for Best Director, Jacki Weaver nominated for Best Supporting Actress
I’m most immediately thrilled at Weaver’s nomination. She was an integral part of Silver Linings Playbook’s ensemble and deserved recognition along with her three nominated co-stars. But the editing and directing nods are a real coup for a movie most people had written off. I still think Lincoln takes the gold, but this keep’s the year’s best movie in the running a little while longer.