The 84th Academy Award Nominations

Yesterday the 84th annual Academy Award nominations were announced. For me the only award show that truly matters is the Cannes Film Festival as it represents the finest in film selected from around the world. Still, you can’t deny the Academy Awards hold a much more prestige for any actor or film. No one remembers who won the Palme ‘d or in any year but 1994 yet can usually name past Best Picture winners. Winning the Oscar puts you in an elite status which can either make or break your career. The Oscars are kind of a big deal.

My thoughts on this years nominations? There’s plenty I expected: War Horse, Hugo, The Help, The Artist, The Descendants. Acting noms for Clooney, Pitt, Streep, Plummer. I’m extremely impressed by the inclusion of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris in the best picture slot. First off I thought the split-down-the-middle audience and critical reaction to Tree of Life would rule out the Oscars taking a chance on Malick and at most I figured Woody Allen’s superb Midnight in Paris would get a screenplay nomination. They both also recieved Directing nominations which is perfect because they’ve both displayed one of the most fresh and innovative films of their long careers.

The surprises I’m most grateful for are Jonah Hill’s Supporting Actor nom for Moneyball and Melissa McCarthy’s Best Supporting Actress nom for Bridesmaids. Hill really showed he could hold his own against the biggest of stars (Brad Pitt of all people) in Moneyball and I’ve been a fan of McCarthy since she played Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls. They have zero chance of actually winning but, like seeing Jesse Eisenberg getting nominated for Social Network, it just makes me proud.

Now the bad news. Nothing for Michael Fassbender (Shame, Jane Eyre, A Dangerous Method, X-Men First Class) or Ryan Gosling (Drive, Ides of March, Crazy Stupid Love). No The Adventures of Tintin for Best Animated Feature (What Spielberg’s mo-cap not good enough for you Oscars? ). No Albert Brooks for Drive (which I was certain was a lock since September). In fact hardly any mention of Drive at all minus a pathetic sound editing nomination. I’m glad Rooney Mara and cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth received noms for their work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The critical backlash of that movie I will never understand. The man creates an atmospheric, faithful adaptation of a beloved book and critics give him hell for not taking more liberties?

The best part of this year’s nominations for me has to be Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumolo’s Best Original Screenplay nomination for the miracle comedy Bridesmaids. I intend to get into this movie more in depth as I get closer to my best of the year list but I will say this is a comedy I’ve waited for for a good five years. The first time I saw Knocked Up in 2007 and witnessed Leslie Mann and Kristen Wiig in action I thought “these women are funnier than 2/3rds of the male comedy acts out there.”

For your amusement I’ve posted the notorious “dress-fitting scene” from Bridesmaids in which Melissa McCarthy craps in a sink and onto stardom in what is now offically an Oscar nominated performance.

-John

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