Their Oscar Noms
The assumption has always been, my assumption has always been, that the increase from 5 to 10 best picture candidates is the direct result of low ratings, which is the direct result of the increasing divide between box office and the Academy, but an argument could be made that the problem is less the Academy's unpopularity (as measured by box office) than its predictability (as measured by Hollywood insiders).
I thought of this as Tom Sherak, president of the Academy, and Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews impersonator extraordinaire, announced the nominees this morning at 5:40-ish a.m., Pacific coast (my coast) time. Actor: Bridges, Clooney, Firth, Freeman, Renner. Actress: Bullock, Mirren, Mulligan, Sidibe, Streep. Director: Bigelow, Cameron, Daniels, Tarantino, Reitman. It's everyone that everyone has been predicting. So how nice to hear, you know, “A Serious Man” and “Up” nominated for best picture. On the other hand, how awful to hear “The Blind Side” and “District 9” nominated for best picture.
There were some surprises in the other categories. Maggie G. taking away Julianne Moore's spot in the best supporting actress category. Matt Damon actually getting nom'ed for “Invictus,” and Tucci actually getting nom'ed for “Lovely Bones.” Damon's nom, for his duller performance in “Invictus” rather than his much more fun performance in “The Informant!,” is reminiscent of last year, when Brad Pitt got nom'ed for his duller performance in that Netflix favorite, “Benjamin Button,” while being ignored for his standout comic turn in “Burn After Reading.” Plus ca change.
The big question about the 10 nominees (which, again, I'm agin), will be whether the sheer number of nominees will make the final winner harder to predict. Somehow I doubt it. My early picks for March 7:
- Picture: “Avatar”
- Director: Katherine Bigelow
- Actor: Bridges
- Actress: Bullock
- Supporting Actor: Waltz
- Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique
- Original Screenplay: “Inglourious Basterds”
- Adapted Screenplay: “Up in the Air”
- Foreign Language: “The White Ribbon”
- Animated: “Up”
Surprises shouldn't matter, of course. Quality should matter. At the same time, Hollywood, if anyone, knows that once you stop surprising, people stop showing up.
Full list of nominees here.
ADDENDUM: After looking over my own choices from yesterday, the big dark-horse disappontments, those actors that actually had a chance in hell of getting nom'ed, include supporting actors Alfred Molina in “An Education” and Christian McKay in “Orson Welles and Me” (once again, the Academy gives Orson Welles the shaft), and Cotillard getting no love for “Public Enemies.” (But if Ms. Cotillard needs love, or just wants to help me with my French, I'm easy to find.)
Screenplays were interesting. I agreed with the Academy on four of the five for Original (I chose no-chance-in-hell “Funny People” over haven't-seen-yet “The Messenger”), while we agreed on only one of the five in Adapated (“Up in the Air”). I was on the fence for “An Education” anyway, and “In the Loop” is inspired for a change. But I'm not a big “Precious” fan; and “District 9” is way, way overrated, for all of the reasons I stated back in August. How much harder to adapt “Where the Wild Things Are,” which is, in book form...15 pages? Twenty? And kids' pages? And where was “Wild Things”? I picked it in six of my nine categories. The Academy picked it in zero of theirs. I guess, in the end, that's not much of a surprise, either.
Zero noms? Time to roar our terrible roars and gnash our terrible teeth.