85th Academy Award Nominations: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Well you have no doubt seen the Oscar nominations by now (if you have not they are here: http://oscar.go.com/nominees?cid=AMPAS_oscarnominees) so now it's time to go over the good and not-so-good of those nominations...

The Good

-Beasts of the Southern Wild scored 4 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Lead Actress.  While this is a film I admired a lot more than I actually loved, it is a great sign that the Academy is rewarding such a small film that came from a group of clearly talented people.

-Joaquin Phoenix made it!  The performance of the year was also deservingly joined by fellow cast-mates Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

-The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey scored 3 nominations and ended up being one of the nomination leaders in terms of blockbusters.  While it didn't get anywhere close to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in terms of nominations it still can now say that it is carrying on the legacy of that trilogy with the Oscars.

-After the Kathryn Bigelow snub (more on that later), I got really worried that one of the best performances of the year from one of the brightest stars of the future would follow suit.  Luckily, Jessica Chastain scored her 2nd nomination in as many years as the stoic Maya.

-Best Supporting Actor was setting up to be a very boring category with 4 previous winners and the possibility of either Javier Bardem (a performance that did nothing other than jump on the back of Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker) or Leonardo DiCaprio (a solid performance but not even remotely close to being the best performance in his film) getting the last spot.  Luckily, Christoph Waltz (who is also a previous winner but gave such an exciting performance in Django Unchained) stormed in to get that last spot.

The Bad

-There is little wrong with Silver Linings Playbook.  It's a good movie, but that's all it is.  It's good in every single fashion while never at any point striving to be great.  So it is a little disheartening to see it as one of the nomination leaders when so many more ambitious efforts were in contention.

-How did the most beautifully stunning film of the year (The Master) not make it into Best Cinematography?

-While The Dark Knight Rises certainly wasn't on the same level of quality as its predecessors, it is still ridiculous that it didn't receive any Oscar nominations.  The film's score and sound were certainly worthy of consideration (and Tom Hardy's performance as Bane but that was never in contention).

-Despite all of the love Beasts of the Southern Wild received in the top categories it didn't get a nomination in its most memorable component: it's score.

The Ugly

-If it weren't for one thing this would have been a very good field of Oscar nominations.  However, it is very hard to overlook the Best Director category.  It would be an understatement to call it a mess.  The 2 best directorial achievements of the year (Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Ben Affleck for Argo) were snubbed despite being widely considered frontrunners in the category.  Michael Haneke's worthiness in this category is an argument I don't want to get into but you can find my very brief thoughts on the matter here (http://www.lordofthefilms.net/2012/12/amour-review.html).  Which brings me to David O. Russell (who also found himself in the middle of the also extremely notorious 2011 Best Director Oscar nomination field).  It is a shame that the Academy is rewarding a solid directorial effort with absolutely no ambition in slight of a much more thematically and technically impressive directorial effort from Kathryn Bigelow (that is also not even mentioning that Bigelow has created her own genre with Zero Dark Thirty with its journalistic endeavors).  Meanwhile, Ben Affleck was able to handle a much bigger ensemble and handled the tougher elements of his film much better than Russell (who threw out his exploration of mental problems in favor of your typical romantic comedy tropes midway through his film).

Predictions-wise I went 88 for 122 (72.1%) in total and 35 for 44 in the big 8 categories (79.5%).

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