So, the 84th Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and who does Oscar like this year? What trends can we find? Well, this year, Oscar is quite the navel gazer. He loves movies about movies with the likes of “Hugo”, “The Artist” and “My Week with Marilyn” doing very well indeed.
|Asa Butterfield and Ben Kingsley in "Hugo" which received the most Oscar nominations this year.|
“Hugo”, the story of a boy living in a Parisian train station who encounters silent film pioneer George Melies received 11 nominations, including Best Picture, the most of any film this year. One nod shy was “The Artist”, a silent film about silent movies. That crowd-pleasing favorite bagged 10.
Oscar continues to love the famous and saw fit to nominate Michelle Williams for her role as Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn”, and Kenneth Branagh for rendering Laurence Olivier in that same film, along with Meryl Streep for portraying Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady". And Oscar will always find love for actors who play against sexual type, including this year’s acting nominees Glenn Close and Janet McTeer who cross-dressed in “Albert Nobbs” and Christopher Plummer who played gay in “Beginners.”
|Demian Bichir pulled out an unexpected Best Actor nomination for "A Better Life"|
Once again though, Oscar is a bit passive/aggressive as he delivered a handful of mixed messages. Yes, Oscar likes big names like George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Both received multiple nods with Clooney recognized for his acting in “The Descendants” and screenwriting of “The Ides of March”, and Pitt getting nominated for acting in and producing “Moneyball.” But Oscar found room for newer, more unfamiliar names as well, including Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, the French stars of “The Artist”, Rooney Mara for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, newbies Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain from “The Help” and most surprisingly, Demian Bichir, an unexpected Best Actor nominee for his role in “A Better Life.”
|Melissa McCarthy snagged a Best Supporting Actress nomination for "Bridesmaids"|
And Oscar even nominated those that some feared might not make the cut like Gary Oldman for his understated work in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, Nick Nolte for his gruff work in “Warrior”, and Melissa McCarthy for stealing the show in “Bridesmaids.” He also called up Woody Allen and Terence Malick, both recognized for their sublime film direction last year.
But the nominations wouldn’t be complete if Oscar didn’t act just a little nuts too. Where was the nomination for Albert Brooks in “Drive”? The same with Michael Fassbender for “Shame”? (Perhaps they didn’t know which part to nominate him for. Ahem!) And as much praise and money as “The Help” reaped in 2011, its writer/director Tate Taylor wasn’t remembered for either accomplishment in today’s announcement. Shocking.
|Albert Brooks was overlooked for his supporting turn in "Drive"|
One thing that this year’s Oscar nominations prove is that the Best Song category continues to be silly and half-baked. Oscar could’ve nominated movie songs written by the likes of Madonna, Mary J. Blige or Elton John, but instead he could barely muster a paltry two nominations - one from “The Muppets” and one from the animated kids film “Rio.” I thought Glenn Close might even win this category with the lovely ballad she penned for “Albert Nobbs” but nope, Oscar stopped at two.
The Academy Awards will be given out Sunday, February 26th and knowing Oscar’s track record, it will be a mix of the expected, along with one or two real head-scratchers. Just like this year’s nominations. Just like every time Oscar makes his picks. After all, Oscar is nothing if not consistently inconsistent.