I don’t like writing about the Oscars. It’s not some hoity toity snobby thing. In general I actually love the Oscars. I mean, I hate them because they’re stupid and meaningless, but I love the game of it all, and I love the passions it sparks, and I love the whole circus surrounding them. I just don’t like writing about them. It feels too formal. It’s a set of awards I don’t actually take seriously, so why should I grant them the permanence of written prose? But this is the internet, and I have a movie blog, so it’s basically obligatory. ON WITH THE OSCAR BLOGGING!
So let’s talk about these nominations. You can find the full list here, at /Film.
I actually don’t have that much to say. This year is a weird one for the Oscars. There were tons of great films, and it was a given that there would be films left off the list that deserved attention. That said, the complete lack of support for the utterly amazing Take Shelter is disheartening. A Best Picture and Director nod would have been great, but at the very least Michael Shannon delivered one of the best lead performances I’ve seen in a film in years. Very disappointing to see him fall by the wayside.
Also, weirdly, I get the sense of a Spielberg snub of sorts. Oh sure, War Horse picked up a bunch of nominations, including for Best Picture, and Tintin snagged a nod for Best Original Score. But with a film as clearly Oscar bait-y as War Horse, it’s interesting that it couldn’t snag a Best Director nod. It’s especially weird given that War Horse is both a really great movie, but also very clearly directed by a guy who knows what he’s doing. On the Tintin front, it all comes down to whether the Academy was willing to agree that though it is a mocap film, it also counts as an animated film. Well, they didn’t agree. But this is definitely strange given the rules technically allowed it, and in the past Monster House was nominated for the award and Happy Feet won it. That Spielberg, even by name alone, couldn’t get them to throw some support in for Tintin is a sign of just how much the Academy was ignoring the old stalwart this year.
On the plus side, A Separation got some due recognition in not just the Foreign Film category, but the Best Original Screenplay category. Very richly deserved, and in my opinion a win for Screenplay would be amazing. It truly is a marvel of a script.
The big front runners this year are The Artist, Hugo and The Descendants. Weirdly, I still haven’t seen The Descendants, though I’m sure it’s very good. As for the other two? Well, I think they’re both very good, but also highly overrated, and I can’t help but feel like there’s a lot of navel-gazing involved in the support behind them. I’ll be quite straight about it. The Artist is about as undeserving a Best Picture winner as there could ever be. Right alongside Crash and Around the World in 80 Days. It will still probably win, though. Silly, but whatever.
One set of nomination everybody else seemed surprised and happy with were the Best Picture and Director nods for The Tree of Life. Deserving? You know what? Yes. The film didn’t make my Top 20 this year, but being a film with huge critical adoration, and considering the filmmaking achievement it represents, The Tree of Life is a worthy contender. It’s also not at all a surprise to me. A lot of people figured it wouldn’t make the cut, but they had to have been ignoring the fact that Malick and his film have a pretty solid base of fervent fans, even in Hollywood circles. I wasn’t positive about a Director nod, but getting one for Best Picture was a sure thing in my books.
Hmmmm, what else? Okay, fuck yeah, Gary Oldman! Only two nominations for Best Song? At least one of them is Man or Muppet! Oscar Nominee Jonah Hill. LOL! Film editing is an extremely weird award, and literally none of the films nominated (except The Descendants, which I can’t fairly comment on) are deserving of the recognition. No love for Harry Potter in the big categories? Damn. It’s kind of strange, but given the convergence of Best Picture/Best Director nominees, I guess my logical support must get thrown to The Tree of Life. Smart move, Academy, you bastards.
And there you have it! My first Obligatory Oscar Post of the season! I’m sure there will be at least a couple more. In the mean time, enjoy debating the results to high heaven, and remember, any talk about cinema is good talk. Point: Oscars.