Nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning. These nominations have become more and more predictable over the years but there were some surprises among the bunch this time around.
For the last few years, the Best Picture category has allowed between 5 and 10 nominees depending on the number of votes each movie gets. This year there are 9 nominees which are Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. The surprises there (which have no chance of winning) are Amour which is a French-language film and Beasts of the Southern Wild which follows a 6 year-old girl growing up in post-Katrina New Orleans. It's also nice to see Django Unchained in the running which had a possibility of getting nominated but was never considered a lock.
History has been made as the youngest Best Actress nominee ever will be facing off against the oldest Best Actress nominee ever. Quvenzhane Wallis of Beasts of the Southern Wild who is now 9 years old is up against 85 year-old Emmanuelle Riva of Amour. Leonardo DiCaprio got dissed by the Academy by not getting nominated for Django Unchained in the supporting actor category. That's probably because they nominated Alan Arkin for Argo instead. Arkin plays basically the same character that he plays in almost all his movies and did not deserve the nomination. He already won for his similar role in Little Miss Sunshine. The biggest snub, however, occurred in the Best Director category. Not only was Ben Affleck considered a lock for directing Argo, he was pretty much the front-runner along with Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) to win. Now you can bet that Spielberg will win easily. He and Ang Lee (Life of Pi) were the only directors expected to get nominated who actually did; the rest were surprises.
There is usually one film which tends to dominate at the awards and this year it will be Lincoln which led the field with 11 nominations, followed by Life of Pi with 10. But you can expect Lincoln to come out on top as it's the typical Oscar-baiting film that the Academy loves. It's long, historical, and features many well-established actors. Zero Dark Thirty, about the capture of Osama bin Laden, was expected to be its strongest competitor but it didn't get half as many nominations and its director didn't even get nominated either. Fortunately, the much more deserving Silver Linings Playbook fared better with 8 nominations. And I'm happy to report that The Dark Knight Rises was completely shut out. Seth MacFarlane (of Family Guy fame) received a nomination for writing the song to Ted and will be hosting the event on February 24. He'll certainly bring some much needed humor to the ceremony.