This morning, the Oscar nominations were announced. Every year, I anxiously wait for this day so I can memorize, study, and analyze all my favorite categories. I screech when I see surprising inclusions and grumble about the snubs. Around this time, I put most other movie watching on hold to focus more energy on the upcoming ceremony and the history of movie’s biggest night. 2013 will be no different. But for the first time, I’m going to give a breakdown of the Oscars in my own special way.
My favorite surprise this year was Hugh Jackman achieving his first nomination as Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables.” It’s surprising he hasn’t been nominated before, but looking at all action films on his resume, this is his first attempt at really stretching himself, and it shows. Though Daniel Day-Lewis is almost a lock for the Best Actor statue, the whole category is filled with deserving men. His nomination knocked Richard Gere’s “Arbitage” from the category, but Gere will no doubt find another chance in the near future.
I’m ecstatic that “Silver Linings Playbook” did so well, though I’m a bit surprised Jacki Weaver was nominated. I thought her role was too small to resonate, but I guess I was wrong. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are flawless and though I think it’s unlikely they'll win, I’m rooting for them. This is the first film since “Million Dollar Baby” to be nominated for the big five (Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Picture, Director). The last movie to sweep all five was “Silence of the Lambs” in 1991, with “American Beauty” losing the fifth one to Hilary Swank (Annette Bening was nominated for Best Actress alongside Swank). It’s a long shot, but if ever a movie deserves the big five, it’s “Silver Linings Playbook.”
“Argo” was nominated seven times, but unfortunately a Director nomination for Ben Affleck and Supporting Actor nom for John Goodman seemed out of the cards. In a climate where movies come and go quickly, it’s refreshing to see the film's word-of-mouth success translate to award appreciation.
The Supporting Actress and Actress categories are anything except dull. I doubt anyone will be able to find a clear winner going into the ceremony. Something tells me Naomi Watts may win for “The Impossible,” but it’s too soon to tell. I’m rooting for Jennifer Lawrence or Watts for Best Actress and Helen Hunt for Supporting Actress for her flawless role in “The Sessions.”
The Supporting Actor is also a crowded race. Each nominee is a previous winner, though I’m secretly hoping De Niro gets the statue this time around. De Niro has won previously for “Raging Bull” and “The Godfather Part II.” The other nominees include: Alan Arkin (won in same category for “Little Miss Sunshine”), Tommy Lee Jones (“The Fugitive”), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (“Capote”), Christoph Waltz (“Inglorious Basterds”).
Speaking of Waltz, it’s nice to see him in another Tarantino role. Though “Django Unchained” didn’t get a director nod or a nomination for either Jamie Foxx or Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s always refreshing to see Tarantino’s work recognized at the Oscars.
“Anna Karenina,” despite it being it being grossly lethargic, was rightfully acknowledged for its sets and costumes. It was the sets and production design that kept me from walking out when I saw the film.
Now, I have yet to see many of the films with multiple nominees, to include juggernaut “Lincoln,” acting favorite “The Master,” the charming “The Beast of the Southern Wild,” and the welcome addition of Austria’s “Amour.” In years past, when I was in the military or in college and had a great deal more time to afford to such pursuits, I would seek out and watch every nominated film I could. The last few years however, I’ve been wise to see most films long before the nominations are announced. With time being a more precious commodity for me these last few months, many films haven’t gotten to me. I have no doubt “Lincoln” is a great film and that Daniel Day-Lewis does a great job, but I don't really want to see it, regardless of its strong caliber. I won't be able to see everything that is nominated, so I'm forced to be selective.
Why did “Cloud Atlas” get nothing? The make-up, the script, the score, and the cinematography all deserved recognition. But the film was shut out completely. So was Adrien Brody’s performance for “Detachment” and the editing and cinematography of “Killer Joe.” I really wanted John Goodman to finally get a nod for “Argo,” but no such luck. Next year John; I’m rooting for you.
Come Oscar night, I have no doubt my girlfriend and I will have our ballots watching Seth McFarlane host the 85th Academy Awards. With a host like McFarlane, it’ll be more interesting to watch him than the actual awards. I’m getting excited just thinking about it.
The full list of nominees can be found here.