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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What do you think about the Oscar nominations?

Thoughts while listening to the announcement of the nominations:

• Penelope Cruz in Nine?! Matt Damon in Invictus?! Seriously?

• No surprises in the Best Actor, Best Actress, or Best Director categories.

• Looks like I’m gonna have to review The Messenger and The Last Station.

District 9 love! In the Loop love! I love it!

The Blind Side, Best Picture? WTF?

Read the complete list of nominees at Oscars.com.

What do you think about the Oscar nominations?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • Pausner

    I realize it’s a crap shoot anyway, but I’m a little miffed that Moon got nothing. Of course, I haven’t seen the lion’s share of the movies listed.

  • funWithHeadlines

    I keep reading that Sandra Bullock is a near-lock to win Best Actress (even Ebert tweeted this). OK, here’s my objection (and it applies to your WTF to The Blind Side being nominated for Best Picture too):

    When An Education came out, reviewers said Carey Mulligan gave an Oscar-worthy performance. They said this as the movie came out, before anyone had an idea how well the movie would do.

    When Julie & Julia came out, reviewers said Meryl Streep gave an Oscar-worthy performance. They said this as the movie came out, before anyone had an idea how well the movie would do.

    When The Blind Side came out, I don’t recall a single review saying that Sandra Bullock gave an Oscar-worthy performance. They liked her, and they liked the movie, but nobody raved about anything being Oscar-worthy. It was only after it made $200M that suddenly the Oscar talk started.

    So can we all admit that any Oscar wins for this movie is due to the popularity factor and not due to being the best acting of the year (over those other actresses)? If everyone would admit that, it’s cool, for we all know the Oscars are just a big popularity contest. But I’m getting a little tired of this revisionist history that only took hold after everyone’s necks got whiplash from doing a double-take about how much money this movie took in.

  • Ide Cyan

    I’m really pleased that The Hurt Locker got nine nominations. (But I wish there’d been some recognition for the supporting actors.)

    How many women are among the Best Screenplay nominees? I only recognised one sharing credit for District 9.

  • Alli

    funwithHeadlines, actually there were people suggesting she gave an Oscar performance early, and then several critics in response said the praise was over-the-top.

    Best Supporting actress: where did Maggie Gyllenhaal come from? Her name hasn’t been mentioned at all this awards season. I haven’t seen Crazy Heart, so I can’t comment on her performance, but I would have liked to have seen either Diane Kruger or Melanie Laurent nominated for Inglorious Basterds.

    Also, Half-Blood Prince was nominated for an Oscar in Cinematography, which I am very happy about. Delbonnel is incredible.

  • funWithHeadlines

    Alli, thanks. I went to Rotten Tomatoes for The Blind Side, clicked on Top Critics (58% fresh for the movie itself), and did manage to find one review that said Bullock gave an Oscar-worthy performance (Dallas Morning News). But scanning those reviews makes a mockery of the nomination of this picture.

    I’m telling you, there is revisionist history in the making here. There may have been a few who thought it was Oscar-worthy when the flick first came out, but the vast majority didn’t think so until the last month or so. If this movie had grossed $25M before fading, no one would have suggested any awards for anyone. It’s the money overall that is doing it.

  • judy

    I am saddened that Moon did not get any mention. The comments above about The Blind Side ring very true. If it had not done so much business would it have gotten any nominations? probably not. I hate the fact that how much money a movie makes figures into this at all. We all know it does of course. One of my favorite movies of the year was The Soloist. It did not do good business so it got no nominations. But I think the acting in that movie was surely as good as the acting in say…Invictus. I am happy that An Education got nominated. I guess I need to see District 9 and The Messenger. Still have not seen them. Well my general reaction is mixed. Happy for some nominations… and some…meh.

  • funWithHeadlines

    Let me hasten to add that I like Sandra Bullock, and if she wins I’ll be happy for her. This view I have has nothing to do with the movie or her performance. I happen to think Streep or Mulligan deserve it, but I know this is more of a popularity contest than anything, and if Bullock can bring in the business, more power to her. I really am delighted for her personally.

    My irritation is with hypocrisy and dishonesty. If you pan a movie when it comes out, or yawn it off at the time, but then when it makes $200M you suddenly call it Oscar-worthy, that irritates me. I hate revisionist history. Be honest about why you are changing your tunes. MaryAnn has the honesty to go “WTF?” about the picture being nominated, but that’s because she gave it a middling “wait for DVD” rating when it came out. She’s being consistent, and I like that.

    So it has nothing to do with being irritated at Bullock or the movie, and everything to do with being irritated at inconsistent critics who are following the crowd.

  • Alli

    funwithHeadlines, yeah I agree with you regarding the Blind Side’s nomination for best film. It’s a happy story about race that made lots of money. Yay! I also like Sandra Bullock too (I watched The Proposal the other day, and I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I really liked it). Also, it’s kind of funny that Bullock was also nominated for a Razzie for All About Steve in the same year she was nominated for an Oscar.

    So now that the nominees are out for best picture, are you guys glad that there are 10 nominees? I’m more interested in seeing how this affects next year considering all the huge productions coming out.

  • pjowens75

    Please remember that it isn’t only critics who make the nominations. If it were, both MOON and Sam Rockwell would be nominated. I’m as p****d off as anyone about THE BLIND SIDE nomination. I guess the Oscars just wouldn’t be the same without the traditional inspirational true story of a pro sports millionaire.

  • markyd

    Yeah, my first thought was “What the hell is The Blind Side doing on an oscar nominations list?”
    Granted, I haven’t actually seen the movie, but come ON.
    Actually, I haven’t seen a LOT of these movies. Several are in my queue, though, so hopefully I’ll see them soon.

  • musiclover

    To bring up a totally different topic, as a music score lover, I was VERY disappointed that Hans Zimmer scored a nomination for “Sherlock Holmes”. Why, you ask? Isn’t Hans Zimmer a solid, establish composer? Wasn’t the music for “Sherlock Holmes” fun, didn’t it appropriately add to the atmosphere of the movie? Well, yes, and don’t get me wrong, I do like the music to Sherlock Holmes (I even own the album . . .)
    The problem here is that this nomination shows just how little the Oscars know (or care) about the music writing process. Hans Zimmer did not write that score. Lome Balfe did. I’m sure most people here haven’t ever heard of Lome Balfe, who is one of Zimmer’s underlings. Zimmer hasn’t written a complete score in years. To nominate Hans Zimmer for “writing” the score to Sherlock Holmes is laughable, and shows a complete misunderstanding of the film music industry. True, Hans Zimmer was the man who was paid of the score,and he did come up with the ideas along which the score was written, but if he wins and gets an award for work he didn’t do (or at least that he didn’t do alone – I mean, even the credits to Sherlock Holmes mention Lome Balfe – no mention of him in the nomination!) then I will be very sad indeed. Here’s hoping Michael Giacchino pulls out a win for his fantastic, innovative “Up” score.

  • Althea

    Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach in Watchmen. This is overlooked for Matt Damon? Grrrr.

  • CriticWannaBe

    RE BLIND SIDE: I enjoyed this movie much more than I expected, yet surprised to see it nominated as I feel that Ms Bullock’s performance is the true drawing card for this movie. I believe that the increased number of slots for Best Picture this year has a great deal to do with its inclusion and would expect it to score very low w/Academy voters relative to the other nominees come voting time.

    I don’t know that I take issue w/any sort of revisionist history here. Only time can tell (even if only a few weeks later), and a great many movies that are considered established classics now were not critical and/or financial successes when they were first released (movies like THE WIZARD OF OZ, THE SEARCHERS, and VERTIGO come to mind). A movie makes money because people want to see it and, frankly, I like it when the audience’s opinion is taken into account at Oscar time. Most of us may not be critics per se (and most of the Academy is indeed not), but we’re not dummies either. High-tech blockbusters aside, when a character-driven picture like THE BLIND SIDE succeeds at the box office, evidently it has touched some sort of nerve w/the moviegoing public and cannot be ignored that easily. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (a movie I adore and for the right reasons) winning Best Picture is a perfect example of this.

    Pursuant to this, the Oscars, (as with any other awards), are really about zeitgeist. I’ve always felt that the Academy should term their awards more along the lines of “Picture of the Year”, “Actress of the Year” etc rather than using absolute qualifications like “Best”. The judgement of the actual quality of the movie/performance is unavoidably subjective that the determination of what is the “best” seems futile: way too many variables. It’s harder to argue with the way a movie or performance touches a mass audience in a memorable way that becomes iconic. TITANIC may or may not have been the Best Picture of 1997, but it was truly the Picture of the Year and deserved that Oscar.

    One more thing: the truly astonishing Ms Streep is due for another Oscar and soon. It’s been 17 years now since SOPHIE’S CHOICE and countless nominations later (she keeps breaking her own record!). Time to crystallize it again.

  • CriticWannaBe

    correction…27 years(!) since SOPHIE’S CHOICE (How embarrassing…time passes by way too quickly even to do the right math…) Even more reason to reward the lady!

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Overall, not as bad as I was expecting: I was bracing myself for a populist Oscars, and it is kind of that, but (barring the Blind Side business which funwithHeadlines has already unimprovably articulated) it’s the right kind of popular movies that are being rewarded, smart stuff like District 9 and Inglourious Basterds. And it’s good to see they didn’t forget A Serious Man, either.

    Minor niggles: I would like to have seen In the Loop get more love. No Best Supporting nod for Peter Capaldi? Although it might have been hard to find a clip of him that’s suitable for TV… And in one of the greatest years ever for animated films, it would have been nice to give Pete Docter, Wes Anderson or Henry Selick a Best Director nod. Animated films don’t direct themselves, you know!

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Also, I am totally doing nude cartwheels in the street if A Prophet wins best foreign language feature.

  • Ken

    If Up is the only animated film to garner a Best Picture nomination, isn’t it by default the Best Animated Feature Film? If there a better one, it would have been nominated instead of or alongside Up in the Best Picture category.

  • markyd

    Yeah, Ken, I’m seeing a lot of people making that comment. Still, there is no reason that animated films should not be considered for best film of the year.
    Personally, I think the awards would be more fun if they had more genre categories.
    Best action movie
    Best Comedy
    best voice acting(long overdue!)
    etc etc
    Or is that what other awards shows are for?

  • Ken

    @markyd: I’d love to see a best voice acting category, and was saying so years ago.

    Part of the problem with breaking down movies into genres, though, is that really good movies tend to be a bit of a lot of different things.

  • Joan

    I’m thrilled for Hurt Locker, In the Loop, and Carey Mulligan, bitter that Sherlock Holmes didn’t get a nod for costumes, wary that Kathryn Bigelow won’t get her richly deserved prize… but the big one for me is The Secret of Kells, because its nomination means it’ll finally get a US release and I’ll get to see it at last! Yay! I’ve been stalking in online for ages, but I didn’t think I’d ever actually get to see it (at least non-bootlegged). So that’s pretty awesome.

    So while I know it won’t win (Up is a lock, I’m sure, though my vote would be for Fantastic Mr. Fox), The Secret of Kells for Best Animated Picture is my biggest thrill so far.

  • Bluejay

    Joan, if you’re in NYC, The Secret of Kells is screening as part of the New York International Children’s Film Festival.


    If you’re not in the area–sorry, wish I could help…

  • Joan

    Yeah, sadly not. I am in New York, just in the “up by Canada” part, not the city. Oh well. It’s still very unlikely to play anywhere near me, but at least this way chances are good for a DVD.

  • CB

    It’s cool to see District 9 get nominated for Best Picture, but is there any chance in hell it could actually win?

  • neil

    Anthony Mackie wuz robbed.

  • I also thought it was great to see The Secret of Kells nominated. And I’d love to see Alexandre Desplat win for his work on Fantastic Mr. Fox – great soundtrack!

    I was a bit surprised that former Oscar-winner Chris Landreth (Ryan) was overlooked for his new animated short, The Spine. But happy to see Wallace & Gromit on the list again!

  • doa766

    I didn’t like it that much but I’m very glad that “El Secreto de sus Ojos” (“The secret on her eyes”) got a nom

    it’s from country and I know some of the people that worked on it

    it’s a pretty good thriller-drama

  • What do you think about the Oscar nominations?

    Oh? Was that today?

  • Neely O’Hara

    My two disappointments were no Best Documentary nomination for Anvil! The Story of Anvil and no Best Supporting Actor nomination for Fred Melamed in A Serious Man. I’m particularly disappointed about Fred Melamed – I thought it was just an incredible performance and I’m sorry to see him ignored.

  • MaryAnn

    Please remember that it isn’t only critics who make the nominations.

    It’s not critics AT ALL who make Oscar nominations. Members of the Academy work in the industry as actors, writers, directors, costume designers, cinematographers, etc. There are no critics among them.

    I don’t think there’s any revisionism going on. Most critics groups did not give Bullock an award… and critics have no control whatsoever over who gets an Oscar nomination. I’d venture to guess that most critics are as annoyed by Bullock’s nomination, but also resigned to her winning.

  • funWithHeadlines

    The revisionism is implied by their silence. When critics who think Bullock does not deserve to win, but say that she is the front-runner without explaining WHY she is the front-runner, give the reader the impression that she deserves it. So she goes from not deserving it to deserving it in the minds of the reader.

    But I suppose there’s nothing a critic can do. If he or she actually says Bullock may win because her movie was popular, hate mail will follow.

  • MaryAnn

    When critics who think Bullock does not deserve to win, but say that she is the front-runner without explaining WHY she is the front-runner, give the reader the impression that she deserves it.

    That’s an interesting point. I mean, she clearly is the frontrunner for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with her performance: it’s more to do with sentimentality and the fact that her peers really just like Bullock. (And it’s her peers, not her critics or her fans, who will be voting for her.) Like I said, I think most critics are resigned to this fact. But it doesn’t mean we suddenly think she gave the best performance of the year. (Maybe some critics just blow with the wind. Not most of them, though.)

  • Drave

    It’s too bad Vegas isn’t allowed to bet on entertainment events. I wonder what the official odds would be on Up taking Best Picture, but Coraline taking Best Animated Picture.

  • Knightgee

    If Blind Side wins best picture, it will be Crash all over again.

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