Well the nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards were announced with bigger surprises than this already unpredictable award season have offered so far. First of all i really liked the way both Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone presented the nominees with lots of sarcasm and some really nice humor, i don't think they have ever done that before. Looking forward to Seth MacFarlane hosting the Oscars on the 24th of February. So coming back to the nominees, well there were some really big surprises and on the whole, this year's awards race have been quite exciting. The excitement was due to the unpredictability of it i mean it is fun when you don't know who is going to win and its far too boring for a movie to actually build that surefire winner consensus long before the ceremony.
So the most nominations went to the Abraham Lincoln drama "Lincoln" with 12. This Spielberg directed movie was definitely the most important American release of the year due to its subject matter and the precise manner the story have been presented with. I think its an impactful movie and even though it feels like a history lecture or more like a history presentation and one might even get bored watching such a long talky movie but everyone realizes the "importance" of this movie. It got nominated for best picture, director, lead actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, adapted screenplay, editing, cinematography, Production design, original score, sound mixing and costume design. The number of nominations, the support that it got already made it a frontrunner to actually win the top prize. Life of Pi came in second with 11 total nominations, just one nod behind from Lincoln. This technical marvel based on a famous but deemed unfilmable novel of the same name directed by one of the best directors of our time, Ang Lee was destined to get this response. Some people really thought it wont appeal so much on a broad way because of the nature of the movie but they were all wrong. Life of Pi got nominated for picture, director, adapted screenplay, editing, cinematography, production design, visual effects, original score, sound editing, sound mixing and original song. Behind both these movies was the grand musical movie Les Miserables with 8 nominations. The divisive response that it got for the way its been directed and presented kind of effected its performance as you can see but for such a spectacular production with some really great things about it, they can't just shut it out completely. Les Miserables got nominated for Picture, lead actor, supporting actress, production design, costume design, makeup & hair, sound mixing and original song. Silver Linings Playbook also got 8 nominations thanks largely to its strong presence in the acting category. This (sort of) rom-com got nominated in picture, director, lead actor, lead actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, adapted screenplay and editing. This truly makes it a strong contender to win the main prize, i think its between Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook now. This movie didn't actually became a frontrunner just like that even after its success at the TIFF and such festivals because people underestimated the power of such delightful, feel good movie.
Other highest nominated movies were Argo with 7, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Amour and Skyfall with 5 nominations each. Quite spectacular for both a bond movie to show such a strong presence i suppose for the first time with the Academy. On the other hand, the much loved Austrian drama Amour that won Palme d'or made a pretty strong impact on the voters as well. Its always wonderful to see a foreign movie breakthrough like that, it deserves it. Another movie that i would like to talk about is Beasts of the Southern Wild which was nominated in 4 categories. This little indie movie directed by a first timer and starring all the non-actors got nominated in all the important categories which makes me really happy since its one of my most favorite movies of the year. Actress Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts is just 9 years old (6 when the movie was filmed) and she got nominated in lead actress category along with Emmanuelle Riva from Amour who is 85. Silver Linings Playbook i suppose is the first movie since "Reds" from 1981 to be nominated in all four acting categories.
Below is the list of good and bad surprises as well as the biggest snubs:-
1. Michael Haneke (Amour) for best director.
2. Ben Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) for best director. Being a first timer as well as getting nominated over pretty stronger contenders.
3. Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) for best lead actress at this age for a performance that many thought wont be "enough" to please the academy.
4. Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) for best lead actress. She deserved it but it didn't looked like she'll actually get nominated.
5. Amour getting nominated for best picture. I was favoring Moonrise Kingdom over it as i though being a foreign movie it wont get nominated in that category when even a stronger movie like A Separation didn't got in.
6. Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) for best lead actor. I know he was a contender but he made some remarks about the absurdity of awards seasons and Oscars. Academy acted mature enough (as always) to nominate someone for their achievement rather than giving a damn about what their opinions are.
7. Beasts of the Southern Wild for adapted screenplay. I know its isn't a very conventional screenplay, kind of the same way like The Tree of Life had which didn't got nominated. But it is really amazing that Beasts did.
8. Anna Karenina showing up in production design, original score, costume design and cinematography. A technical wonder but not a great movie though it deserves these nods.
1. Christoph Waltz/Alan Arkin in supporting actor category. They should have nominated other far more deserving actors who did something new than just act exactly like they did in their previous Oscar winning roles.
2. Flight for original screenplay. Flight's screenplay was the most weakest if not the worst part of it and such a mediocre screenplay got nominated over far more innovative and hefty screenplays like Looper and The Master.
3. Argo/Lincoln for original score. Alexander Desplat gave far better score for Zero Dark Thirty. John Williams, same old same old. There were many other deserving candidates.
4. Lincoln for cinematography. There were far better and beautifully captured movies than this. I don't mean that cinematography sucked in Lincoln but just that it shouldn't have been nominated here just because it was suppose to get nominated in every possible category they could find for it.
1. Kathryn Bigelow, Director (Zero Dark Thirty)
2. Ben Affleck, Director (Argo)
3. John Hawkes, Actor (The Sessions)
4. The Dark Knight Rises (Tech Categories)
5. Moonrise Kingdom (Picture)
6. Beasts of the Southern Wild (Original Score)
7. Leonardo DiCaprio, Supporting Actor (Django Unchained)
8. The Master (Original Screenplay)
9. Cloud Atlas (Original Score/Visual Effects/Makeup)
10. The Master (Cinematography/Original Score)
11. Lincoln (Makeup)
12. Zero Dark Thirty (Original Score/Cinematography)
13. Looper (Original Screenplay)
14. Moonrise Kingdom (production design/Cinematography)
15. Skyfall (Editing)
16. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Adapted Screenplay)