Oscar Nominations Analysis

Hey there! I was in a rush yesterday to get the 2011 Oscar nominees posted for everyone, but now, we have all the time in the world to bore you to tears with our reactions (and preliminary predictions) of this year’s nominees. Enjoy!

Best Picture Nominees

Jill: There weren’t any real surprises here, with The King’s Speech and The Social Network firmly placed at the starting line of what should be an interesting race for the Oscar. However, I was somewhat disappointed to find a lack of real underdogs in this field. Wasn’t the whole point of expanding the category to 10 films so films that are traditionally overlooked (indie films, and crowd pleasers alike) can get the recognition they deserve? I feel that a spot was taken away by the addition of Toy Story 3 to the list. Because of its lock in the animated film category it’s highly unlikely to even be a contender for the best feature statue (I have my feelings on cross-nominations between the animated category and live action category-i.e. it just shouldn’t happen). That space could have been given to a film such as Blue Valentine, or in my wildest dreams, Kick-Ass.

Ryan: Five of these films will always be the same as the ones nominated for Best Director, so the question is always going to be which are the other five? That being said, although I agree with Jill’s overall point about the diversity of the nominees, I think the Academy did a good job of at least recognizing films they didn’t nominate much elsewhere. If you aren’t like us, and don’t pay attention to award season like it’s playoff football, Winter’s Bone, The Kids Are All Right, and 127 Hours are nice inclusions. Of course, I haven’t seen two of those films yet, and I would have liked to see The American get a nod.

Best Director Nominees

Jill: All I can say is, where the hell is Christopher Nolan? No offense to the Coen brothers (love them), but that space belonged to Nolan for his work in Inception. Otherwise, a pretty tame category with no major surprises.

Ryan: I echo the snub for Nolan is a shocker, although I am not sure how I overlooked the Coens’ chances in this field. Personally, I didn’t think the direction of The King’s Speech or The Fighter was as strong as some other films this year, but that seems to just be me.

Best Actor Nominees

Jill: Happy to see that Jesse Eisenberg was able to pull through with a nomination (if he wins, he will be the youngest man in history to do so). But, in the end, I think it will be Colin Firth’s year. I’m entertained by the backlash that The King’s Speech is already generating; it’s never a cool thing to be a period biopic in America. I’m also glad to see James Franco in the mix. His career has been an interesting one, with a few missteps along the way that have made people question whether his talent exists. I think it’s safe to say he deserves to be among the nominees for his performance in 127 Hours. And who knows, he may be the first host to win an Oscar during his very own telecast.

Ryan: Colin Firth has practically been ordained for the win, and if I hadn’t seen King’s Speech, I might be upset by this. I haven’t seen Biutiful, and I thought Robert Duvall was great in Get Low, which was sadly overlooked this awards season. But overall, I like the picks. And of course, there’s a slim chance that Jeff Bridges could be the second actor to win for the same character as a previous Oscar winning actor.

Best Actress Nominees

Jill: In a field that usually suffers from lack of strong performances, this year may prove to be different…but probably not. Again, there seems to be one clear front runner and that is Natalie Portman. She has always been a favorite of mine, and I will enjoy watching her win, but I wish just for once there was a little bit of a race in this category.

Ryan: Natalie Portman’s performance in Black Swan is the role of a lifetime, and if she doesn’t win for this, it will be a huge upset for me. This is kind of a shame for Annette Bening, who easily has the second best lead actress performance of the year. I kind of wish Diane Lane had gotten in for Secretariat, or even Dakota Fanning for Runaways.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees

Jill: Where is my Andrew Garfield!? I was sooooooo disappointed that he was overlooked, although not terribly surprised. What was surprising was seeing a summer movie like The Town earn a nom for Jeremy Renner, who was one of the best things about the film. Mark Ruffalo’s charming performance also snuck in with a much deserved nomination for The Kids Are All Right. Oscar veteran Geoffrey Rush is also represented, but the show is clearly Christian Bale’s with a knockout performance in The Fighter (yeah, I just did that).

Ryan: Obviously Bale is the far and away favorite here, but I was hoping for two Social Network contenders here in both Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake. While I do like Ruffalo and Renner, I think I would have rather have had Bill Murray pick up a second nomination and I was really taken with Matt Damon’s LeBoeuf from True Grit.

Jill Again: Note to Ryan about J Tims being nominated: IN YOUR DREAMS. But I would like to have seen Bill Murray get it for Get Low. Although, at this point, actors like Jeff Bridges and Bill Murray are pretty much being nominated for playing the same characters year after year, which may in fact just be themselves in real life.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Jill: This category has always been a grab bag when it comes to nominees. You can never be sure who’s going to make it in, let alone be on top. This year was a little different for me as I wasn’t blown away by some random entry. Hailee Steinfeld’s campaigning paid off in a nomination that I’m not sure how I feel about. As great an actress as she was, I’m not sure she belongs in this category (the film was about her after all). The Fighter‘s strong ensemble cast continues its dominance with nominees Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, two performances that were in my top ten this year. I would however like to see this one go to Helena Bodham Carter.

Ryan: I also really liked Helena Bonham Carter’s performance , but I’d be fine with either of the ladies from The Fighter taking it. However, having both nominated in the same category leaves it ripe for vote splitting, so we could easily see an upset here. I also agree with Jill that even if she never had a prayer of winning, it would have been more respectful to have Hailee Steinfeld in the Best Actress category.

Look at that handsome mug.

Best Adapted Screenplay Nominees

Ryan: If The Social Network doesn’t win….holy crap.

Jill: Ditto

Best Original Screenplay Nominees

Ryan: I always forget movies based on real life can still be in this category, but this is where Inception should pick up a trophy (aka pulling a Tarantino).

Jill: Most definitely. Especially since the film got a little screwed over this season.

Best Animated Film Nominees

Ryan: If Toy Story 3 doesn’t win….holy crap.
Sidebar: Almost wish How to Train Your Dragon was a 2011 release so it could beat Cars 2.

Jill: Again, ditto. Not much more to say.

Best Musical Score Nominees

Ryan: This is a really strong group despite the lack of Daft Punk up in here. And if Black Swan was disqualified, I don’t know how Inception and Social Network got it, making the Academy rules seem more arbitrary than usual.

Jill: Who knows what’s going on in the music categories at the Oscars. It’s becoming a bigger joke than the Grammys. I’m in it for The Social Network on this one. Also, just got a text, Daft Punk will most definitely be playing at my house, and you are all invited.

Best Original Song Nominees

Ryan: I hate to say it, but does anyone care about this category, really? Besides potential EGOT songwriters?

Jill: This category has gone downhill in recent years. Can anyone recall the last song from a movie they heard on the radio? Yeah, neither can I. Something about a heart on a sinking boat…something….

Best Short Film, Live Action

Ryan: Just want to shout out that we saw God of Love at the Reading Film Fest and it was awesome!

Jill: I was so happy to see their nomination! It’s an adorable little film that better win!

Best Documentary

Ryan: Exit Through the Gift Shop seems like a lock to win, but will Banksy come?

Jill: Mr. Brainwash.

We’ll probably have more Oscar hoopla in the next coming weeks, but that’s all for now!