Oscar Thoughts, by Daniel Bergamini
This morning, film journalists, bloggers and fans dragged themselves out of bed to watch the 84th annual Academy Awards nominations. And like always, it ended with disappointment, shock and the occasional pleasant surprise. The Academy Awards is one of the few film award shows that still holds some importance and prestige in the industry. That’s what makes this year’s nominations all the more frustrating, and at times, bewildering.
In a year when Melissa McCarthy’s shitting in a sink gets an Oscar nod, maybe it is time for us to stop analyzing on the cinematic significance of Oscar nominations.
Every year film fans are left wondering why the best of the year is either partially snubbed, or left out entirely. Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter and Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin were left without a single nomination between them, making the acting categories far less exciting than they should be.
Swinton’s performance in Kevin was one that should be remembered for years, but it seems the film proved too challenging for Oscar voters. The same could be said about Jessica Chastain’s and Michael Shannon’s performances in the low-key Take Shelter, and yet Chastain was nominated for the lesser film The Help.
And while some of the year’s best films received minor recognition, it is clear they have no shot at winning any of their categories. Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life was nominated for Best Direction, Best Picture and Best Cinematography, and yet I do not see anyone betting on that film to win either Picture or Direction. The fact it was left out from both Editing and any acting category is a true shame, and more of a nail in the film’s coffin than anything else.
As always, the Best Picture category is a mixed bag of films that deserve it and ones that were made specifically to be nominated. It is great to see Hugo, Midnight In Paris, and The Tree of Life nominated but when you have Stephen Daldry’s much-panned Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close nominated alongside those great films, you have to question the legitimacy of the awards. And speaking of legitimacy, the ridiculous Best Supporting Actress nomination of Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids makes me wonder why Jack Black has yet to be nominated.
After being snubbed last year for the great Shutter Island, Scorsese’s Hugo took home 11 nominations and it seems to be neck-and-neck with the beloved silent film The Artist for most of the major awards.
For a year with films by such greats as Spielberg, Scorsese, Malick and Allen, the excitement is at an all time low. The obvious film to take home Best Picture is The Artist and film fans do not seem to care for. While my favourite film of 2011, The Tree of Life was nominated for Best Picture, I realize the chance of it winning is about as high as Cars 2 winning for Best Animated film. And yes, I realize Cars 2 was not nominated.
The films that were snubbed would have made this an exciting and fresh year at the Oscars, but as always, the best films were discarded and the Oscar-bait was swallowed whole.