Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Nominations

It is going to be a "royal" engagement at the 83rd annual Academy Awards, as the British film "The King's Speech" (2010) led in Oscar nominations with a total of 12.

The "Best Picture" nominees are; "127 Hours", "Black Swan", "The Fighter", "Inception", "The Kids Are All Right", "The King's Speech", "The Social Network", "Toy Story 3", "True Grit" and "Winter's Bone".

As is the case every year, this year's announcement of Oscar nominations offered a few surprises. One of them is how well the Coen Brothers' "True Grit" did, winning a total of 10 nominations, especially when you considered it was shut out at the Golden Globes. The film is nominated for, in addition to "Best Picture", "Best Director", "Best Adapted Screenplay", "Best Actor" (Jeff Bridges) and "Best Supporting Actress" (Hailee Steinfeld).

Other surprises included Javier Bardem winning a nomination for "Best Actor" for his work in the Mexican film "Biutiful" (which still hasn't opened in Chicago!). Did Julia Roberts push help him? Many people are shocked Nicole Kidman won a nomination for "Rabbit Hole". I'm not. I'm glad she is nominated. In my review for the film I expressed my support. What personally surprised me was no nomination for co-Oscar host Anne Hathaway for her performance in "Love & Other Drugs". I wasn't a big fan of the film but Hathaway's performance was being thrown around as a possibility.

Amazingly Leonardo DiCaprio was shut out for both "Inception" and "Shutter Island", which I think is a big mistake. I still am unable to understand why Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" has been snubbed this award season. Some viewed it merely as a routine genre picture, but, with Scorsese at the helm, it became a little more than that. The overwhelming support for the indie film "Winter's Bone" has caught me off guard. Several critics have placed it on their top ten list and the film has scored a few nominations. Also support for "The Kids Are All Right" I find more disappointing than surprising. I felt the film played off as more as a sit-com than an actual motion picture.

The animated film category was disappointing to me. Only three films have been nominated this year; "How To Train Your Dragon", "The Illusionist" and "Toy Story 3". No nomination for "Tangled", "Megamind", or "Shrek Forever After". It would seem "Toy Story 3" is the favorite (especially when you consider it is nominated in the "best picture" category as well). But in all honesty "The Illusionist" is actually the better film.

The awards favorite "The Social Network" scored a total of 8 nominations including "Best Picture", "Best Director", "Best Actor" and "Best Adapted Screenplay". It has won nearly every major award for "best picture". It has to be the odds on favorite going into the Oscars. It has been slightly over-hyped in my opinion however with the comparisons to "Citizen Kane" (1941).

The 83rd Academy Awards will air February 27th and will be hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco.

For a full list of Oscar nominees click here: http://www.imdb.com/features/oscars/2011/nominations