My Thoughts On The Academy Award Nominees

by Paul on January 10, 2013

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After spending the day staring at the Academy Award nominees and hearing what everyone has to say about who did or didn’t get nominated, I have just a few quick thoughts. What happened with the directors? I never expect my predictions to Zero Dark Thirty (2012)be dead on, but my director list looked almost nothing like the Academy’s list. Did all the controversy behind “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Django Unchained” knock their respective directors’ right out of the race? I didn’t think Quentin Tarantino was going to get the nomination anyway, but I was confident that Kathryn Bigelow would not only get the nomination, but that she would be competing strongly to win the award. And then of course we all have to wonder where Ben Affleck went wrong with his sensational directorial work on “Argo”. It seems to be one of the three films that has a shot at winning the Best Picture award, but without a Best Director nomination, it is going to be extremely difficult.

Something else that grabbed my attention today was how the Best Picture nominees are such acting driven films. Of the 20 acting nominations, 14 of them came from the nine films nominated for Best Picture, and only one Best Picture nominee was shut out of the acting categories (“Life of Pi”). And then, of the remaining six acting nominations, three of them came from “The Master”, so all twenty acting nominees from 2012 came from 12 films.

And let’s talk about “The Master” for a minute. When this film was released, everyone seemed to have good things to say. Sure, it’s been a little while and many opinions have cooled toward the film overall, but it still received three acting nominations. When there can be up to ten nominees for best picture and a film gets three acting nominations, it seems logical that the film would be in line for recognition, unless… the movie itself just isn’t very good. Perhaps the film wasThe Master (2012) just released too early in the year. Eight of the nine Best Picture nominees were released late in the year, keeping them fresh in everyone’s mind when voting came around. After hearing that some studios don’t send their films to the voters until the last minute to try and keep their film fresh in the voters mind, I didn’t think that it would matter very much, but judging from the significantly low amount of nominations for films like “The Master” and Moonrise Kingdom”, and the whopping 11 nominations for “Life Of Pi” (which was the last film voters received), perhaps there is something to this theory. Then again, maybe “Life of Pi” is just a better film.

Looking at the acting nominees, one can’t help but be excited to see an 84 year old woman (“Amour”), and a nine year old girl (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) nominated in the same category. All I can say is that I wish I could have had that kind of talent when I was nine, and I just hope I can still move around at 85, let alone give one of the best acting performances of the year! Of the twenty people Amour (2012)nominated for acting awards this year, only four of them are first time nominees. In fact, this extremely talented group of performers has now been nominated for 58 Academy Awards in their careers, already having won 14 statues.

My final thought for today is on the ongoing debate about how many Best Picture nominees are necessary. I know that many find it annoying to have more Best Picture nominees, but I for one enjoy acknowledging all of the worthy films each year. Who knows which four of our new nominees would have been left off if we were only allowed five Best Picture hopefuls. I understand the argument that in order to fill out the Best Pictures there could be sub-par movies on the Best Picture nominee list (like we had in 2010), but that isn’t the case here. Since eachBeasts Of The Southern Wild (2012) Best Picture nominee requires a certain amount of first place votes, a good movie that fails to be great doesn’t make the final cut. That is why we have nine nominees instead of ten, for the second consecutive year. I also understand that many were hoping to see a nominee for “The Dark Knight Rises” or “Skyfall”. My consensus is that if they were “best picture worthy” they would have made the list, but just being in the conversation proves that a quality made action film can be considered if it is made to the highest standards. And that appears to be progress in the right direction.

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