At 5:30am Los Angeles time, Oscars host Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards. While there were a few categories which panned out exactly as expected, the nominations did throw up more than the usual number of surprises. Here are five of the biggest…
1) Only 9 in the Best Picture
There were a few notable omissions in the Best Picture category. Moonrise Kingdom, The Master, The Sessions and, to a lesser extent, Skyfall had all been talked about as Best Picture contenders but all were notably absent from the nominees announced. What makes that even more surprising is the Academy chose only to give out nine of a possible ten nominations. So it wasn’t even that these films were simply squeezed out by other worthy pictures, rather they were deemed not worthy of a nomination.
2) Amour gets some love
It is not often that a foreign language film gets Academy recognition outside of the Best Foreign Language Film category. So it was somewhat of a surprise to see Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner, Amour, pick up five nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. If nothing else it means that Amour will be the shortest of short priced favourites to win the Best Foreign Language Film category.
3) Big names missing in the Best Director field
It was the Best Director nominations which contained the biggest surprises, primarily as a result of who wasn’t there. Ben Affleck, Quentin Tarantino and Kathryn Bigelow had all been talked about as serious contenders to take the award home, yet none of them managed to get a nomination. The most obvious beneficiaries of these ‘snubbings’ are the surprise – unexpected but not undeserved – nominations of Michael Haneke and Behn Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
4) Silver Lining Support
The surprise nominations in both the Supporting Actor and Actress categories both came from Silver Linings Playbook. Robert De Niro had only received a handful of lead up nominations, none of them major, for his role as Pat Sr. His surprise nomination means that there wasn’t room for some more fancied possible nominees, particularly Django Unchained’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson. Australian Jackie Weaver came from right out of left field to score a nomination in the Supporting Actress category having not received any lead up nominations, other than as part of an ensemble cast. The Golden Globes and SAG nominations had opted for Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) or Maggie Smith (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) to round of their fields, but neither seem any more deserving than Weaver.
5) The Dark Knight does not rise
While I don’t think anyone was realistically expecting The Dark Knight Rises to earn a best picture nomination, most would have expected it to figure somewhere (maybe in visual effect?), but instead it became the highest profile film to be completely overlooked by the Academy this year.
The Hollywood award season is fast upon us and the first major date on the road to the Oscars was 12th December for the announcement of the nominees for the Screen Actors Guild awards. The Screen Actors Guild was the union which represented actors in the American film and television industries. I say ‘was’ because earlier this year SAG membership voted to merge with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to create SAG-AFTRA. But the SAG awards have remained and this years nominations have produced a few surprises.
Best Ensemble Cast:
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- Les Miserables
- Silver Linings Playbook
I was quite surprised to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel score a nomination in this category. Obviously it had the names in the cast, but I didn’t find that it wowed me, and when you consider some of the casts that missed out on nominations it becomes an even more peculiar decision. Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty and Moonrise Kingdom have all been regular appearances on best films of 2012 lists and all boast impressive ensemble casts. It may well be the case that Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty have hit cinemas just a bit too late to gain the attention of the guild, but Moonrise Kingdom being overlooked is surprising. It was never going to happen, but I would have quite liked to see Seven Psychopaths in this category. Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken are both sensational, Colin Farrell is very good and you’ve also got Woody Allen and Tom Waits putting in nice performances.
My Tip: Les Miserables
- Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
- John Hawkes (The Sessions)
- Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)
- Denzel Washington (Flight)
This is a really strong field, but again there is at least one surprising omissions. Where is Joaquin Phoenix? His performance as the damaged sailor Freddie Quell in The Master is very powerful. He really makes you squirm. The other name that is missing which I thought was notable was Anthony Hopkins for Hitchcock. It is not so much a case that he deserved to be there over anyone in particular, just that Hitchcock, like The Iron Lady last year, looked like classic Oscar bait.
My Tip: Daniel Day-Lewis
- Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
- Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)
- Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
- Helen Mirren (Hitchcock)
- Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Beasts of the Southern Wild wasn’t made under a guild contract which meant that its impressive young star, Quvenzhane Wallis, didn’t qualify for a SAG nomination. Other than that this list looks pretty good, though it is strange to not have Meryl Street in there somewhere.
My Tip: Marion Cotillard
Best Supporting Actor:
- Alan Arkin (Argo)
- Javier Bardem (Skyfall)
- Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
- Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
I haven’t looked into it but surely this is the first time someone has received a major nomination for playing a Bond villain? This is a very strong category, probably the strongest of the five feature film categories for mine. It is great to see De Niro doing something worthwhile for the first time in years. Alan Arkin was a scene stealer in Argo and it is good to see him recognised for that. Again there are notable absences though. There is a lot of positive talk about Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance in Django Unchained, but as mentioned before he could be a victim of timing here and come into play later in the award season. Again, I think Sam Rockwell could have got a nod for Seven Psychopaths.
My Tip: Philip Seymour Hoffman
Best Supporting Actress:
- Sally Field (Lincoln)
- Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
- Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
- Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)
- Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Like the Best Supporting Actor category, if you just looked at the names on this list you could be forgiven for thinking it was a lead acting category. Only one of them hasn’t already won at least one Oscar. Surprising to see Kidman’s name on this list given the not overly positive critical response to The Paperboy. The only noteworthy omission in this category is Amy Adams for her role in The Master.
My Tip: Anne Hathaway
The Screen Actors Guild Awards will take place on 27th January 2013.