The 2012 Academy Award nominations are out! And man are they…well, meh. You can find the full list by clicking the link above, but I’m afraid I can’t drum up enough interest to talk about many of them here.
I’ll get to the nominations that I am at least mildly interested in, either because I liked them or because I find them hugely overrated, below. I want to start, however, with the omission that upsets me the most: Drive.
It’s hard for me to fathome why this semi-surreal drama staring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan is almost totally absent from the nominations, save a sole nod for Sound Editing. In addition to having the single best performance of the year from Gosling in the lead, it also has arguably three of the best supporting performances from Mulligan, Albert Brooks and Brian Cranston. The script is sparse, but perfect. Director Nicholas Winding Refn paces this film perfectly, with a creeping tension that mounts steadily into something like horror as events take turns that we as an audience never suspect, yet some how feel were inevitable once they happen.
I do have to agree with the academy that the sound editing is wonderful – in fact, everything about the sound of the film, including the score and soundtrack – work to create something so much more than its “official” synopsis, which reads “A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.”
And perhaps therein lies the problem. Audiences likely had no idea what to expect from Drive. Those looking for another The Transporter were probably taken aback by the strangeness of the film, those looking for what it is, a powerful, wrenching, yet somehow hopeful drama about a man who is trying to rise above his nature, more than likely skipped it altogether.
I know Drive isn’t a movie for everyone, but I certainly thought the Academy would have enough movie fans in its base to recognize at LEAST Gosling’s performance. Truly, I’m appalled.
You know what else?
Hugo is overrated. There, I said it. It was beautifully shot, of course. The performances are good. It’s nice. But, it is not great. There is no reason it should be leading the pack.
While I haven’t seen every film on the list of best picture nominees, I can tell you Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is the only one I really, thoroughly enjoyed of the ones I have seen.
The nominations that actually bring me joy are the nod to Melissa McCarthy for supporting actress and Kristin Wiig and Annie Mumolo for original screenplay, all for their work on Bridesmaids. This at least in some ways makes up for My Week With Marilyn winning the Golden Globes for “comedy” and best actress in a “comedy.” Listen, folks – if you are going to have a comedy category, don’t use it as an excuse to give another award to a drama.
I also always love seeing Gary Oldman and Kenneth Branagh recognized for their work, and I am happy to have Oldman to root for in the best actor category for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Branagh for supporting actor in Marilyn.
And…man, that’s about it. That’s about all I can get behind this year.
I am a movie fan. Watching the Oscars is a tradition that I am sure I will keep this year, but I will have to work hard to find someone to root for in some of these categories.
How about you? What are your favorites this year? Which movies that were snubbed surprise and upset you? Want to talk me into liking Hugo more? Give it a shot!
Let us know your thoughts.
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