Home | Awards | The Oscar Nominations Are In, But No Love for Michael Fassbender, David Fincher and Leonardo DiCaprio?
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The Oscar Nominations Are In, But No Love for Michael Fassbender, David Fincher and Leonardo DiCaprio?

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Oscars 2012

Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were announced yesterday by Academy President Tom Sherak and Jennifer Lawrence. I’m betting she’ll make as many waves for The Hunger Games (in theaters March 23, 2012) as she did in 2010 for Winter’s Bone, which scored her an Oscar nomination.

I’m really happy to see Nick Nolte land a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Warrior. In my review, I wrote that Nolte “really gets a chance to shine and remind us what a great actor he is, maybe because his role as a recovering alcoholic mirrors his own real-life struggles … In fact, I see ‘Oscar’ written all over his role of Paddy Conlon, the alcoholic father of two sons who are estranged from both him and each other.” Never let it be said I can’t call ‘em when I see ‘em.

Michael Fassbender on The Hollywood Reporter coverMeanwhile, Melane Votaw, a frequent contributor to Reel Life With Jane, notes a few absences from the list. “While it’s a ‘shame’ (excuse the pun) that Michael Fassbender wasn’t recognized for either of his excellent performances (A Dangerous Method and Shame), the person who is most glaringly missing for me is Keira Knightley, who gave a tour de force performance in A Dangerous Method.”

Adding insult to injury is the fact that Fassbender is front and center on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter this week. I haven’t seen A Dangerous Method or Shame yet, but everything I’ve heard points to a major snub there.

Melanie also points out the exclusion of Albert Brooks and Ryan Gosling in Drive, as well as Adrien Brody in Midnight in Paris. “Brody’s performance was probably the most delightful of the entire year for me,” she says. “I absolutely loved him as Salvador Dali.”

Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson, searching for literary inspiration in Midnight in Paris | Sony

Both Melanie and I wondered why only two songs were nominated out of a field of more than 30 songs that were considered. The Hollywood Reporter explains that it’s due to a convoluted system enacted in 2006:

“Unlike other categories, song nominees are determined by voting members of the music branch who watch sections of films where songs are played — and nothing else. Since instituted, it has resulted in performance clips and animated songs being nominated, but no end credit or background songs.”

I have to add a bit of puzzlement over The Tree of Life nominations. First of all, it’s a really odd movie. In my review, I called it “dreamy and weird.” Even Sean Penn didn’t get it, and he starred in it. That’s not to say odd movies aren’t worthy of Oscars. But aside from the cinematography — I’m happy it earned a nomination in that category and surprised it didn’t also score a Best Visual Effects nod — it just wasn’t a great movie.

Other thoughts:

  • No directorial love for David Fincher for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? You’d think he would have at least gotten a conciliatory nomination since, some say, he unfairly lost last year for The King’s Speech.
  • Notably absent in the Best Actor category is Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar. He’s like the Meryl Streep of the male crowd. There’s nothing he can’t do.
  • Odd that The Adventure of Tintin didn’t land in the Best Animated Feature category. I would have added it in place of Puss in Boots.
  • I really hoped that Project Nim would grab a Best Documentary nomination, but that category is always dicey and usually provides a few upsets.  The Academy favors politically driven and/or issue-based films, for the most part.
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (or my version of the title, Incredibly Annoying Kid) for Best Picture? Yes, it hits a lot of hot buttons in our country. Yes, the acting is fine and the story dramatic. Still, if I were in charge of the world, I would have replaced Extremely Loud and The Tree of Life with Warrior.

Take a look at the nominations, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Demián Bichir in A Better Life (Summit Entertainment)
  • George Clooney in The Descendants (Fox Searchlight)
  • Jean Dujardin in The Artist (The Weinstein Company)
  • Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn (The Weinstein Company)
  • Jonah Hill in Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • Nick Nolte in Warrior (Lionsgate)
  • Christopher Plummer in Beginners (Focus Features)
  • Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs (Roadside Attractions)
  • Viola Davis in The Help (Touchstone)
  • Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Company)
  • Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Bérénice Bejo in The Artist (The Weinstein Company)
  • Jessica Chastain in The Help (Touchstone)
  • Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids (Universal)
  • Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs (Roadside Attractions)
  • Octavia Spencer in The Help (Touchstone)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year:

  • A Cat in Paris (GKIDS) Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita (GKIDS) Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) Chris Miller
  • Rango (Paramount) Gore Verbinski

Achievement in Art Direction:

  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Production Design: Laurence Bennett, Set Decoration: Robert Gould
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.) Production Design: Stuart Craig, Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
  • Hugo (Paramount) Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) Production Design: Anne Seibel, Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Production Design: Rick Carter, Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

Achievement in Cinematography:

  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo (Paramount) Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Janusz Kaminski

Achievement in Costume Design:

  • Anonymous (Sony Pictures Releasing) Lisy Christl
  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Mark Bridges
  • Hugo (Paramount) Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre (Focus Features) Michael O’Connor
  • W.E. (The Weinstein Company) Arianne Phillips

Achievement in Directing:

  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) Alexander Payne
  • Hugo (Paramount) Martin Scorsese
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) Woody Allen
  • The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) Terrence Malick

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Hell and Back Again (Docurama Films) A Roast Beef Limited Production, Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Oscilloscope Laboratories) A Marshall Curry Production, Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory An @radical.media Production, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
  • Pina (Sundance Selects) A Neue Road Movies Production, Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
  • Undefeated (The Weinstein Company) A Spitfire Pictures Production, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Best Documentary Short Subject:

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement A Purposeful Production, Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God Is the Bigger Elvis A Documentress Films Production, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad A Morninglight Films Production, James Spione
  • Saving Face A Milkhaus/Jungefilm Production, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom A Supply & Demand Integrated Production, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Achievement in Film Editing:

  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • Hugo (Paramount) Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) Christopher Tellefsen

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:

  • Bullhead A Savage Film Production, Belgium
  • Footnote (Sony Pictures Classics) A Footnote Limited Partnership Production, Israel
  • In Darkness (Sony Pictures Classics) A Studio Filmowe Zebra Production, Poland
  • Monsieur Lazhar (Music Box Films) A micro_scope Production, Canada
  • A Separation (Sony Pictures Classics) A Dreamlab Films Production, Iran

Achievement in Makeup:

  • Albert Nobbs (Roadside Attractions) Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.) Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady (The Weinstein Company) Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score):

  • The Adventures of Tintin (Paramount) John Williams
  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo (Paramount) Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features) Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse (Touchstone) John Williams

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song):

  • Man or Muppet from The Muppets (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • Real in Rio from Rio (20th Century Fox) Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Motion Picture of the Year:

  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) A La Petite Reine/Studio 37/La Classe Américaine/JD Prod/France3 Cinéma/Jouror Productions/uFilm Production, Thomas Langmann, Producer
  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) An Ad Hominem Enterprises Production, Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (Warner Bros.) A Warner Bros. Pictures Production, Scott Rudin, Producer
  • The Help (Touchstone) A DreamWorks Pictures Production, Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and    Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • Hugo (Paramount) A Paramount Pictures and GK Films Production, Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) A Pontchartrain Production, Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) A Columbia Pictures Production, Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • The Tree of Life (Fox Searchlight) A River Road Entertainment Production, Nominees to be determined
  • War Horse (Touchstone) A DreamWorks Pictures Production, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Best Animated Short Film:

  • Dimanche/Sunday (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production, Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore A Moonbot Studios LA Production, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Enrico Casarosa
  • A Morning Stroll (Studio AKA) A Studio AKA Production, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Best Live Action Short Film:

  • Pentecost (Network Ireland Television) An EMU Production, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju A Hamburg Media School/Filmwerkstatt Production, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore An All Ashore Production, Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak A Team Toad Production, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic (Norsk Filminstitutt) A Norwegian Film School/Den Norske Filmskolen Production, Hallvar Witzø

Achievement in Sound Editing:

  • Drive (FilmDistrict) Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce
  • Hugo (Paramount) Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Achievement in Sound Mixing:

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sony Pictures Releasing) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo (Paramount) Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse (Touchstone) Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in Visual Effects:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • Hugo (Paramount) Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and  Alex Henning
  • Real Steel (Touchstone) Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox) Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Paramount) Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Adapted Screenplay:

  • The Descendants (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • Hugo (Paramount) Screenplay by John Logan
  • The Ides of March (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Focus Features) Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Original Screenplay:

  • The Artist (The Weinstein Company) Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids (Universal) Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • Margin Call (Roadside Attractions) Written by J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Woody Allen
  • A Separation (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Asghar Farhadi

Jane Boursaw is the founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Her credits include hundreds of print and online publications, including The New York Times, People Magazine, Variety, Moviefone, TV Squad and more. Follow her on Twitter at @reellifejane.

Jane Boursaw has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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8 comments

  1. MyKidsEatSquid

    I was happy to see some of my favorite actors from The Help nominated. I hope it wins best pic too. I haven’t seen Tree of Life, but that did seem like an odd choice to me too.
    MyKidsEatSquid recently posted…6 Favorite Spots at Cleveland’s West Side MarketMy Profile

  2. And why is it that Vera Farmiga got totally ignored for High Ground? Must be because it was released at the wrong time of year and everybody forget about it.

    Or just maybe they’re afraid to open the floodgates to women directing indie films…I can see how that would pose a problem for the Academy.

  3. I’m afraid I would have been much harder on these nominations than you were.. Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn? The group I went with walked out having a “whatever happened to Kenneth Branagh conversation because he seems so ordinary and unimpressive in this movie after his great Shakespearean roles when he was younger. Brad Pitt in Moneyball? Of all his roles, that one felt like he was sleeping through it. And I have to admit not getting the hoopla around that movie at all – everyone seemed boring and wooden to me. And Midnight in Paris, even though I loved it for the depiction of Paris, was a pretty slight movie, and it seems to me it’s only getting nods because the contrast with Woody Allen’s other recent movies (crap, most of them) makes it seem good. I could go on and on, but these lists just don’t reflect the great moments in movies this year.

  4. It was big news here in NZ that Bret McKenzie was nominated for Best Song for “Man or Muppet”. Go the Kiwis!
    Melanie recently posted…Dark Chocolate Grapefruit TrufflesMy Profile

  5. I clearly have to put in a LOT of time at my local movie theater. Have missed way too many of theses. I did loveThe Help, Moneyball and Midnight in Paris and think they’re all Oscar-worthy picks.
    Sheryl recently posted…Paula Deen: A Hypocrite?My Profile

  6. Haven’t seen Drive. But what about Gosling in Ides of March? He was excellent. That film didn’t get a look in anywhere but The Descendants, that other George Clooney vehicle, did. I don’t get it.
    sarah henry recently posted…Latinas Share Wealth in Food and FarmingMy Profile

  7. The Descendants was a surprisingly warm, entertaining and thoughtful film for me. It deals specifically with a family going through a specific tragedy and dealing with that tragedy and all the secrets they never knew existed. We can see the weight of the world on George Clooney’s shoulders as he descends deeper and deeper into misery.
    What made this movie so good for me was the complexity of Clooney’s character and the depth he went to in order to deal with a big family secret, an estranged daughter, a curious daughter and a dying wife. It felt real and heartwarming to see his friends and a new real estate agent and his wife literally turn his world upside down! Try keeping a dry eye during this film. Real-life drama and passion. I can see why it’s winning all the awards. A very well made film.

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