miscellaneous commentary

83rd Academy Award nominations

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For film addicts like myself, the morning Oscar nominations are announced is a second Christmas. This year’s nominations reveal a genuine race for Best Picture between “The King’s Speech”, a traditional period piece that will appeal to older Academy members, and “The Social Network”, the present-day tale of the founding of Facebook. “King’s Speech” leads with 12 nominations, followed by the Coen brother’s remake of “True Grit” with 10 and “Social Network” and “Inception with 8 each.

I want a few more days to compile statistics, but for now I want to make a point about the emerging claim that “The King’s Speech” will win because it has the most nominations. A statistic I’ve seen in more than one online article claims that 75% of the Best Picture nominees that receive the most nominations will win. This may be true historically, but it’s only been the case 5 times in the past 10 years. And while it was also the surprise winner of last weekend’s PGA award, that award has predicted the eventual Best Picture film 6 times in the past 10 years. Neither of these facts suggest “The King’s Speech” winning Best Picture is a sure thing.

I do not want to say more right now as I have not seen that movie yet, though it’s coming to the Cedar Valley this weekend. I also need to see “The Fighter”, which received 7 nominations, including 3 for its actors. “127 Hours” is the other Best Picture nominee that I haven’t yet seen, and I have no idea when it will come this way.

Random thoughts about the nominations:

The biggest surprise was the enormous support for “True Grit”, which had received zero nominations at the Golden Globes (perhaps due to its late release). Jeff Bridges was nominated for Lead Actor as Rooster Cogburn, the role that won John Wayne his Lead Actor award back in 1969. The film could play the role of spoiler in the Best Picture race if “King’s Speech” and “Social Network” split the vote.

The biggest loser was “Inception”, which was nominated for Best Picture but not for its director, Christopher Nolan, nor for any of its actors. “Blue Valentine”, a highly praised film, received a single nomination for Michelle Williams, and “The Town” received a single nomination for Jeremy Renner. “The Ghost Writer”, my favorite film of 2010, came up empty handed.

Disney’s “Tangled” was snubbed for Animated Feature Film, it’s expected nomination going instead to little-seen French film “The Illusionist”. Perhaps voters felt Disney, which now owns Pixar, only deserved one nomination in the category, which it received for “Toy Story 3” (also a Best Picture nominee). Pixar has won 5 of the 9 awards in this category since it was created, and “TS3” is expected to be its fourth-straight winner.

Other snubs — “Black Swan”, a film about ballet dancers, was left out of the Art Direction and Costume Design categories. “Waiting for Superman”, one of the best-reviewed documentaries, failed to be nominated in the Documentary Feature category. And “I Am Love” was very disappointingly passed over in the Foreign Language Film category.

One reason why the Academy expanded the race from 5 films to 10 last year was to bring in a greater mix of both commercial successes and small-budgeted independent films. This year’s nominees vary widely in their box office receipts, from the $415 million for “Toy Story 3” to the $6 million for “Winter’s Bone” and $11 million for “127 Hours”. Last year’s winner, “The Hurt Locker”, ended its theatrical run with a mere $17 million, one of the lowest of any Best Picture winner in nearly half a century.

James Franco, co-hosting this year’s ceremony with Ann Hathaway, is the 8th host to receive a nomination (for Lead Actor in “127 Hours”). Only 2 of the previous 7 hosts who were also nominees ended up as winners.

A statistical-heavy entry will come later this week.


Written by camcarlson

January 25, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Posted in Cinema

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