The Alliance of Women Film Journalists have released their nominations which heavily favor Oscar frontrunners such as “The Artist” and the “The Help” but also honors some lesser served films, such as “Shame” and oddly enough “Melancholia” (which was selected as having The Worst Female Images In A Movie by the Women Film Critics Circle earlier this week). Though I agree with the large majority of their selections, I also find myself feeling as though several of the categories undercut rather than support the overall goals.

I know Actress Most In Need Of A New Agent is meant to be in good fun, but it feels petty and out of sync with the tone of the nominations. Movie You Wanted To Love But Couldn’t is a bit muddied. “Drive,” “Sucker Punch” and ”Young Adult” do not belong in the same category as far as I’m concerned. More to the point, is the criteria that you wanted to love it but when you saw it you realized it was a well intentioned but overstretched, convoluted mess of a thing taken on by someone without the emotional maturity to handle the cinematic endeavor ("Sucker Punch"); or that you wanted to love it but it just isn’t your cup of tea?

"Most Egregious Age Difference" also lifts right out. The voters themselves don’t seem to be taking it all that seriously when they nominate Bella and Edward from “Twilight.” The MTV Movie Awards has a different sense of itself than the Academy and the clarification makes the each organization's intentions clear, as well as their respective place in the larger scheme of the entertainment industry.

Curmudgeonery aside, if you are going to have a Hall Of Shame Award, the AWFJ has certainly selected viable options. I mentioned “Something Borrowed” as my number one choice for "The Worst Female Images In A Movie" Tuesday. There is an argument to be made that "worst of" categories do little to elevate the conversation, however.  

There were some particularly apt and interesting selections in the performance categories. I was gratified to see Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan each receive nominations for “Shame” as well as Michael Shannon (who essentially defines the term “still waters run deep”) for “Take Shelter.” The supporting actor field was spiced up with the additions of Alan Rickman for “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and Andy Serkis for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” both deserved

I was somewhat surprised to see Diablo Cody ignored in the Best Original Screenplay field, and then get a mention in the Best Woman Screenwriter for the very film that then gets a nod (as mentioned) in the "Movie You Wanted To Love But Couldn’t" category. Feels somewhat fragmented. Overall solid choices with room for a few roads less traveled.

Check out the full list of nominations below.

Best Film
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Hugo"
"Melancholia"
"Midnight in Paris"

Best Director
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"

Best Actor
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Michael Fassbender, "Shame"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
Michael Shannon, "Take Shelter"

Best Actress
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Kirsten Dunst, "Melancholia"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Michelle Williams, "My Week with Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, "My Week with Marilyn"
Albert Brooks, "Drive"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Alan Rickman, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
Andy Serkis, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo, "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Carey Mulligan, "Shame"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"

Best Adapted Screenplay
"The Descendants"
"Hugo"
"Moneyball"
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
"We Need to Talk About Kevin"

Best Original Screenplay
"The Artist"
"Beginners"
"Bridesmaids"
"Midnight in Paris"
"Win Win"

Best Animated Film
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Arthur Christmas"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"

Best Documentary
"Bill Cunningham New York"
"Buck"
"Cave of Forgotten Dreams"
"The Interrupters"
"Pina"
"Project Nim"

Best Non-English-Language Film
"Le Havre"
"Pina"
"A Separation"
"The Skin I Live In"
"Trollhunter"

Best Ensemble Cast
"Bridesmaids"
"The Descendants"
"The Help"
"Margin Call"
"Midnight in Paris"

Best Cinematography
"The Artist"
"Hugo"
"Melancholia"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Editing
"The Artist"
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hugo"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Film Music or Score
"The Artist"
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
"Hanna"

Best Woman Director
Lynne Ramsay, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Dee Rees, "Pariah"
Vera Farmiga, "Higher Ground"
Kelly Reichardt, "Meek's Cutoff"
Jennifer Yuh, "Kung Fu Panda 2"

Best Woman Screenwriter
Diablo Cody, "Young Adult"
Abi Morgan, "The Iron Lady"
Lynne Ramsey, Rory Kinnear, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Dee Rees, "Pariah"
Kristin Wiig, Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"

Best Breakthrough Performance
Jessica Chastain, "The Tree of Life"
Elizabeth Olsen, "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Adepero Oduye, "Pariah"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"

Kick Ass Award (for Best Female Action Star)
Rooney Mara, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Helen Mirren, "The Debt"
Paula Patton, "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"
Saoirse Ronan, "Hanna"
Zoe Saldana, "Columbiana"

Best Animated Female
Emily Blunt, "Gnomeo & Juliet"
Isla Fisher, "Rango"
Anne Hathaway, "Rio"
Salma Hayak, "Puss in Boots"
Angelina Jolie, "Kung Fu Panda 2"

Female Icon Award
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"

Actress Defying Age and Agism
Glenn Close, "Albert Nobbs"
Judi Dench, "J. Edgar"
Helen Mirren, "The Debt"
Vanessa Redgrave, "Coriolanus"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"

Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry
Jessica Chastain
Thelma Schoonmaker
Stacey Snider
Kristin Wiig

AWFJ Award for Humanitarian Activism
Sandra Bullock (for tsunami relief)
Elaine Hendrix (for Animal Rescue Corps and In Defense of Animals)
Angelina Jokie (for UN work and making "In the Land of Blood and Honey" to raise awareness about genocide)
Elizabeth Taylor (for her work with AIDS)
Olivia Wilde (for relief work in Haiti)

AWFJ Hall of Shame Award
The Hollywood Reporter (for failing to invite any women to join the Directors Roundtable)
"I Melt with You" (production and cast)
"Jack and Jill" (production and cast)
"Something Borrowed" (production and cast)
"Sucker Punch" (production and cast)

Actress Most in Need of a New Agent
Jennifer Aniston
Kate Hudson
Sarah Jessica Parket
Amanda Seyfried
All actresses in "New Year's Eve"

Movie You Wanted to Love But Just Couldn't
"Drive"
"The Future"
"Sucker Punch"
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
"Young Adult"

Unforgettable Moment Award
"The Artist" (the sound of glass clinking on the table)
"Drive" (the elevator scene)
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Lisbeth's revenge)
"The Help" (the pie scene)
"Shame" (Carey Mulligan singing "New York, New York")

Best Depiction of Nudity, Sexuality or Seduction
"A Dangerous Method" (Carl Jung spanks Sabina Speilrein)
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Lisbeth mounts Mikael)
"Melancholia" (Justine in the moonlight)
"Shame" (opening sequence on the subway train)
"Shame" (Brandon with co-worker)

Sequel or Remake That Shouldn't Have Been Made Award
"Arthur"
"Cars 2"
"The Hangover: Part II"
"Hoodwinked Too!: Hood vs. Evil"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Most Egregious Age Difference
"Albert Nobbs" - Glen Close (64) and Mia Wasikowska (22)
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - Daniel Craig (43) and Rooney Mara (26)
"Midnight in Paris" - Owen Wilson (43) and # Léa Seydoux (26)
"Sleeping Beauty" - Emily Browning (23) and Man 1 (Peter Carroll, 68), Man 2 (Chris Haywood, 63) and Man 3 (Hugh Keays-Byrne, 64)
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" - Bella (18) and Edward (over 100)

Be sure to keep up with the ups and downs of the 2011-2012 film awards season via The Circuit.

For year-round entertainment news and commentary follow @JRothC on Twitter.

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