Usually, post-nomination Oscar talk is dominated by the frontrunners. Yet the film on everyone's lips yesterday wasn't either of the nomination hogs, "The Artist" or "Hugo," but one with no chance whatsoever of winning: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" pulled off arguably the most surprising Best Picture nod of at least the last decade (even if Kris was one of the few pundits tuned into the possibility), and its buzz took a 180-degree turn. Tim Robey ruminates on how the film, in the space of a single minute, went from being this year's "The Lovely Bones" -- failed bait, both Academy-tailored and critically massacred -- to this year's, well, "The Reader," and wonders how Stephen Daldry keeps pulling off this unlikely trick, where similar prestige filmmakers like Sam Mendes keep missing the mark. [The Telegraph]
Now that the nominations have been announced, it seems like a good time to go ahead and point you to our interviews with various individuals who woke up to good news this morning. This list is on-going as we still have things in the pipeline, so it will inevitably be added to throughout the rest of the month. Check out the list below and we'll update it as we go.
I am no fan, to put it gently, of John Williams's chintzily instructive and inevitably Oscar-nominated score for "War Horse," but I'll admit I've been feeling the need for it all day. Williams is a master in the art of telling you how to feel, and several hours after hearing this years Academy Award nominations, I could really use some plaintive strings or percussive rumbling to tell me what on earth I'm supposed to feel about them.
Am I happy they took a chance on some adventurous arthouse fare like "The Tree of Life" and "A Separation?" Am I dismayed they haven't yet caught wise to Michael Fassbender? Am I perplexed that they seem to be actively sabotaging the admittedly inessential but once-entertaining Best Original Song category? Am I pleased that the animation branch showed some solid brass balls this year, even as I question the wisdom of their choices? Am I concerned that their barometer for the year's best documentaries bears no relation to anyone else's? Am I satisfied I predicted 73 out of 104 nominations, even if I hated myself for making some of those predictions in the first place? I'm certainly annoyed I have to see the wildly unalluring "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" now, after thinking I might just have dodged that bullet.
Tech Support: 'The Artist,' 'Hugo,' 'Dragon Tattoo' and 'War Horse' feature heavily in Oscar's crafts categories
This morning, many crafts artists in Hollywood (and elsewhere in the world) found out that they are heading to the Kodak Theatre for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. The thrill they are experiencing must be difficult to describe.
The reaction of many to the nominations has simply been “wow.” While I wasn’t as floored as some, I confess to being surprised by many of this morning’s events, and the crafts categories proved no exception.
Before embarking on analysis of the individual categories, two trends should be noted: first, in the vast majority of categories, previously nominated veterans were tapped over up-and-comers. Second, with a few exceptions – notably “The Artist,” “Hugo” and “War Horse” – films either tended to be embraced across the board or confined in their nominations to one or two branches.
So now, on to the individual categories…
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Today Anne is still up in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival while I'm back home in Los Angeles. We're joined today by Guy Lodge to discuss a little bit of business that dropped this morning, so let's see what's on the docket today…
With “The Adventures of Tintin” out of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race, Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” can breathe a bit as it feels like the field’s frontrunner. In any event, it’s the standout as far as I’m concerned.
In light of its nomination this morning, Paramount was quick to announce that the studio will re-release the film for a one-week limited engagement at the Arclight Hollywood beginning this Friday, January 27th.
A Spaghetti Western animated comedy about a chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) who is unleashed from his enclosed glass terrarium only to find himself the (unqualified) leader and hero of the town of Dirt, it is one of the films that is markedly filled with homage this season. It feels like a film lovers' film to some degree, though its charms have also reached into the hearts of the audience at large.
It's been a busy morning. The nominees are out. About a thousand different variations of "it's humbling and exciting" are coming through from the various contenders. And all eyes are fixing on February 26. But as we transition into phase two of the 2011-2012 film awards season, it's worth it to pause and consider what we might have learned today.
Each and every year, the eventual slate of Oscar nominations reflects a number of key things about the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Often they solidify already agreed-upon truths, but sometimes other things are illuminated. It's silly, of course, to be overly reductive and chalk the Academy up as a singular entity. It's a wide-ranging group with a bunch of different perspectives bouncing around within its ranks, but nevertheless, when they get together to tap the year's excellence in this and that, it's an eye-opening experience.
The nominees are in and the surprises are few and far between, in my opinion (though others seem to be picking their jaws up off the floor this morning). As I mentioned yesterday, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" caught fire with voters down the stretch and was very much on their lips. The film turned up in the nine-film Best Picture category today, despite being critically disassembled, and that was pretty much the only eyebrow-raiser of the major categories. The film only showed up in one other category: Best Supporting Actor for Max Von Sydow.
"Hugo" led the way with a whopping 11 nominations while "The Artist" wasn't far behind with 10. But what's interesting is that there is a big gap between those two films and the next tier, as "Moneyball" and "War Horse" (which made it into the Best Picture field and was clearly popular throughout, despite its paltry guild showing) landed six each. "The Descendants," meanwhile, landed five (and Shailene Woodley was indeed snubbed, following suit with the indications of SAG last month), as did "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which was snubbed in the Best Picture field after a really strong guild showing.
One last (I presume) set of critics' award nominations before we head into the second stage of Oscar season: the International Conephile Society is made up of over 80 international journalists and film professionals, and that diversity is reflected in the nominations, with "A Separation" topping the list with 10 nominations (including four acting bids, none of them for the superb Sarina Farhadi). I participated in the voting, which probably won't surprise you when you read the nomination tallies for "Weekend" and "Margaret." Full list after the jump.
How many Best Picture nominees will there be? We don't know. Which of the 10 or 11 films in clear contention for a nomination will get squeezed out? We don't know. How will the tweaks to the Best Picture balloting procedure change the situation over all? We don't know.
The Best Picture category is an odd bird this year. Most probably have the same seven or eight films predicted, but there are a lot of variables flying around in the math of it all that could shift things in an unexpected direction. The Academy got its wish: the mystery is back.
Then there are other elements, like how the final stretch has changed the landscape. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," for instance, is a film that ended up on the lips of numerous voters in the last days of balloting. The BAFTA nominees, which share some crossover membership with AMPAS, indicated strength for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" that could carry over, which was expected, but then inserted the added interest of "Drive" being a contender in areas we might not have anticipated.