|“What? You got a nomination and I didn’t?”|
The day the Oscar nominations are announced is a day for arguments. Mostly, about who didn’t get nominated, as all sorts of articles are written about “snubs.” I find most of these disingenuous, as these articles point out who got snubbed, but don’t go so far as to say who should not have nominated.
But as the Best Actor list was read, and a couple of names were mild surprises, I had to think–“Wow! But who didn’t get nominated?” Turns out that Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio bumped a pair of old hands, Robert Redford and Tom Hanks.
Redford’s snub wasn’t shocking, as he didn’t get a SAG nomination, but Hanks had gotten everything in sight, and his performance as Captain Phillips was his best in years, reminding everyone that he’s not just a personality. The scene at the end, when he succumbs to the shock or his ordeal, is the best acting I’ve seen all year. He also didn’t get nominated for his turn as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, but that film was almost totally shut out (it got a lone nomination for Score), with Emma Thompson also missing out on an expected nomination. Maybe voters saw it like I did–a piece of Disney propaganda. But it’s hard to figure the Phillips snub. I think it was much better than DiCaprio’s exuberant but shallow work in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Anyway, otherwise this year’s Oscar nominations fell pretty much to form. Three films dominated, and those are the films we can expect to win the lion’s share of awards: American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave. As for Hustle, David O. Russell is on some kind of roll. It’s his third Best Picture/Best Director combo in the last four years, and the second consecutive year he’s gotten four actors in all the respective categories nominations, and that’s only happened 15 times in Oscar history. He should have no trouble getting actors for his films in the future.
Gravity becomes only the fifth film to get nominations in every technical category, and will probably win most of them. However, the film did not get a Best Screenplay nomination, which doesn’t bode well for it’s Best Picture chances. The last film to win Best Picture that didn’t get one was Titanic.
12 Years a Slave, I think, is still the front-runner, getting nine nominations in all the right places. Steve McQueen is the third person of African heritage to get a Best Director nomination.
There are some other intrigues. Meryl Streep got her 18th nomination; Woody Allen his 24th (16th in Best Original Screenplay) and John Williams his 49th, which is second only to Walt Disney for individuals. There are also big losing streaks that may or may not be extended. Roger Deakins, nominated for Cinematography for Prisoners, is on his 11th try; Thomas Newman, with that Saving Mr. Banks Score nod, is on his 12th, and 82-year-old Patricia Norris, with a Costume nomination, is on her sixth, her first coming for Days of Heaven 35 years ago.
Other have an embarrassment of riches: Spike Jonze and Alfonso Cuaron both have shots at three statuettes, Jonze for writing, producing and penning the lyrics for a song from Her, and Cuaron directing, producing and editing Gravity. Megan Ellison, at 27 years old, makes us all look like slackers as she has two Best Picture nominations–Her and American Hustle.
Finally, The Wolf of Wall Street has a wonderful distinction–it’s the Best Picture nominee with the most uses of the word “fuck” (I’m guessing in all its wondrous forms)–522. Someone had to count them all.