The nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards have been announced and they have everyone saying the same four words - "The Secret of Kells?" Yes, "the animated story of the boy behind the famed Book of Kells" (as goes the IMDB synopsis) grabbed one of the five slots for Best Animated Feature. It has to be the biggest surprise of the morning just because nobody has ever heard of it. But there were certainly a few others as well.
THE FIVE BIGGEST SNUBS (not involving The Secret of Kells)
1.Invictus for Best Picture
This is what qualifies as a snub despite many of us being aware that it was in the bottom five (maybe even the bottom three) for consideration. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon both got their nominations. Eastwood was on everyone's list as a potential wild card for Director, but the lukewarm response must have finally caught up with it and the Academy chose to go with a bad box office success (The Blind Side) than a decent box office disappointment.
2. (500) Days of Summer for Best Original Screenplay
The best thing that can be said about this snub is that it didn't involve being replaced by either Avatar or The Hangover. It was The Messenger that took its place, taking a little but not all of the sting out of it for Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
3. Julianne Moore for Best Supporting Actress
In the category that opened the nominees, we must have all been a little worried that we were in for a surprise-filled morning. Penelope Cruz has been in the conversation all through awards season, but the Nine backlash figured her for the cutting room floor. But Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart? The least believable aspect (her character, not the performance) of the entire film? Mo'Nique, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick were the only true locks, so it's not out there to suggest the other two were up for grabs. But you could have gone with Diane Kruger or Samantha Morton and not drawn as much attention to the snubbing.
4. Christian McKay for Best Supporting Actor
A snub of pure quality over any actual surprise. McKay was a longshot going in. After the BAFTA nomination a few weeks ago over Christopher Plummer, I honestly thought he would be the surprise of the morning, but alas they chose one average film over another and just picked the wrong performance. McKay as Orson Welles was nothing short of extraordinary. A one man show eclipsing everything that when I saw the film at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008 (when it didn't have distribution), I said if it was released in 2009 McKay would be a lock for a nomination. Wrong about that. Not wrong about how far more deserving he was over Plummer, Damon (for Invictus)
5. District 9 for Best Makeup
Do the makeup voters go out of their way to snub a fantasy film so they can nominate a film where the makeup involves more lipstick and powder than prosthetics? Can you remember what was so terrific about the makeup in The Young Victoria? Bet you all remember the moment when Sharlto Copley first revealed that alien arm though. I don't think Emily Blunt aged at all in that film. Maybe if Gilliam put a little more rouge on Christopher Plummer in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus it would have had a shot.
Other things to note about this morning's nominees:
APPARENTLY ONE NOMINATION IS ENOUGH
The Blind Side and A Serious Man received the least amount of nominations for a Best Picture nominee since Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). That film's second nomination was for Original Screenplay, just like A Serious Man. The Blind Side was for Best Actress.
HEY, I GOT MORE THAN YOU DID! WHAT GIVES?
Nine (4), Star Trek (4), Crazy Heart (3), The Princess And The Frog (3) and The Young Victoria (3) all received more Oscar nominations than Best Picture contenders, The Blind Side and A Serious Man. Also receiving two nominations - Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Invictus, The Last Station, The Messenger, Sherlock Holmes, The White Ribbon. But no Best Picture nod.
ART IMITATING LIFE
If we take into account the true-life accounts of An Education and Precious, then 9 of the 20 acting nominees portrayed real-life individuals.
WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING ACTING OR WRITING
Avatar becomes just the 6th film since 1981 to receive a Best Picture nomination without receiving either a single writing or acting nomination. The others are: Master & Commander (2003), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Mission (1986) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
CALL OFF JESSE JACKSON
Lee Daniels becomes the first African-American to be nominated for Best Director since John Singleton (Boyz n The Hood)
in 1991. Not to mention Morgan Freeman, Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique being up for acting awards.
DID YOU SEE THAT COMING IN AUGUST?
If you had told people that Peter Jackson would receive a producing nomination for District 9 and nothing for The Lovely Bones, I suppose it is time to let you out of the mental institution.
CONGRATS TO THE FIRST-TIMERS
Congratulations to Sandra Bullock, Vera Farmiga, Colin Firth, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Carey Mulligan, Mo'Nique, Christopher Plummer, Jeremy Renner, Gabourey Sidibe , Stanley Tucci and Christoph Waltz on their first Oscar nominations.
COGNRATS TO THE OLD HAT
Congratulations to Matt Damon and Woody Harrelson on their second nominations, George Clooney & Penelope Cruz for their third, Helen Mirren her fourth, Morgan Freeman and Jeff Bridges for their fifth and Meryl Streep for her record-holding 16th.
TRIVIA: WHAT DO JEFF BRIDGES, MATT DAMON MORGAN FREEMAN AND MERYL STREEP HAVE IN COMMON?
They have all been nominated for Oscars making films with Clint Eastwood.
CERTAINLY NOT A CAREER NOMINATION
In-between Oscar winner Crash and current nominee, The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock headlined The Proposal, Premonition, Miss Congeniality 2 and All About Steve.
CAN YOU BELIEVE?
That Carter Burwell still hasn't received an Oscar nomination for Original Score? Even with scores this year for A Serious Man, Where the Wild Things Are and The Blind Side. Meanwhile, James Horner received his 7th nomination for Avatar. With all the disqualifications each year over composers implementing previously orchestrated music into their scores, how come Horner continues to qualify for using his usual "ba-da-da-DUH" tones in each of his?
THE SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP ROOM
CNN apparently believes the Director race comes down to James Cameron and Lee Daniels. Yeah, hello, Kathryn Bigelow? 52 of the last 56 DGA winners have won the Oscar. That's just the kind of expert punditry we have come to expect from The Situation Room. Even on Oscar nomination morning they are avoiding the facts about the Iraq war.
THE MARRIAGE REF
So how many stories will play up the Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron "ex" factor now that each of their films tied with the most nominations (9) this year? Cameron's eight feature films have received a grand total of 41 Oscar nominations including 3 for acting and two each for Best Picture & Director. His last six films (including Avatar) have been nominated for Best Visual Effects. To date, only True Lies lost that category (to Forrest Gump.) This is the first of Bigelow's eight features to receive a single Oscar nomination. (And she is going to win Best Director.)
IS THEIR MEMORY GETTING BETTER?
Four of the ten Best Picture nominees (District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds and Up) were all released last summer as opposed to the other six, released from October on.
17 of the 20 acting nominees were in films released in the fourth quarter of 2009.
BOX OFFICE CONUNDRUM
The Blind Side to date has grossed more than The Hurt Locker, An Education, Precious, A Serious Man and Up In The Air combined. It has also grossed more than Inglorious Basterds and District 9 combined. Half of the Best Picture nominees have grossed over $100 million
YAY FOR SUNDANCE
Burma VJ, The Cove, An Education, The Messenger and Precious all debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and grabbed a total of 13 nominations. Could we be seeing Catfish, The Tillman Story and Winter's Bone in next year's race?
9 - Avatar, The Hurt Locker
8 - Inglourious Basterds
6 - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, Up In The Air
5 - Up
4 - District 9, Nine, Star Trek
3 - Crazy Heart, An Education, The Princess And The Frog, The Young Victoria
2 - The Blind Side, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Invictus, The Last Station, The Messenger, A Serious Man, Sherlock Holmes, The White Ribbon
COMPLETELY SHUT OUT (FOR THE WORSE)
(500) Days of Summer, Away We Go, Moon, Where The Wild Things Are
COMPLETELY SHUT OUT (FOR THE BETTER)
The Hangover, Public Enemies, The Twilight Saga: New Moon
THERE IS A GOD
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is not in the running for Best Visual Effects
13 - Weinstein Co.
12 - Sony Classics
9 - Fox, Summit
8 - Disney
7 - Lions Gate, Warner Bros.
6 - Paramount
5 - Fox Searchlight, Sony/Tri-Star
4 - Apparition
3 - Focus, Oscilloscope
1 - First Run, IFC, Magnolia, Music Box Films
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