Oscar Nominations 2012


24 January 2012| No Comments on Oscar Nominations 2012     by Sean Chavel


The 84th Academy Award nominations have been released and “Hugo” leads the pack with 11 nominations. While I think the top prizes will elude Martin Scorsese’s child fantasy film, I believe it will clean up in the technical categories. The black & white silent film “The Artist” has 10 nominations, and better chances in the top categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor Jean Dujardin, Best Supporting Actress Berenice Bejo, and Best Director Michel Hazanavicius. As for the race of conventional narrative films, “The Descendants” could sneak by and win Best Picture, Best Actor for George Clooney, Best Director Alexander Payne, and will most certainly win Best Adapted Screenplay for Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. 

“Moneyball” and “War Horse” represent admirably with six nominations apiece, both nabbing a Best Picture nomination. The former was an intelligent inside-look of how the business intertwines with strategy when it comes to Major League Baseball, and scribes Steven Zallian and Aaron Sorkin contributed to certainly one of the stand-out screenplays of the year – it’s the only screenplay that could upset “The Descendants.” As for “War Horse,” it hasn’t caught the wave of hullaballoo and is more of a third runner-up type in most of its competing categories.

The biggest surprise of the entire nominations roster is the inclusion of Demian Bichir as Best Actor for “A Better Life” as an underpaid Mexican gardener and disheartened father.  Also in the running for Best Actor are Gary Oldman for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Pitt for “Moneyball,” and front-runners Clooney for “The Descendants” and Dujardin for “The Artist.” Clooney has dialogue to work with in his film, while Dujardin shows off his tapping shoes. Both performers tapped into some deep emotional range, however, and until Oscar night they will be in deadlock with one another.

But the biggest omission of all could be no Best Actor Oscar nomination for Michael Fassbender. His work in “A Dangerous Method” and “Jane Eyre” was remarkably old-school and yet marked with a sinister edge. But his most acclaimed work was in the NC-17 film “Shame” where his character’s compulsive masturbating could have spurred some Academy members to walk out before giving the film a chance to impact them. It would have been the first ever nomination for an NC-17 film. Previously, Ewan McGregor was overlooked as Best Actor for the NC-17 film “Young Adam” (2003).

For Best Actress, the odds-on leader is Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady.” Streep has the most nominations in history with 17. She has won twice before for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979, supporting) and “Sophie’s Choice” (1982, leading). Viola Davis is nominated for “The Help,” Michelle Williams for “My Week with Marilyn,” Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs” and Rooney Mara, as the only possible Streep upset, for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

The usually interesting Best Supporting Actor race is ho-hum this year. Nick Nolte played a self-cauterizing alcoholic and former boxer who bounces back to sobriety to train his sons in martial arts fighting in “Warrior.” Max von Sydow has been a wonderful actor for half a century, but did we really need to see him nominated for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close?” Jonah Hill steals some scenes in “Moneyball,” Kenneth Branagh plays Sir Laurence Olivier in “My Week with Marilyn,” and Christopher Plummer is the category stand-out as an elderly man coming out of the closet in “Beginners.” One of the biggest omissions is the unrecognized Albert Brooks as Best Supporting Actor for “Drive.”

For Best Supporting Actress, you almost expected the entire category just to nominate the women from “The Help.” Two from the film were nominated, Jessica Chastain and odds-on favorite Octavia Spencer. Melissa McCarthy crapped her way (pun intended) into a nomination for “Bridesmaids,” Janet McTeer got one for “Albert Nobbs” and, of course, Bejo for “The Artist,” the real sparkle of that film. If Bejo wins, she would be the prettiest of all women to win an award on Oscar night (just an observation). She would stop Spencer from giving another speech after her tedious thank-you-thon on Golden Globes night.

Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” will likely win him another Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (it’s his 15th nomination, and could be his third win following 1977’s “Annie Hall” and 1986’s “Hannah and Her Sisters”). The witty Parisian fantasy was also nominated for Best Picture, and the Woodman himself got his first Best Director nomination since 1994’s “Bullets Over Broadway.”

Cannes Palm d’ Or winner and cult favorite “The Tree of Life” earned three Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Terrence Malick for Best Director, and Best Cinematography. Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain were overlooked for their acting participation, and so were the unique visual effects.

The Best Documentary Feature category failed to recognize the two most entertaining documentaries of the year: “Tabloid” and “Project Nim.” And “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” was a box office success that failed to get a nom. Best Animated Feature category ignored box office cash cows like “The Adventures of Tin Tin” and “Cars 2” in favor of two obscure animated imports. But “Rango,” “Puss in Boots” and “Kung Fu Panda 2” represent.

The oddest category is Best Original Song with only two nominations dispensed (“The Muppets” and “Rio” represent), ignoring a field of others. That means no Elton John on Oscar night (he has been campaigning for his song performance in “Gnomeo & Juliet” which was an otherwise dreadful kiddie pic).

Other surprising snubs include no screenplay or directing nominations for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and zero nominations for David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method.” Cronenberg is one of the great film directors of our time, and yet has not been nominated. Not once.

List of nominations:

Best Picture

“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer
“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer
“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined
“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”
George Clooney in “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”
Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte in “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”
Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis in “The Help”
Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain in “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer in “The Help”


“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” Alexander Payne
“Hugo” Martin Scorsese
“Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen
“The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick

Animated Feature Film

“A Cat in Paris” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
“Chico & Rita” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
“Kung Fu Panda 2” Jennifer Yuh Nelson
“Puss in Boots” Chris Miller
“Rango” Gore Verbinski

Art Direction

“The Artist” Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“Midnight in Paris” Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
“War Horse” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales


“The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth
“Hugo” Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

“Anonymous” Lisy Christl
“The Artist” Mark Bridges
“Hugo” Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” Michael O’Connor
“W.E.” Arianne Phillips

Documentary (Feature)

“Hell and Back Again” Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Pina” Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
“Undefeated” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
“God Is the Bigger Elvis” Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
“Incident in New Baghdad”James Spione
“Saving Face” Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

“The Artist” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
“The Descendants” Kevin Tent
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” Thelma Schoonmaker
“Moneyball” Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

“Bullhead” Belgium
“Footnote” Israel
“In Darkness” Poland
“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada
“A Separation” Iran


“Albert Nobbs” Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Iron Lady” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams
“The Artist” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse” John Williams

Music (Original Song)

“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Sound Editing

“Drive” Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Ren Klyce
“Hugo” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
“War Horse” Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
“Hugo” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
“Moneyball” Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
“War Horse” Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
“Hugo” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
“Real Steel” Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan
“The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
“Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius
“Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
“Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor
“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen
“A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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