Category Archives: Daily News and Notes

The 86th Oscars – The Nominations

The 86th Annual Academy Awards

You take the good and you take the bad when it comes to Academy Award nominations, and the initial reaction a lot of people are expressing in social media runs the gamut of from outrage to malaise this morning. “No Surprises!” and “WTF?” seems to be the common refrain. I am feeling a little bit of both.

For the third consecutive year, the Academy anointed nine films in contention for Best Picture of the Year, making a fair and perhaps unintended case that perhaps they should simply return to the mandatory list of 10 films. Leading the pack is American Hustle and Gravity, which scored 10 nominations each, with Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave right on their heels with 9 nominations.

The Academy often have a different reaction to films that pundits and prognosticators think they will love in ways both good and bad. For Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, most were not anticipating Greengrass being left out of the Best Director race and Tom Hanks missing in Best Actor, arguably the most competitive category in years, in terms of worthy contenders. Hanks also was left out of the Supporting Actor race for Saving Mr .Banks, which was summarily dismissed by the Academy, leaving it with a lone Original Score nomination.

Dallas Buyers Club exceeded most expectations, landing an impressive six nominations, which made it far more potent a contender than just a film perceived to be loved for only the acting of first-time acting nominees Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Spike Jonze’s Her and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street were late releases that found room amidst 5 categories each, with Wolf landing two acting citations for Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor) and Jonah Hill (Supporting Actor). Her unexpectedly landed two of its nominations for music (Original Score and Original Song), making Karen O from alternative rock group The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Grammy-winners Arcade Fire unique and exciting first-time Oscar nominees.

Notably, just four films from the first half of 2013 landed more than one nomination. The Lone Ranger (Visual Effects, Makeup & Hairstyling), The Great Gatsby (Production Design, Costume Design), Blue Jasmine (Actress- Cate Blanchett, Supporting Actress- Sally Hawkins, Original Screenplay – Woody Allen), and Despicable Me 2 (Animated Feature, Original Song) were the only films that resonated from early on to any saturation point.

Meryl Streep earned her 18th acting nomination for Best Actress in August: Osage County and Woody Allen earned his 16th writing nomination for his screenplay for Blue Jasmine, extending both of their records for nominations in acting and writing.

Omissions that break my heart: Sarah Polley’s beautiful and challenging documentary Stories We Tell seemed to perhaps push boundaries too far for a fickle Academy branch. Lana Del Rey’s achingly beautiful The Great Gatsby ballad “Young And Beautiful”, and Keith Stanfield’s jaw-dropping rap in the middle of Short Term 12 was left behind for a bizarre and questionable selection from Alone Yet Not Alone, a faith-based film that has direct links to the Academy’s musical director from last year’s broadcast. Hmm.

Not to stamp my foot too loudly, but I really would have been nice to see the powerful and unforgettable independent dramas Short Term 12 and Fruitvale Station mentioned somewhere…anywhere…and the year’s finest female lead performance - Adele Exarchopolous’ fearless, star-making turn in controversial French film Blue Is The Warmest Color was likely not really the contender some thought it might be.

So much to debate and tear apart over the next six weeks. The Oscars are presented on March 2, 2014.

The full list of nominees are after the jump! Read more on The 86th Oscars – The Nominations…

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