A Look at the 2011 Oscars


Oscar nominations are in and the web is on fire. “The King’s Speech” leads the pack with 12 nominations, where as media darling “The Social Network” has eight. Of course, eight noms is nothing to scoff at. It’s a great accomplishment; however, it’s a bit of a surprise. But before I get into that, let’s talk about the snubs as there were quite a few depending on who you were rooting for.

The first glaring omission is Christopher Nolan as director. “Inception” — which rocked the box office this summer by bringing in over $900 million worldwide — earned eight nominations. Yet the Academy didn’t think the man behind the successful hit deserved to be nominated for his great work. Well, not necessarily. Ever since the Best Film category changed from five to 10, things have been a bit screwy. However, didn’t the Academy open the race up because of the huge fallout that followed when “The Dark Knight” was snubbed for Best Picture? Maybe the voters don’t like Nolan very much.

“Tron: Legacy” received only one nomination (for sound editing) and it wasn’t in the correct category. How can the Academy ignore the jaw-dropping motorcycle scene? The “Hereafter” nom for visual effects makes no sense to me. Yes, the tsunami looked fantastic but it wasn’t even on the same level of the computer-animated visuals in “Tron.” The only reason the Matt Damon supernatural flick was nominated is because the voters love anything Eastwood does.

“Despicable Me” was pretty much loved by all. Yet it got no love from the Academy. Here’s a thought, how about opening up the Animation category to five spots instead of three. “Legends of the Guardian” was also worthy of some recognition and so was “Tangled.”

“Shutter Island” was released too soon. Because of the February release date, the excellent film was totally forgotten. Leonardo DiCaprio was compelling, and Mark Ruffulo (who did earn a Best Supporting nomination for “The Kid’s Are All Right”) was terrific. A step outside the conventional, the Kuberick-esque “Island” is definitely one of Martin Scorsese’s best works.

A few actors were overlooked as well, but that’s to be expected with such a tight race. There were many great performances last year. Michelle Williams was magnificent in “Blue Valentine” and so was Ryan Gosling, yet “The Notebook” actor didn’t make the cut. I couldn’t see him edging out Jeff Bridges, whose interpretation of Rooster Cogburn eclipses that of legendary John Wayne. Javier Bardem will be a lock until he retires.

Although Jesse Eisenberg earned a Best Actor nom for his work in “The Social Network,” his supporting actor, Andrew Garfield did not. I understand this decision. Garfield, although excellent in “Network’s” third act, wasn’t as captivating as his peers.

Mila Kunis was expected to be nominated, but the competition overshadowed her portrayal of the temptress Lily in “The Black Swan.” Through no fault of her own, there wasn’t much to the character because she was purposefully underwritten.

The last omission that comes to mind is for the powerful documentary “Waiting for Superman.” The film, about our faltering educational system, was widely discussed and was expected to win. Its snub boggles the mind; I can only assume the deliberate oversight is political. But that pretty much sums up most of the Academy’s choices as a whole.

Save for John Hawke’s nomination for “Winter’s Bone” and the nod for “The Illusionist,” there weren’t many surprises this year. Yet I expect when the awards are handed out there will be. As I mentioned earlier, “The King’s Speech” was nominated for 12 Oscars, and “The Social Network” eight. This doesn’t necessarily mean the film chronicling King George the VI’s battle with a speech impediment will win. “The Social Network” has won several awards from reputable organizations. Come Feb. 27, David Fincher and Sony Pictures could very well end up being the big winner.

Oscar Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway

Here are the Nominees:

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
127 Hours
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
James Franco (127 Hours)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale (The Fighter)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Best Documentary Short Subject

Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

Best Short Film (Animated)

Day & Night Teddy Newton
The Gruffalo Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
Let’s Pollute Geefwee Boedoe
The Lost Thing Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary) Bastien Dubois

Best Short Film (Live Action)

The Confession Tanel Toom
The Crush Michael Creagh
God of Love Luke Matheny
Na Wewe Ivan Goldschmidt
Wish 143 Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Achievement in Art Direction

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Achievement in Cinematography

Black Swan (Matthew Libatique)
Inception (Wally Pfister)
The King’s Speech (Danny Cohen)
The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth)
True Grit (Roger Deakins)

Achievement in Costume Design

Alice in Wonderland (Colleen Atwood)
I Am Love (Antonella Cannarozzi)
The King’s Speech (Jenny Beaven)
The Tempest (Sandy Powell)
True Grit (Mary Zophres)

Achievement in Directing

Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

Best Documentary Feature

Exit through the Gift Shop Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)
Gasland Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)
Inside Job Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)
Restrepo Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)
Waste Land Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)

Achievement in Makeup

Barney’s Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman

Achievement in Film Editing

Black Swan (Andrew Weisblum)
The Fighter (Pamela Martin)
The King’s Speech (Tariq Anwar)
127 Hours (Jon Harris)
The Social Network (Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall)

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Hors la Loi (Algeria)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

How to Train Your Dragon (John Powell)
Inception (Hans Zimmer)
The King’s Speech (Alexandre Desplat)
127 Hours (A.R. Rahman)
The Social Network (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)

“Coming Home” from Country Strong Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from Tangled Music and Lyric by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Achievement in Sound Editing

Toy Story 3
TRON: Legacy
True Grit

Achievement in Sound Mixing

The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Achievement in Visual Effects

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Iron Man 2

Adapted Screenplay

127 Hours (Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle)
The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin)
Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini)

Original Screenplay

Another Year (Mike Leigh)
The Fighter (Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silverand Paul Tamasy)
Inception (Christopher Nolan)
The Kids are All Right (Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko)
The King’s Speech (David Seidler)

. . .

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2 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. matt #

    Nothing really surprised me outside of Nolan.

  2. 2

    Nice article Sherice. The only thing I disagree with is on “Despicable Me”. I didn’t care for that movie, I didn’t think it was as funny as some people thought. I also didn’t get the impression that it was well received by critics.

    On “Shutter Island” I think you hit the nail right on the head. The movie was released way too early. Actually, if I remember correctly that movie was supposed to have a December 2009 release date. I don’t know why they changed it. Whatever the reason, it hurt them. Island had strong acting, directing, visuals and cinematography. It’s too bad that the Academy has such short memories.

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