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Academy Award Nominations 2012

Submitted by on January 24, 2012 – 1:55 pm 21 Comments
oscars 2012

I’m sure you’ve heard the nominations so I’ll just share some of my reactions to them. For the most part, I like the nominees but of course, there were a few omissions I wasn’t happy about. First, where’s the Ryan Gosling love for best actor? He had a stellar year, starring in three different films and was outstanding in all of them, most notably Drive. I can only assume his absence from the shortlist is because Academy members couldn’t decide which of his performances to vote for.

Michael Fassbender’s work in Shame is also woefully missing from the same category. It’s brave and raw, and he made a difficult character sympathetic. I’m glad Demián Bichir got a nod, though I don’t know why people found that shocking since he was nominated for a SAG Award.

Rapace as Lisbeth

Rooney Mara did just fine as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but if anyone deserved a nomination for playing that role, it should’ve been the fierce, original Lisbeth, Noomi Rapace (here‘s what I thought of her performance). I don’t know anyone who’s seen both versions who doesn’t agree.

I have no problem with Albert Brooks being omitted from the best supporting actor race. Why should someone get a nomination for playing against type? It should be because the performance is remarkable, right? His work was solid as the gangster in Drive, but I didn’t find it exceptional or among the best of the year.

McGregor with Cosmo in BEGINNERS, Photo: Focus Features

Best Supporting Actor is the weakest out of the acting categories for me. Why is Christopher Plummer the front runner? I liked Beginners and his performance as a gay man who’s liberated by the death of his wife, but it wasn’t more outstanding than anything else he’s done in the past. Ewan McGregor, Melanie Laurent, and Goran Visnjic (maybe even Cosmo the Jack Russell terrier) moved me more in that movie. Plummer’s nomination smells like a lifetime award thing.

I also didn’t find Kenneth Branagh’s work in My Week with Marilyn to be anything special and don’t mean that as an insult. He was just, you know, doing his usual Branagh thing. One of the slots in this category should’ve gone to Sir Ben Kingsley, who got snubbed despite being Hugo‘s most valuable player on screen.

Speaking of which, Hugo got the most nominations of any film? Puh-leeze. I completely agree with best cinematography, visual effects, and art direction, but most of the rest were generous.

I also don’t understand Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close being nominated for best picture, but I’m not alone here so enough said. I do agree with the Academy leaving Bridesmaids out of the best picture category. Yes, it made me laugh a couple times, but the fact people thought it deserved to be among the best movies of the year confounded me. This is not because I’m against comedies getting Oscar love; I’m very much for that. Bridesmaids just wasn’t that comedy.

So, my winner predictions for the lead categories are:

Best PictureThe Artist

Best Actor—George Clooney (though I’d love a Jean Dujardin upset)

Best Actress—Viola Davis  (but am rooting for Michelle Williams, who’ll get my vote in the SAG Awards this weekend)

Best Supporting Actor—Christopher Plummer

Best Supporting Actress—Octavia Spencer

Best Director—Michel Hazanavicius

Here are the major nominees:


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)

The Tree of Life (Nominees to be determined)

War Horse (Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers)

Moneyball (Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers)


Demián Bichir, A Better Life

George Clooney, The Descendants

Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Brad Pitt, Moneyball


Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn

Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Nick Nolte, Warrior

Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close


Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Viola Davis, The Help

Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn


Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

Jessica Chastain, The Help

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Octavia Spencer, The Help


The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius

The Descendants, Alexander Payne

Hugo, Martin Scorsese

Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick

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


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

Click here for the full list. What did you think of the nominations?



  • EIREGO says:

    Gosling and Fassbender being omitted are indeed head scratchers, but I am really irritated that WARRIOR didn’t get a nom. Nolte was a standout in that film so at least he got a nod, but the film itself being overlooked is just criminal.

  • Lauren says:

    Gah. Stopped reading after “Midnight in Paris.” Though I suppose I would support a nomination solely for that one Hemingway line (after which I spent the rest of the movie watching “Airplane!” on the movie screen in my head and had a much improved time for it).

    I love Christopher Plummer, but couldn’t make it through Beginners. Which probably means I shouldn’t even comment.

    But on another front upon which I should not comment, I didn’t even see the Fincher Girl version yet and can’t fathom anyone more worthy of a nom than Rapace.

    I also agree with the exclusion of Bridesmaids. Yes, it had funny moments and I’m all for female leads and female humor. But to me, it felt like a Judd Apatow movie with chicks. I, for one, think we’re cleverer than bathroom humor (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Wow, I obviously picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.

    And with the Airplane! callback, we will “End scene!”

  • Poncho says:

    I was expecting this post the whole day! Haha!

    I’m also somewhat happy with the nominations list.

    I believe both Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer are shoe-ins for the stautuette, so they better prepare great speeches. Spencer was fantastic and Plummer was OK (I think his only “real competition” is Nick Nolte, who I loved in Warrior)

    I think Bridesmaids got what nominations it deserved. The wonderful Melissa McCarthy (who was unexplicably snubbed by the Globes) has had a terrific year and the Oscar nom is the glazing on the cake.

    I agree with you that both Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling should be in the list, but I don’t know in whose place. If you put a gun to my head, I might say Brad Pitt is the least deserving in the list. Ryan Gosling has had two fantastic years in a row, both of which the Academy failed to acknowledge (Blue Valentine, Drive, The Ides of March).

    About Demián Bichir, I’m quite glad to see him there. Not just because he’s mexican and perhaps one of the best thespians ‘ere, but A Better Life is his best work ever.

    By the way, I’m wishing for a Dujardin + Williams upset as well!

    And I know it’s very controversial, but I would’ve nominated Andy Serkis in the Supporting Actor category for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I know the movie wasn’t the cat’s pajamas, but he was the soul of the film. I’m not sure why performance capture doesn’t quite qualify as acting when -from all that I know- it really is. Just because the actor’s body per se isn’t in the movie, it doesn’t mean performance wasn’t filmed. Andy Serkis made Caesar, as well as he made Gollum in 2002 & 2003 (and King Kong a few years later)… And then, next year it will be difficult for him to get a nom, since his -I’m sure it will be- genious performance as Gollum in The Hobbit films will be considered a repeat.

    But then, let’s see what happens in the ceremony.

  • Sorry, I’m still sulking over the Uggie omission. Wouldn’t that have given some pizzaz to the Actor in a Supporting Role category. And imagine how easily he’d climb the stairs if he won.

  • The comparisons in between Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara are infinitely interesting because Rooney played the better punk girl, but Noomi played the better Lisbeth. She didn’t look punk as much as a dystopian orphan, but you know, Lisbeth is a special character. She has a strength and a flame burning withint and I thought Noomi carried that a lot better.

    • Pop Culture Nerd says:

      I think if someone has never seen Rapace’s performance, they’d feel Mara was a perfectly believable Lisbeth. She looks closer in age to how Lisbeth was described in the books (your “dystopian orphan” label is on the nose). But Rapace’s shadow looms so large in the minds of those who have seen the Swedish version that the comparison is unavoidable.

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