Oscar Eye: Nolan Snubbed, Bardem Surprises, And More Nomination Analysis

By Katey Rich 2011-01-25 07:47:24discussion comments
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Oscar Eye: Nolan Snubbed, Bardem Surprises, And More Nomination Analysis image
First things first: the full list of Oscar nominations is available here. Let's start with the big one: Christopher Nolan didn't get the Best Director nomination that he seemed headed for through this entire awards season, one to match the Director's Guild nomination he snagged a few weeks ago and the one the collective Internet would have given him three times by now. Instead Nolan's place in the Best Director lineup was taken by Joel & Ethan Coen, whose True Grit walked away with acting nominations for stars Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld plus a screenplay nod; even though the Coens were triumphant with No Country for Old Men just a few years ago, it's clear their shine has not worn off for the Academy.

Another story of a young girl trekking across the American wilderness scored big this morning, as Debra Granik's Winter's Bone made its way into the Best Picture top ten, got a Best Adapted Screenplay nominations and snagged acting nominations for stars Jennifer Lawrence (Best Actress) and John Hawkes (Best Supporting Actor) as well. Winter's Bone was the great indie success story of this year's awards season, and had to make it past other Best Picture competition like The Town (snubbed except for Jeremy Renner's well-deserved Best Supporting Actor nomination) and 127 Hours (also squeaking into the Best Picture top ten) to get there. Clearly some Academy members put in the screener for this small-scale film over the holidays and liked what they saw.

Probably the biggest surprise of the morning was see Javier Bardem's work in Biutiful nominated for Best Actor, meaning Robert Duvall for Get Low and Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine both missed out. Beyond that I actually managed to predict the other three acting categories perfectly-- including what some see as surprise nods for Animal Kingdom's Jacki Weaver and Hawkes-- though you wouldn't know it, given that I utterly forgot to post my final nomination predictions (I blame the high altitude Sundance madness). I failed to predict the Coens beating Nolan for the Best Director spot, like virtually everyone else, but I did put 127 Hours in for the Best Picture lineup at the last minute, meaning my prediction of the 10 was correct as well. Of course the first year I manage to predict the Oscars with anything approaching accuracy, I forget to put it online to prove it.

As far as overall totals of nominations go, The King's Speech cruised ahead of the rest of the competition with 12 nods to, say The Social Network's eight or The Fighter's seven. It's an interesting statistic that could turn out to mean nothing-- The Color Purple was famously nominated for 11 awards and won zero of them-- but it could indicate that The King's Speech traditional Oscar-friendliness really does give it an edge over critical darling The Social Network. That's bound to be the narrative of the coming weeks leading up to the ceremony, especially since so much else seems sewn up-- Fincher's got his Director statue coming, Sorkin his Best Adapted Screenplay, Natalie Portman her Best Actress statue. The one major category that seems slightly up for grabs is Best Supporting Actress, and once I get back from Sundance we'll look into that in depth and see where we're going from here. But generally it's going to be a looooong four weeks until the ceremony, as people like me try to pretend things are still up in the air when, for the most part, they're not at all.

More Oscar analysis to come as the season moves forward. For now, for me, it's back to Sundance, which hosted the premieres of two of this year's Best Picture nominees-- Winter's Bone and The Kids Are All Right. See, I'm using my time here in the mountains to already scope out next year's season!
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