Oscar Noms

nomnomnomnom . . . Doesn't taste quite right . . .

I guess the biggest fuss has been about Affleck and Bigelow being left out of the directing nominations. I'll admit it was a bit of a surprise. I have no particular love for Bigelow (I find her overrated and self-righteous) but I still expected to see her nominated. I had hoped Affleck might be, but was less surprised by this particular snub.

Was sorry to see Looper didn't get a screenplay nod—sorry, but not surprised. Tight, tight field in writing this year. Was also sorry to see Moonrise Kingdom didn't get any attention for its wonderful art direction. That, to me, seems like one of the grossest injustices of all.

And though we all know I hated The Master, I do think Joaquin Phoenix did a really good job in it, so it's fair to see him nominated. I don't know that I'd have gone so far to give the other actors nods, though. Supporting Actor itself is going to be one of the most challenging fields to predict this year; those are some powerful roles and wonderful actors.

I haven't see Life of Pi but I had a feeling it would get a lot of nominations, and it did, only one shy of Lincoln, which is the leader in noms this year. And yet I have zero desire to see either film. Well, the Oscars aren't about what people want to see, are they? I always have the feeling these awards are about what people think I should see, but that's not really it either. When done right (and we can all admit they aren't always done right) the Academy Awards are about movies done well. You can have great acting in a terrible movie, beautiful art direction in something otherwise mundane, music that moves you in a movie that in every other instance wouldn't, and so on. Certainly the editing in something like Argo is done in such a superb way as to build the tension to enormous degree. It's tricky because a movie is presented as a whole package; disassembling it requires patience, attention, and knowledge. There is an art, then, in and of itself in taking these elements apart and find the places where a film goes above and beyond—where it achieves greatness.

And, unfortunately, not every movie that does something well, nor every actor who excels in a role, can be individually acknowledged for it. This is the art of nominations and awards. Years from now we may say, "What was the Academy thinking?" Because the things that stand up to time are not always obvious in the moment. (Would anyone really say now that Shakespeare in Love—wonderful film that it is—is more deserving than Saving Private Ryan? An obvious example but a real and true one for all that.)

We'll see who steps on whose toes come February 24th.

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