Nods play out predictably

It seems like just yesterday that I was bitching about The Dark Knight’s Christopher Nolan getting snubbed by the Academy for a Best Director nod. Why wouldn’t I have considered then that history would repeat itself this year as well?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yesterday the nominees for the 83rd annual Academy Awards were announced and, as always, there were a number of oversights, both expected and unanticipated.

As mentioned, the most glaring omission this year was the exclusion of Inception director Christopher Nolan, who remains, unfathomably, without an Oscar nomination to his credit. I, for one, believe that Nolan provided, in the very least, the second best directed film of the year.

David O. Russell and his very uneven approach to The Fighter stole Nolan’s spot amongst the Best Director nominees. That is by far the biggest snub of the year.

Almost everything else played out as expected though, with most of my qualms coming from personal preference over anything else.

I still don’t think that James Franco deserved to be nominated ahead of the likes of Blue Valentine’s Ryan Gosling or Get Low’s Robert Duvall. Hell, there were a number of potential Best Actors that simply faded from the spotlight come nomination time who should have been nominated ahead of Franco.

Probably none more so than Ryan Reynolds, who was unrightfully ignored for his bravura performance in Buried. There were two choices this year for “men getting trapped alone” performances, and the Academy simply went with the wrong one.

It’s really great to see veteran character actor John Hawkes finally get recognized for his work in Winter’s Bone this year, but I’m not sure I agree with giving Jeremy Renner a nod for the second consecutive year over the likes of Andrew Garfield from The Social Network.

Personally, I felt that Sam Rockwell (for Conviction) and Mark Strong (Kick-Ass) merited some praise, but there just didn’t seem to be any way that was going to happen.

I’m extremely glad that we no longer have to worry about referring to Mila Kunis as an Academy Award Nominated Actress, though. She just wasn’t particularly good in Black Swan and I can’t fathom how she got as much appreciation as she did up until this point.

I would have put Kunis’ co-star Barbara Hershey into the category, but I’m also glad newcomer Hailee Steinfeld garnered her first nod as well. So, I can’t really complain about the Best Supporting Actress category.

Covering the rest of the “not-as-important” categories, there was a not-so-surprising lack of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in some of the visual categories. It’s definitely not a very “Oscar-esque” type of movie, but if nothing else, the sound and visual effects were top-notch. It should have received something.

I haven’t yet seen either How To Train Your Dragon or The Illusionist, but I am still irked by the exclusion of Tangled in the Best Animated Feature category. Very few things bother me more than having less than five nominees in a category, so despite the fact that Pixar will most likely take the award with Toy Story 3, why not bother filling the category and acknowledging some other deserving films? Yes, it is all part of the Academy’s “rules”, but that rule is stupid. There. I said it.

Overall though, the Academy did a decent job this year. Save for that director omission, there weren’t any real surprises. Of course I would have preferred to see a couple of “non-Oscar” movies make the cut, but when does that ever happen?

It was a pretty shitty year for movies, so at least most of the good ones were rewarded with nominations. Now let’s sit back and watch a sure sweep by David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and the rest of The Social Network.