On Twitter: @JamesEpplerThe Oscar nominations
are especially baffling to my mind this year, especially with regard to the Best Picture category. A change in the nominating process means that any number of films between five and ten could make the cut.
We got nine - such a weird number. It's easy to tell where the real competition is among those by looking at the Best Director category. That means "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Hugo," "Midnight in Paris" and "The Tree of Life" are probably the ones to watch.
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" managed to make it into the Best Picture race with just one other nomination - Best Supporting Actor. In fairness, I haven't seen the film yet, but as of right now it has a "rotten" 48 percent rating at RottenTomatoes.com.
It looks like "War Horse" made it into the race based on being pretty. Its other nominations come in Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound and Music.
Originally I was a proponent of expanding the Best Picture category past five choices. But results like these have me reconsidering. It all comes down to the voters, though. There were surely enough deserving movies.
It makes me sad the "Harry Potter" series ends without one of its movies making the list of Best Picture nominees. This last one sure deserved it.
It's also a bit galling to think that "Real Steel" and "Transformers 3" go the same number of nominations as "Drive," which was one of the year's best movies. The voters sure didn't seem to like it. Even Albert Brooks playing against type as a ruthless villain was shut out of the Supporting Actor race.
And poor Ryan Gosling. The guy deserved to be nominated for "Drive," or at least "The Ides of March." Even "Crazy Stupid Love" found him turning in good work. But he goes 0-3 with the Oscars. Did he just split his votes too many times?
I feel equally bad for Michael Fassbender, who turned in the best and bravest performance of the year in "Shame." But the NC-17 rating probably scared Academy members, or they are too concerned about the reputation of the Awards to nominate a character like the one he played. Shameful indeed. At least the Golden Globes had the, um, globes to nominate him.
In the Best Animated Feature category, the Academy seems to think "Puss in Boots," and "Kung Fu Panda 2" were better than "The Adventures of Tintin," which won the Golden Globe. That's insane. Another one called "A Cat in Paris" got included - maybe some voters thought it was a Woody Allen movie?
The Oscars did get a few surprises right:
I love the nomination for Nick Nolte as the recovering alcoholic father from "Warrior," a movie I really liked.
And kudos to voters for recognizing good comedy with the nomination of Melissa McCarthy from "Bridesmaids," and Kristen Wiig for writing it.
I'm also pleased with the inclusion of Gary Oldman in the Best Actor category for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." That is a wonderful and understated performance.
I also like seeing the hilarious song "Man or Muppet" nominated from "The Muppets." But only one other song was added to the category. Huh? Did they just not want to make time to perform them all in the broadcast?
As a whole, this is one year where the Golden Globes made more right choices than the Oscars. I asked the Oscars last month to fix what the Globes screwed up
. I take it back.