Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Movie Rant: The debate over the Oscar nominations

Every year, film critics and fans around the world get a severe case of amnesia and forget how the Academy Awards often leave us disappointed and bewildered. Every year we come back for more, only to relive disappointment all over again. I think we all keep coming back for more because, deep down, we are waiting for the year when the Oscars do something right -- and start taking risks for once.

I know most people brush off the Oscars as trivial -- and they are, essentially! However, the movie fan in me would just love it if it would actually become what it proclaims to be: a place where true artists are recognized for their body of work. Alas, it's all about gaining viewership and nominating movies and actors that either buy their way in or get nominated purely on popularity and monetary value. So, each year, we go through this cycle again -- wondering why we even bother watching in the first place.

For a full list of this years nominees, click HERE.

The Oscars had the chance to take some risks this year -- we all know they are long overdue, especially since 2011 was such a wonderful year for smaller films like Shame, Take Shelter, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Midnight in Paris, among others. All are worthy contenders, yet only Woody Allen's hit was recognized by the Academy. When I wrote about my disappointment over the SAG Award nominations last month I still held out hope that the Oscars would correct some of their mistakes -- mainly in their decision to not nominate Michael Fassbender, Elizabeth Olsen, Michael Shannon and Andy Serkis. I was mistaken and should have known better.

There are nine Best Picture nominees this year -- they just couldn't make it an even 10 and give the last spot to Shame, eh? They just had to snub what is arguably the best film of the year simply because of its explicit rating? But, I guess no one ever said the Academy wasn't comprised of a bunch of old, backward prudes anyway.

Oddly enough, the best category this year is Best Director (with the exception of Alexander Payne for The Descendants, whose spot should have gone to Steve McQueen for Shame). But it is wonderful to see Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Martin Scorsese (Hugo), Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) and Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) all in the running.

On a lighter note, it's lovely to see Canada get a couple of shout-outs with Philippe Falardeau's Monsieur Lazhar receiving a Best Foreign Language Film nomination and Christopher Plummer's well-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Beginners. It's also nice to see a lot of love for The Artist, Hugo, The Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball (with the awkward exception of Jonah Hill being nominated ...A-BUH?!).

So, what do you think? What do you like or dislike about this years nominations?


  1. Jonah Hill was pretty good in 'Moneyball'! Admittedly, the fact that he has a chance of earning the 'best' supporting role award may be something of a stretch.

    1. He was good ...but basically the Academy is saying he deserved a spot over someone like Andy Serkis, which doesn't seem right. But, I know he won't win, so ...