With the announcement of the Oscar nominations this morning,
the Academy once again has unleashed a stinging slap to my pretensions to
In short, I got seven wrong out of 34, or about 77%. At best a C+ and short of
my average of 80-85%.
As usual, though, I'm wrong for all the right reasons. The theory
was sound, but the application was faulty. Allowing rationalizations like, well,
instead of the warhorse Steven Spielberg for his ostentatious epic "War Horse"
they gave a Best Director
Nomination to warhorse Terrence Malick for his equally ostentatious if far more
eccentric epic "The Tree of Life."
All right, maybe I was
blind-sided by "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" getting a Best Picture nomination. This film came out late, got bad or blah
reviews (I did not see it) with some suggesting that it was shamelessly
manipulative and exploitative of 9/11. Oh, and Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are
in it -- maybe that has something to do with it. But Max Von Sydow over Albert
Brooks in "Drive" for Best
Supporting Actor? Von Sydow's a legend, but really, from what I can tell this
is no Seventh Seal. Maybe the Academy Members were put off that Brooks's ruthless gangster character was once
a movie producer of B movies that, as he puts it, "some critics thought were European."
Whatever the case, I'm most annoyed by the fact that now I'm probably going to
have to see the damn thing.
As for Best Actor, somehow I knew that a Demian Bichir nomination
was going to bite my ass. Once again, I didn't see "A Better Life," and I'm sure he was great in it as the distraught illegal immigrant father, but
it really has the air of self-congratulatory political correctness about it. I
guess his desperate salt-of-the-earth character takes the place of the
apocalyptic small town family man played by Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter"
that I predicted. And instead of the curmudgeonly behind-the-scenes FBI poobah
played by Leonardo DiCaprio in "J. Edgar"
we have the curmudgeonly behind the scenes MI-6 poobah played by Gary Oldman in
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."
Similarly, in the Best Actress category, instead of the outré
mother of a disturbed young person that
Tilda Swinton plays in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" we have an
actual disturbed young person, Rooney Mara as the lethal computer sleuth and feminist
avenger in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
I thought for sure that Mara would be too extreme for the
Academy, especially since they had perhaps expended their weirdness quota by
nominating Melissa McCarthy, whose character will forever be remembered for
shitting in a sink in "Bridesmaids." But then they go ahead and also nominate
Janet McTeer as the cross-dressing lesbian housepainter in 19th century Dublin
in "Albert Nobbs"
instead of the rehabbed delinquent teenager
played by Shailene Woodley in "The Descendants."
Come to think of it, there
is a distinctive excrement motif in this category, not just with McCarthy in
"Bridesmaids" but also
the two nominees from "The Help,"
a film with an odd obsession with toilets and poop in general, what with the
special chocolate cream pie cooked up by nominee Octavia Spencer's character.
Maybe Jung and Freud from "A Dangerous Method" could make sense of it; that film, sadly, wasn't nominated for anything.