Oscar nomination post mortem


With the announcement of the Oscar  nominations this morning, the Academy once again has unleashed a stinging slap to my pretensions to prognostication. 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.

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