They wuz robbed: this scene from Transformers: Dark of the Moon proves Michael Bay should have gotten a look from the Academy for the Best Director nom. Or not.
In any case, at this point it should come as no surprise that we at VoH have some issues with the Oscar nods. Here are the nominees for the main awards:
1. Best Picture:
- The Artist
- The Descendants
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
- The Help
- Midnight in Paris
- The Tree of Life
- War Horse
Comment: The fact that the Academy only picked 9 movies (instead of 10) seems to confirm the consensus that 2011 was a weak year for Hollywood. Only 2 of these films were able to coax me into the theater, The Artist and Tree of Life, and neither of them deserve the award in my mind. Otherwise, this is shaped up to be a battle of the old Names (Allen, Scorcese, Spielberg) versus the new (Michel Hazanavicius, Terrence Malik, Alexander Payne). No way are they giving this to Tate Taylor for The Help. But there’s more than a good chance that they’ll roll it to Payne.
- Demian Bichir, A Better Life
- George Clooney, The Descendants
- Jean Dujardin, The Artist
- Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Comment: Dujardin was fun to watch in The Artist, but so was Tom Cruise in MI4, so why wasn’t he nominated? Yes, that was sarcasm. Clooney picks up his second Oscar.
- Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
- Viola Davis, The Help
- Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
- Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Comment: Only Dragon Tattoo earned my money, and Rooney did a decent job, but it wasn’t a head-turning performance in any way. Streep wins in a rout.
4. Supporting Actor:
- Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
- Jonah Hill, Moneyball
- Nick Nolte, Warrior
- Christopher Plummer, Beginners
- Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Comment: Just give it to Max. In fact, give him Best Actor too.
5. Supporting Actress:
- Berenice Bejo, The Artist
- Jessica Chastain, The Help
- Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
- Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
- Octavia Spencer, The Help
Comment: This category is notoriously for rewarding the weakest performers, so I’m fairly certain Melissa McCarthy will walk away with it, among many comments about how beautiful she looks for a “plus size” actress. Or they might give it to Chastain to help vindicate all the misplaced interest in The Help. But Bejo actually worked hard enough to deserve it.
- Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
- Alexander Payne, The Descendants
- Martin Scorsese, Hugo
- Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
- Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Comment: Again, only two of these movies piqued my curiosity, but I’m still not convinced that they represent the best choices of 2011, certainly not from a directing standpoint. While I understand Hugo is technically complex, I might argue that Michael Bay had a tougher task directing Transformers: Dark of the Moon than any of the five nominees. But I won’t. Instead, I’ll predict that the Hollywood squares decide to bestow the honor on Alexander Payne, so that George Clooney can get laid (some more).