The Academy Award nominations were announced Thursday, meaning we can now all pretend we’re not in the middle of this horrible, desolate, bad-movie wasteland by talking about the good movies we saw last year (or, in some cases, will see soon).
On one hand, I think that any competition that’s based on opinion is a little silly — that includes such things as figure skating and “Top Chef.” On the other hand, there’s a part of me that loves arguing and analyzing the Oscars. And while I’m sure I’ll be writing plenty about who I think should win (go “Beasts of the Southern Wild”!), here are my first reactions:
This one goes to me, because I bet my story editor that “Beasts of the Southern Wild” would earn four major-category nominations and it did: Best Picture, Best Actress for Quevenzhané Wallis, Best Director for Benh Zeitlin and Best Adapted Screenplay for Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar. He has to give me Berger Cookies.
Controversy That’s Not
Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman ever to win the Best Director Oscar (for “The Hurt Locker” two years ago ), didn’t get another nomination for her “Zero Dark Thirty,” a Best Picture nominee. Some say it’s because the film’s depiction of torture turned off some voters, but with nine Best Picture nominees and only five Director slots, she’s in good company: Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Tom Hooper (“Les Miserables) and Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”) are also guaranteed to be keeping their seats when Best Director is announced.
Helen Hunt for Best Supporting Actress for “The Sessions.” The film — which was largely carried by the (snubbed) John Hawkes — reeked of a Hallmark movie, but with nudity. Hunt’s performance was hailed as courageous, which is movie-speak for when an actress takes off all her clothes. I found it flat and uninspired.
The Unseen (in D.C., at Least)
“Zero Dark Thirty” and “Amour,” both nominated for Best Picture, have been out in select cities but open in D.C. on Friday. And keep an eye out for the shorts program, coming Feb. 1 to Landmark E Street Cinema — it’s often the only chance you get to see all the nominated short films.
Everyone knows Daniel Day-Lewis will win for “Lincoln” and Anne Hathaway will take it for “Les Miserables.” Everyone else in those categories should just hope to make someone’s Best Dressed list.
That “The Queen of Versailles” didn’t get nominated for Best Documentary. Even in a strong field, this tale of one-percenters who turn cash-poor was my favorite doc of 2012.