Oscar Nominations Reaction (2011)

bill bodkin looks at Tuesday’s nominations …

Oscar nominations are in, and it was eventful to say the least. Last year, there were a few minor snubs and surprises. This year, it was epic. The nominations this year sparked debate, drew some ire and made some scratch their heads — but I think that’s a good thing. It got people talking, it got people interested and, most importantly, it’s got people wanting to tune into the show.

So here’s my takes and my complaints on this year’s nominees …

BEST PICTURE
Nominees: 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter’s Bone

Snubs & Surprises: The Town — a seriously well-done crime caper is snubbed here, and it wouldn’t be the worst snub for the Southie heist movie helmed by Ben Affleck. It not getting nominated for best adapted screenplay while a sequel like Toy Story 3 gets a nod is a crime worse than the Fenway robbery in the film.
Thoughts: I knew 127 Hours would slip in, I predicted that on Monday, but I was hoping it would be at the expense of Toy Story 3. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed TS3 and I knew the Academy would nominate it, but to me, I feel it’s an animated movie — keep it in the animated film category. Some of you might be thinking, “How did Winter’s Bone get in here?” This is a must-rent — it’s an amazing film.

Early Personal Prediction: The Social Network, one of the best movies made about something that is socially relevant in today’s society that isn’t a documentary but sure feels like one.

BEST ACTOR
Nominees: Javier Bardem for Biutiful, Jeff Bridges for True Grit, Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network, Colin Firth for The King’s Speech and James Franco for 127 Hours
Snubs & Surprises: I wouldn’t call them snubs, but you know it’s a tough year when Mark Wahlberg and Ryan Gosling give critically lauded performances and can’t make it in.

Thoughts: I guess Julia Roberts has a lot of clout in the Academy, as her plea for Javier Bardem really paid off. This is a very strong year because I would’ve called it for James Franco, who does a one-man show in 127 Hours, but we’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Colin Firth and Jesse Eisenberg.
Early Personal Prediction: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech — he shattered his Mr. Darcy image in A Single Man last year, but couldn’t beat out The Dude, who also gave a career performance. With King’s, he’s been showered with almost every award — solidifying himself as an actor a cut above the rest.

BEST ACTRESS
Nominees: Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right, Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole, Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone, Natalie Portman for Black Swan, Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Snubs & Surprises: No Julianne Moore, who many thought would slip in here (she didn’t even get a Supporting Actress nod), was a big shock. I have to say: I’m surprised the former teen drama darling turned indie darling Michelle Williams got nominated. Not that she doesn’t deserve it, but Blue Valentine seemed like a movie that could’ve easily been overlooked.
Thoughts: Putting Hailee Steinfeld in for Supporting Actress made room for Williams. I have to say this is a really, really tough race this year. Kidman returned to form, while Bening is getting the “lifetime achievement” votes, Portman gave her best lead performance both physically and thespianlly, while Lawrence, a relative unknown, dominated Winter’s Bone. Williams is also a huge dark horse. Great year for women at the Oscars.

Early Personal Prediction: Natalie Portman, Black Swan — she’s received her best reviews since Closer and this is her first lead role where she’s had praised heaped on her. The performance was a complete one — physical, emotional and intellectual. Bening was good, but Portman was great.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Christian Bale for The Fighter, John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone, Jeremy Renner for The Town, Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right, Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech
Snubs & Surprises: Andrew Garfield got the biggest snub of them all. He was absolutely brilliant in The Social Network — he gave such an emotionally memorable performance. As much as I loved Renner in The Town, he easily could’ve been bumped for Garfield.

Thoughts: Regardless of Garfield’s snub, this is a beast of a category. Many say Bale is going to walk away with this one, and he most likely will, but there are real contenders here. Longtime character actor Hawkes was captivating as the feared-yet-respected Ozark criminal Teardrop. Ruffalo gave his best performance ever in Kids, and one can’t argue with how good Rush and Renner were in their respective films.
Early Personal Prediction: Christian Bale, The Fighters — as Brent Johnson said Christian Bale, like Heath Ledger and Christoph Waltz before him, steals the movie he’s in.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Amy Adams for The Fighter, Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech, Melissa Leo for The Fighter, Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit, Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom
Snubs & Surprises: Mila Kunis, nominated for every award under the sun gets, dropped in favor of Aussie actress Jacki Weaver — huge shocker, but one I thought would happen if Steinfeld and Moore were slotted into the category. Also, see previous statement in the best actress category about Moore.
Thoughts: Another crazy tough category for actresses that is wide-open. Will the double Fighternoms cancel each other out?

Early Personal Prediction: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit — I think Leo and Adams cancel each other out, allowing Steinfeld, who stole True Grit from Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, to win out.

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees: Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for True Grit, David Fincher for The Social Network, Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech, David O. Russell for The Fighter
Snubs & Surprises: No Christopher Nolan? Are you kidding me? Like Inception or not, Nolan was the brains behind every aspect of that incredibly complex film. I had a creeping feeling in my head that this might happen, but I convinced myself there was no way Nolan wouldn’t get a nom.

Thoughts: My theory of the Coens are to the Oscars as Metallica is to the Grammys was proven right.
Early Personal Prediction: David Fincher, The Social Network — Go buy the DVD of and watch the special features. You will see how locked into this movie Fincher was.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

1 COMMENT

  1. Completely agree about Garfield. The new Spider-Man deserved a nom, and his performance sticks out more than Eisenberg, who was really good in his own right.