I'm thoroughly baffled by these nominations, for a variety of reasons.
First, I'm one of the only filmies on the planet that didn't like "Lincoln," and therefore, the fact that it's the most nominated movie this year both makes me question my own taste and decreases my enthusiasm for the process this year.
The director snubs were the most glaring for me. Bigelow, natch. Tarantino, I thought, turned in his most important film ever this year (a study of African-American archetypes), and he garnered a Best Picture but not a Best Director. Then ... say what you will about the overwrought nature of "Les Miserables," but I honestly thought (movie, yet unseen) that Tom Hooper would be in there, for shooting a movie musical in a completely new way (rather than the traditional pre-record and lip-sync, actors singing live, and background music added later ... giving the actors a better chance to deliver the song in context).
It was surprising not to see "Hitchcock" on the Best Picture list, because Academy voters have shown time and again that they love movies about movies. I didn't think "Dark Knight Rises" deserved to make the cut, so wasn't disappointed by that, but "The Avengers" ... that omission made me sad.
"Flight" was a sloppy, poorly-paced film with a subpar screenplay. Denzel Washington acts well in everything he's in, but when one places this performance next to those in "Glory" and "Training Day," "Flight" doesn't even register. If the Academy felt the need to include a minority actor for the sake of doing so, they missed their chance to tag the young man from "The Life of Pi," who carried that whole film on his shoulders.
Speaking of acting nominations, the actresses thing went down exactly as I thought it might; the studio apparently recognized that Anne Hathaway would stand a better shot at a statue if she were in the support, rather than the lead category. I have yet to see many of the films nominated this year, but, my current opinion remains that Watts and Hathaway will take actress honors this year.
For Best Original Song, I am a lifelong Neil Finn fan and was hoping to see him get a nod for his song from "The Hobbit." I found the song kind of cloying, but I love Neil Finn, so...yeah. The big bummers in this category for me were, Ennio Morricone, the KING of the spaghetti western score, did a song for "Django" and got ignored...and I thought "Wreck-It Ralph" had some of the best movie songs of the year.
I am confused by omissions in the screenplay category for "Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." Call them this year's "Crazy, Stupid Love."
"The Hobbit" did not get as many technical nominations as it deserved, nor did "The Avengers" or "The Dark Knight Rises." I thought "The Impossible" was crazy-good in technicals, but didn't see a lot of nods for that, either.
I did not like the film "Brave," and am already steeling myself for the inevitability that it's a Pixar flick with its first female protagonist, and therefore it will beat "Wreck-It Ralph."
While I am happy when indies get recognition, I think the biggest frustration for me this time is the number of films I never even had a chance of seeing, because of the predominance of them in limited release. I usually endeavor to see 75 percent of the nominees or more, but this year, that total is extremely low. "Zero Dark Thirty" has yet to show up in Pittsburgh. "Argo" and "Anna Karenina" were here for maybe two weeks.
When I see previews in theaters for other upcoming movies, it's usually safe to assume that those movies will then at some point be, I don't know, available for me to see in that theater. This did not occur very often in 2012.
Do you agree with Heidi's thoughts on the Oscar nominations? Let us know in the comments section!