The 84th Annual Academy Awards Nominees

Today I’m felling like writing in English. I do have a sort of passion for this particular language. I love the way it sounds so softly in our ears. A good way to describe it is by using this transcript from the ‘Angels & Demons’ film: “[…] It was too polluted. It was free-thinking. It was a language of radicals like Shakespeare and Chaucer […]”. Sorry for not writing in Portuguese today but it feels really good to write in English: it feels like freedom and wisdom, like I can express what I truly want to say.

Since we are only a month away from the Academy Awards show (to be more precisely, 33 days according to the Oscars’ website) and because this years’ nominees is involve in such a mystery (by this time last year we already knew that ‘The King’s Speech’ was going to win Best Picture and that Colin Firth and Natalie Portman were going to win Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively), I decided it would be a good idea to let you know who are the nominees and then, probably, discuss the list a bit.

Saying this, I must add that it isn’t exactly that big of a mystery. I know I’m contradicting myself but let’s be honest… From the previous awards shows such as the Golden Globes (even though the last editions proved to be wrong – the winners for Best Picture differed from those chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) we could – and in a certain way, we can – predict that the fight for the Oscar for Best Picture will oppose ‘The Artist’ against ‘The Descendants’, winners of the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and Best Motion Picture – Drama, respectively. However, like I said in the beginning, we don’t look at the list with all the movies that premiered last year and point out one and say ‘This is the ONE!’, ‘This is the best movie by far of 2011!’. I speak for myself when I say that last year ‘The King’s Speech’ fitted this perfectly: after seeing the movie in the theater shortly before the Oscars’ ceremony (this is utterly sad I know: unfortunately, the movie only premiered in Portugal 3 months after it premiered in the USA) I thought ‘this absolutely has to win’. This is one of the best movies (if not the one) that I’ve seen in the last couple of years. I loved everything about it. And I must say I felt very disappointed when Geoffrey Rush didn’t won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor: I might have not seen Christian Bale in ‘The Fighter’ but Rush’s performance was amazingly beautiful, definitely worthy of an Oscar.

Well, the past is in the past – no turning back. So let’s talk about this year ceremony. Intending to broaden their audience to younger viewers, the Academy decided to put Anne Hathaway and James Franco presenting the show. I didn’t thought it was that bad or horrible like everyone said. It’s certain that James Franco seemed to be somewhere else than on that stage but I liked Hathaway’s ‘performance’. On the other hand, in my most humble opinion, the peak of the night was when Mr. Billy Crystal (‘When Harry Met Sally...’) appeared on stage to present Bob Hope (British-born American comedian and actor), which ended by presenting Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, who then would be presenting the nominees (and eventual winner) for Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. It might have been a very very short moment on stage but it was hilarious. So, last year I was very pleased to know that Eddie Murphy had resign (I don’t have anything against him) and the Billy Crystal was going to occupy his spot as the show’s host.

In the middle of all the uncertainties that surrounds this year’s hopefuls, the only certainty we have is that these are the nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards, presented by the American film and television actress Jennifer Lawrence – nominated for Best Supporting Actress last year for her performance on ‘Winter’s Bone’:

Best Picture:                                                                                                              

  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Brad Pitt (‘Moneyball’)
  • Demián Bichir (‘A Better Life’)
  • Gary Oldman (‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’)
  • George Clooney (‘The Descendants’)
  • Jean Dujardin (‘The Artist’)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:                                                                              

  • Christopher Plummer (‘Beginners’)
  • Jonah Hill (‘Moneyball’)
  • Kenneth Branagh (‘My Week with Marilyn’)
  • Max von Sydow (‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’)
  • Nick Nolte (‘Warrior’)

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Glenn Close (‘Albert Nobbs’)
  • Meryl Streep (‘The Iron Lady’)
  • Michelle Williams (‘My Week with Marilyn’)
  • Rooney Mara (‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’)
  • Viola Davis (‘The Help’)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Bérénice Bejo (‘The Artist’)
  • Janet McTeer (‘Albert Nobbs’)
  • Jessica Chastain (‘The Help’)                                                     
  • Melissa McCarthy (‘Bridesmaids’)
  • Octavia Spencer (‘The Help’)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • The Descendants
  • The Ides of March
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Animated Feature:

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico & Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

Best Animated Short Film:                                                                

  • A Morning Stroll
  • Dimanche/Sunday
  • La Luna
  • The Fantastic Flying Book of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • Wild Life

Best Art Direction:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • The Artist
  • War Horse

Best Cinematography:

  • Hugo
  • The Artist
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse                                                                     

Best Costume Design:

  • Anonymous
  • Hugo
  • Jane Eyre
  • The Artist
  • W.E.

Best Director:

  • Alexander Payne (‘The Descendants’)
  • Martin Scorsese (‘Hugo’)
  • Michel Hazanavicius (‘The Artist’)
  • Terrence Malick (‘The Tree of Life’)
  • Woody Allen (‘Midnight in Paris’)

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Hell and Back Again
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front                         
  • Pina
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
  • Undefeated

Best Documentary Short Subject:

  • God is the Bigger Elvis
  • Incident in New Baghdad
  • Saving Face
  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Best Film Editing:

  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • The Artist
  • The Descendants
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Foreign Language Film:                                

  • Belgium, “Bullhead”
  • Canada, “Monsieur Lazhar”
  • Iran, “A Separation”
  • Israel, “Footnote”
  • Poland, “In Darkness”

Best Makeup:

  • Albert Nobbs
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • The Iron Lady

Best Original Score:

  • Hugo
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  • The Artist
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • War Horse                                               

Best Original Screenplay:

  • A Separation
  • Bridesmaids
  • Margin Call
  • Midnight in Paris
  • The Artist

Best Original Song:

  • “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
  • “Real in Rio” from Rio

Best Sound Editing:

  • Drive
  • Hugo
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse                                                                 

Best Sound Mixing:

  • Hugo
  • Moneyball
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • War Horse

Best Visual Effects:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Live Action Short Film:

  • Petecost
  • Raju
  • Time Shore
  • Time Freak
  • Tuba Atlantic

It was really obvious that ‘The Artist’ and ‘The Descendants’ were going to be nominated. No surprise on that for sure. And there was such a fuss around the number of nominees for Best Picture that was absolutely not necessary: they only dropped from 10 to 9 nominees: not a big deal people, especially this year with so many good and extraordinary films. I haven’t seen any of the 9 movies nominated but honestly I think the best candidate is ‘The Descendants‘. From the reviews and news that I’ve been reading since last December, it seems that the Americans are absolutely fascinated by ‘The Artist‘. However, I can’t really like it – not even a bit. I’m not saying this because it is black and white or because it is a silent film (I do like Charlie Chaplin’s films) but I can’t simply like it. And speaking of ‘The Descendants‘, George Clooney must be the one winning the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

I’m really happy to know that Michelle Williams was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance on ‘My Week with Marilyn’. I’m a huge fan of her work, even though I have to admit that the Oscar will go to Meryl Streep. About the Supporting Roles I don’t see it being different from the Golden Globes’ winners.

I have to more things to say. Firstly, I hope that after 10 years a Harry Potter movie (in this case, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’) can finally be recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, even if it’s only in a lower category (although they’re all important) such as Best Makeup. Secondly, what happened to ‘The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn’? Wasn’t it supposed to be eligible for the Best Animated Feature category? If it is not eligible I can understand why it was nominated. Even though it was filmed with the same techniques as James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ – which makes it anything but an animated film like the ones of ‘Toy Story’ -, I read several news that said it as eligible anyway. But if it was indeed eligible  for that particular category I don’t see why it isn’t in the nominees list. It was one of the few things I agreed with the Golden Globes’ results (the film won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film). Oh, speaking about that show. I also hope that the Oscar for Best Director will be awarded to Martin Scorsese. Definitely one of the best directors of all time.

What do you think of these nominees? Which movie do you think will win Best Picture? And who do you think will win Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively?

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