Oscars 2012: The Year Hollywood Celebrates Itself

Hollywood is pretty full of itself this year: The Artist, Hugo, and My Week with Marilyn all harken back to the glory days of film. These choices are the epitome of conventional: no Shame, no Bridesmaids, no Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I feel wholly uninspired by this year’s best picture nominations. In years past I was excited by races like The King’s Speech (vs. The Social Network) and The Hurt Locker (vs. Avatar). I have no such drive or interest to see The Artist or Hugo.

Best Picture Thoughts: This year I have seen precisely 2 of 9 nominated films—and I have no real desire to rush out and see any of the others. Why not just go ahead and have a 10th  film if the voters are so divided? Hello, why not throw in Bridesmaids or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? Other than the two I have seen, the rest of the nominees are a pile-up of films that I had an excuse to pass on for one reason or another. The Artist: a celebration of old Hollywood that is notable for its nostalgia in this day and age but would be less of a sparkler in 1925. The Descendants: most comparisons likened it to a Lifetime movie.  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: simply, got mixed to negative reviews. The Help: did not pique my interest.  Hugo: thought it was a kid’s movie? Moneyball: sports movies are my kryptonite. The Tree of Life: history of the cosmos, what? With all the other stunning films of this year overlooked, I might make an attempt to watch those films already out, namely: The Help, Moneyball and The Tree of Life. That would put my count at 5, and I usually push for at least a majority. Right now I am placing bets on The Artist (and I generally make an exception to see what I believe will be Best Picture) but I feel so unmoved in this race. So disappointing. I have been on a streak of seeing and predicting Best Pictures since 2007. And last year was a banner year: I saw every contender except Toy Story 3; can it please be last year again?

Good thing Michael Fassbender is such a dedicated actor. No really, I don’t think he needs an Oscar to validate his work. Yet.

The snubbed:  Too Polarizing? Young Adult, Shame, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Drive, the darker and more groundbreaking films, were all snubbed.

Andy Serkis, Patton Oswalt, and Albert Brooks were all expected to be nominated. But Michael Fassbender wins for most shocking snub. I am still very dismayed over his exclusion. Peter Travers throws in Michael Shannon and Tilda Swinton as well.

Other Category Thoughts:

Best Actor: Seems like George Clooney has the momentum right now; even if Michael Fassbender failed to combat the might of Clooney, he deserved a nod for Shame. I do think Tinker Tailor deserves some love, so go Gary Oldman (in his first nom!). I resolve to check out A Better Life as soon as possible.

Creepy good, Glenn

Best Actress: So far I have only seen Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but Michelle Williams is the darling in this category. However, I have a feeling that when Albert Nobbs finally reaches my eyeballs I will be very impressed with Glenn Close. Hell, I already am…she is a fellow alum!

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer all the way. I love me some Beginners. And Patton Oswalt (hooray for another alum!) wasn’t nominated. Sad face. But at least he has a good sense of humor about the situation.

Best Supporting Actress: The GGs seem to indicate Octavia Spencer, but this has been quite the year for Melissa McCarthy.

I don’t really know my stuff well enough to pass judgment on the other categories (how great would it be if Bridesmaids won Best Original Screenplay!? Or Midnight in Paris.) But as someone else pointed out, no Art Direction nod for Tinker Tailor? If I hadn’t watched the HBO First Look on TTSS, I wouldn’t know about how many meticulous ideas came together to create that stunning 1970s atmosphere of dread.

(Not actually the nominated song, but ya know, wanted Bret)

Best Song: Apparently only two songs were up to snuff this year. The day Bret McKenzie wins an Oscar will make this girl very happy; and I haven’t even seen The Muppets. Here is a glimpse at how insane the voting rules are for the Oscars (and why only two songs made the cut): Songs are watched in the context of their films (during scenes or even the credits) and academy voters rate them on a scale of 1-10. Those with an 8.5 or higher are nominated. So apparently out of the 39 eligible songs, only these two scored higher than an 8.5. Thanks, Entertainment Weekly!

I have already reached a state of denial: how can we fix this year’s Academy Awards? Seems like I am going to have to ride out this storm of disappointment.

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About Staciellyn Chapman

Grad student at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. This blog is an attempt to condense the craziness that is my TV viewing habits (with the occasional aside into film, music, and general life).

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