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Academy Award Nominations (2013)

I'm a little disappointed, since several of my favorites were basically snubbed entirely. This nomination list is kind of unsurprising. There were a few nice nods in the acting categories, but for the most part this list is standard fare.

For Best Picture there are two movies, Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, that are perfect examples of Oscar elitism. I'm not saying they aren't worthy of being nominated, they're probably wonderful films. The problem lies with the Academy's annoying habit of nominating films that no one has seen (since both films haven't been widely released in America), and snubbing films that are widely loved, or at least widely praised. Science fiction is yet again ignored, even though there were at least two best picture worthy genre films in my opinion, Looper and Cloud Atlas. The real crime; The Avengers was only nominated ONCE, for visual effects which is like the slums of the Academy Awards. 

In Acting there were several great nominees, and a couple of nice surprises. Bradley Cooper is rising to the top very quickly. So quickly that I don't think he has a chance this time. Daniel Day Lewis was amazing in Lincoln, and I think he could win.  But for me, I thought Denzel Washington (Flight) was wonderful in his nominated role. He created such a memorable and tortured character that I was rooting for him, even though he was doing the wrong thing. He deserves high praise for this performance, and I hope he wins.

I haven't seen any of the films for the Actress nominations. I understand Jessica Chastain practically redefined the heroine in her performance for Zero Dark Thirty. Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and I think she could win, since she has been nominated before. So could Naomi Watts. As for the other two actresses I honestly don't know. They were nominated for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, which again have not really been released in America, except at festivals or in an extremely limited number of screens.

As for supporting performances, I think Tommy Lee Jones was truly impressive in his role in Lincoln. I was hoping he'd be nominated, and I hope he wins. Although Tommy Lee Jones may be my personal choice to win, I thought Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) was marvelous. He was funny, and engaging, and tragic, and I think he personifies the spirit of the supporting actor award this year. Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) will probably take home the trophy for supporting actress, since her bit part has been almost universally praised.

I think Spielberg did a stellar job with Lincoln, but I'm disappointed that Kathryn Bigelow wasn't nominated again. I wonder if the lack of nomination has anything to do with the controversy surrounding Zero Dark Thirty? I can't really provide too much of an opinion on the rest of the nominations, since I haven't seen nearly as many of these movies as I wanted too. However, I will try to catch all of the Best Picture nominees and all the Directing, Acting and Writing nominee films before the Awards so that I can give a concise critique of the winners after the ceremony.

So without further ado, here is the full list.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

Amour (2012): To Be Determined

Argo (2012): Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald

Django Unchained (2012): Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone

Les Misérables (2012): Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

Life of Pi (2012): Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

Lincoln (2012): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (2012)

Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables (2012)

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master (2012)

Denzel Washington for Flight (2012/I)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)

Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)

Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master (2012)

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln (2012)

Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams for The Master (2012)

Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)

Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012)

Helen Hunt for The Sessions (2012)

Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Best Achievement in Directing

Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)

Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Steven Spielberg for Lincoln (2012)

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Amour (2012): Michael Haneke

Django Unchained (2012): Quentin Tarantino

Flight (2012/I): John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Argo (2012): Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi (2012): David Magee

Lincoln (2012): Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): David O. Russell

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Brave (2012): Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

Frankenweenie (2012): Tim Burton

ParaNorman (2012): Sam Fell, Chris Butler

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012): Peter Lord

Wreck-It Ralph (2012): Rich Moore

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Amour (2012)(Austria)

War Witch (2012)(Canada)

No (2012/I)(Chile)

A Royal Affair (2012)(Denmark)

Kon-Tiki (2012)(Norway)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Anna Karenina (2012/I): Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained (2012): Robert Richardson

Life of Pi (2012): Claudio Miranda

Lincoln (2012): Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall (2012): Roger Deakins

Best Achievement in Editing

Argo (2012): William Goldenberg

Life of Pi (2012): Tim Squyres

Lincoln (2012): Michael Kahn

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

Best Achievement in Production Design

Anna Karenina (2012/I): Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent, Simon Bright

Les Misérables (2012): Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson

Life of Pi (2012): David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

Lincoln (2012): Rick Carter, Jim Erickson

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina (2012/I): Jacqueline Durran

Les Misérables (2012): Paco Delgado

Lincoln (2012): Joanna Johnston

Mirror Mirror (2012/I): Eiko Ishioka

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): Colleen Atwood

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling

Hitchcock (2012): Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, Martin Samuel

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Peter King, Rick Findlater, Tami Lane

Les Misérables (2012): Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Anna Karenina (2012/I): Dario Marianelli

Argo (2012): Alexandre Desplat

Life of Pi (2012): Mychael Danna

Lincoln (2012): John Williams

Skyfall (2012): Thomas Newman

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Chasing Ice (2012): J. Ralph("Before My Time")

Les Misérables (2012): Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer("Suddenly")

Life of Pi (2012): Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree("Pi's Lullaby")

Skyfall (2012): Adele, Paul Epworth("Skyfall")

Ted (2012): Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane("Everybody Needs a Best Friend")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Argo (2012): John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García

Les Misérables (2012): Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes

Life of Pi (2012): Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin

Lincoln (2012): Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ron Judkins

Skyfall (2012): Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Argo (2012): Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn

Django Unchained (2012): Wylie Stateman

Life of Pi (2012): Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton

Skyfall (2012): Per Hallberg, Karen M. Baker

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Paul N.J. Ottosson

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Avengers (2012): Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Daniel Sudick

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White

Life of Pi (2012): Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott

Prometheus (2012/I): Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012): Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Phil Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson

Best Documentary, Features

5 Broken Cameras (2011): Emad Burnat, Guy Davidi

The Gatekeepers (2012): To Be Determined

How to Survive a Plague (2012): To Be Determined

The Invisible War (2012): To Be Determined

Searching for Sugar Man (2012): To Be Determined

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Inocente (2012): Sean Fine, Andrea Nix

Kings Point (2012): Sari Gilman, Jedd Wider

Mondays at Racine (2012): Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan

Open Heart (2013): Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern

Redemption (2012/V): Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill

Best Short Film, Animated

Adam and Dog (2011): Minkyu Lee

Fresh Guacamole (2012): PES

Head Over Heels (2012): Timothy Reckart, Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly

Paperman (2012): John Kahrs

The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare (2012): David Silverman

Best Short Film, Live Action

Asad (2012): Bryan Buckley, Mino Jarjoura

Buzkashi Boys (2012): Sam French, Ariel Nasr

Curfew (2012/I): Shawn Christensen

Death of a Shadow (2012): Tom Van Avermaet, Ellen De Waele

Henry (2011/III): Yan England


  1. I'm ecstatic that Naoimi Watts got nominated. She was outstanding in The Impossible. I'm also glad Life of PI got so much recognition. Ang Lee deserves the best directing Oscar.

    However, I wish the Oscars had gotten over over their superhero bias and nominated The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises. I thought both films were SPECTACULAR! Joss Whedon and Christopher Nolan in particular deserve some sort of recognition from the Academy.

    Oh and Skyfall? The Academy continues to snub Bond as wekk? I thought that film was a masterpiece!

  2. You're not going to find any argument from me Nadim. Personally, I thought Skyfall was the best Bond movie ever. After The Dark Knight was snubbed and the Best Picture category was increased to ten because of it, I thought at least either The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers would be nominated. Ah well.

  3. Me, either, guys. It's utterly infuriating that they increased the number of best picture noms instead of creating freaking categories, ensuring that outstanding science fiction and fantasy movies will continue to be ignored forever.

    Great rundown, J.D. Thanks!

  4. Like Nadim I'm very excited for Naomi Watts, although I wish The Impossible had gotten a Best Film nomination...

    Shocked at Ben Affleck getting snubbed for Argo! Haven't seen Zero Dark Thirty yet so no comment there.

    ZERO love for Batman?!?!?! WTF??? grrrr... Ditto feelings on The Avengers side. *sigh*

    Bond: at least Adele's song got nominated, isn't that a first or smthg?

  5. CrazyCris - Live and Let Die got nominated for best song but lost to the theme from The Way We Were.

    I'm not shocked. Once again, the Oscars pick who everyone thinks the Oscars will pick. I do agree with CrazyCris, in that I'm surprised to see Ben Affleck not nominated for Best Director. It seems like his direction is the most praised thing about that movie.

    I'm extremely curious to see Zero Dark Thirty. I'm also sort of dying to see Silver Linings Playbook.

  6. I'm slightly baffled by the prominence of Silver Linings Playbook, which I enjoyed but... well, it was a sweet film about relationships and stuff. It didn't blow me away. I get Jennifer Lawrence and Robert de Niro's nominations as they were both particularly good in it, but the general love for it seems a bit excessive.

    No Skyfall. Sigh. I feel I can't complain about the smaller films like Amour etc though, as I still haven't got over last year's snub for Senna in the Best Documentary category, meaning I have finally joined the ranks of snobby film critics (though it probably has more to do with my love of The Only Sport I Follow Apart From the Olympics and Wimbledon than anything else). Literally, I'm still angry just thinking about it.

  7. It's a crime how few movies I have seen this year. I hope to see more of these before they announce the awards. As one of the people who has seen it, I have to say that Beasts of the Southern Wild is an exceptional film.

    I agree that it's time to create categories of films to honor. More than once in the past, I have been convinced that a film has won because the members of the academy want to appear cultured and smart, not because they actually enjoyed watching it.

    Last night, for example, were the Critics' Choice Award -- a group of people we can hope know what they're talking about. Argo came away with Best Picture, but so did Skyfall for Best Action Movie and Silver Linings Playbook for Best Comedy Movie. They were able to honor Amour by giving it Best Foreign Language Film. I know this will make you happy, J.D.; the winner for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film was Looper.

  8. Just your everyday lurker here; had to join the discussion just to say that Beasts of the Southern Wild is indeed a magnificent movie... and that it may have a touch of science fiction in its on way!

  9. Christoph Waltz : brilliant in Inglorious Basterds (I'm suddenly noticing the massive use of superlatives that I use when I talk about actors who impress me).

    J.D., sorry to tell, but I saw both Looper and Cloud Atlas. Although both impressible, I didn't leave the theater with a "wow" feeling. It might be different if I rewatch the later on though. Nonetheless, kudos for the cast.

    (And I confess that I watch less and less movies; my love has shifted mostly to TV : way more character development in 40-100+ hours than two) (Billie knows about this, I'm sure LOL)

  10. Oh Billie !

    Gotta quote you here : "ensuring that outstanding science fiction and fantasy movies will continue to be ignored forever".

    A) nicely said. B) those bast*rds will never leave their comfort zone ! C) sci fi and fantasy ARE part of the movie industry. C2) DUHHHHH C3) so, YES, they can be, well, actually, they ARE work of Art. (SOB) D) What about Fritz Lang's Metropolis dearest Academy ?

  11. It's typo week on this blog !

    ....Although both WERE impressible...

    ....if I rewatch the later ONE....

  12. Moonrise Kingdom....

    This movie, just like Inglorious Basterds and Le Fameux Destin d'Amélie Poulain (just to name these 2) (and to remain in this 20 year period) is the kind of movie that I'd watch once a MONTH, again and again, and NEVER getting tired of it. Yes, so good, on so many levels, giving you goose bumps, inspiring you, putting a huge smile on your face, and so on...

  13. Marc, I've seen both movies twice. I can tell you that they absolutely improve on repeated viewings. All the little details that are easily missed are a lot clearer the second time around.

    With Cloud Atlas in particular, there are dozens of moments that play so much better when you know what's coming. The heart and resonance of the characters feel more complete somehow. I can't really explain it, perhaps I'm biased for some reason.

    Looper on the other hand, is a slightly different beast. The second time through you can see how much attention was paid to the little details. It makes the whole experience more satisfying.

    Inglorious Basterds was a movie that I actually didn't much care for the first time I saw it. Even now, I respect it quite a bit but I wouldn't want to watch it again and again unlike some of Tarantino's other films; Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 & 2, and Reservoir Dogs are in my collection. Django Unchained was a almost as hard to watch as Inglorious Basterds in places, to a degree it was almost harder to watch.

    Chris and Paulo, I'm really glad to hear Beasts of the Southern Wilds is a great movie. I have it in my Netflix queue already (along with all the other nominees). I'm also glad to hear that Looper got at least some accolades.

    The directing snubs for Bigelow and Affleck are really criminal. But that's the Academy, they are too much into a certain type of movie. It doesn't matter how good something is sometimes.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Has anyone here seen Brick? It's by Rian Johnson and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, just like Looper. I thought it was fabulous. I'm waiting for Netflix to send me their other collaboration, The Brother's Bloom.

    I want to be Mr. Black.

  16. I really liked Brick, it was weird but fascinating. The Brother's Bloom was fun, although I don't think it was quite as good as it could've been.

    Actually come to think of it, I was biased against it a little because Mark Ruffalo was in it, and now I like him a lot more because of the Avengers. Maybe I should check that one out again.

  17. I didn't like Mark Ruffalo in anything until I saw the Avengers.

  18. Just curious: why do you guys dislike Mark Ruffalo? He was in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (love!) and two of my favorite crappy romantic comedies: Just Like Heaven and 13 Going on 30. Plus, he's a huge crusader against fracking.

  19. I think the first movie I saw Mark Ruffalo in was the terrible, terrible, terrible In the Cut with Meg Ryan. That likely colored my perception of him.

  20. sunbunny -- I'm with you on 13 Going on 30. In fact, that was the movie that got me into Alias because Jennifer Garner mentioned the show in an interview on the DVD. I thought it sounded cool and gave it a shot. So, I'll always be grateful to Mark Ruffalo for that!

  21. Meg Ryan.

    Now that brings a few memories back.

    J.D., I will get the DVD of Cloud Atlas. And I suspect that indeed, what you said will happen. And, ah, well, Mister Tarantino puts a LOT of violence in his art. My 2 other choices on the other hand have a massive amount.......of poetry. Less harmful.


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