The Academy (of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, that is) has spoken. The nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards are now known to all and the ceremony is almost here.
Which, if you're anything like me, means I've got some movies to see (and just a week left to do it in)! Overall, I'm content with how this year's nominees played out. It's an improvement over last year, at least - there's no black sheep that's got us holding our breath, praying the Academy won't be silly enough to actually give a film like that an Oscar.
Yes, I'm talking about last year's love-fest with Avatar. But I digress...
I was surprised to hear that the film leading this year's nominees is The King's Speech (it racked up 12 nods!). Not surprised because it doesn't merit every one of them, but surprised because - for me at least - it's a solid 3rd best film of the year. But it's traditionalism may've served it well with the Academy, as it helped garner it nominations across a broad range of categories, something neither Social Network or Black Swan really did (each of those just got one acting nod, to TKS's three).
Also pleasantly welcome are the nominations for The Kids Are All Right and Winter's Bone, two smaller films that resonated with audiences at the beginning of the year and throughout the festival circuit. That both managed to snag acting nods and Best Picture slots is wonderful to see, though it's fairly common knowledge that neither would've gotten a spot in the latter were the Academy still only selecting five films for the category instead of 10.
There was some outcry from the interwebs after the announcement when it became known that Christopher Nolan had snagged a nomination for writing Inception but not for directing it - despite that film's inclusion in the 10 Best Picture titles as well. While it would've been easy to place Nolan in the Best Directing group, the fact is that this is just another way the 10 best picture nominees impacts the other categories. Only 5 of the directors who get a Best Picture nod can also get a Best Director one . I might point out that Lisa Cholodenko and Debra Granik were both left off the list of best helmers as well, meaning we'll see no repeat of Kathryn Bigelow's triumphant win for female directors from last year, a much more telling oversight than Nolan's absense.
Finally, I'm always amused by those films that make it into the heralded "Oscar nominated" realm via the likes of categories like Visual Effects, Costume Design or Original Song. Now Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland and Country Strong can all tout themselves as nominees (in those categories, respectively), though I'm sure no one would immediately associate the two.
But then, I suppose it could've been worse - the Academy could've nominated Burlesque.