We all know that this year's Oscar nominations, much like those from the Golden Globes, suck. But perhaps you haven't seen all of the big contenders, and you don't realize just how terrible the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are. Well, fortunately for you, we have seen them, we do know, and we are angry. Oh so angry.
Fortunately, we can write about it on the internet for people to see and know. We can inform the unwashed masses about the vile transgressions perpetrated by the organization known only as AMPAS, which, for those of you who are unaware, is a stupid acronym.
So I'm going to break it down for you. Let's get on with it.
Although I think that Shame should be a part of damn near every category, I will keep it to the ones where it is most deserving. One of those things? Best Picture. Steve McQueen's sophomore effort in amazing in every single way. I couldn't tell you a thing I disliked about the movie if I tried. Even though it wasn't my number one film of the year (see the next snub for that one), I think it was actually the superior film. I have no doubt that the NC-17 rating that kept it out of so many movie theaters is the same thing that's keeping it out of all of these awards shows. It's one hell of a snub to everybody involved in the production, because the movie is better than everything that did get nominated.
Drive was my favorite film of last year. If you've seen it, you know what I mean, and if you haven't seen it, then you have some catching up to do, my friend. It's gorgeous, has amazing music, is beautifully acted, and has some truly awesome scenes (including my personal "Oh Shit!" moment of the year). It has some of the most intense and realistic violence I have seen outside of a Korean film, and that is absolutely a compliment. Drive deserved much better treatment than it got, and it should have started right here.
Chances are that David Fincher was right. There's "too much anal rape" in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for it to actually have a shot at winning Best Picture. That being said, it completely deserved a nomination. It's an amazing film, and it hits on some really tough subjects. Tree of Life may be a meditation on the whosawhatsits of the universe, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo deals with themes that are far more poignant and does it far more effectively. So it should get a nomination. It shouldn't win, but give it some goddamn respect.
Steve McQueen - Shame [photo by Craig McDean]
Fact 1: Steve McQueen directed Hunger. Fact 2: Steve McQueen directed Shame. Fact 3: He should have gotten a nomination and subsequently won.
Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive
Fact 1: Nicolas Winding Refn won "Best Director" at Cannes. Fact 2: He deserved it. Fact 3: He should have gotten a nomination.
David Fincher - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Fact 1: David Fincher should have won Best Director last year. Fact 2: He did an even better job this year. Fact 3: He should have gotten a nomination.
Andy Serkis - Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Of all of the snubs, this is the one I am the most conflicted about. Andy Serkis did an amazing job, but it was not done proper justice during the CG-conversion. If Rise of the Apes had featured Serkis (even in that stupid mo-cap suit) instead of a CGI monkey, it's possible that I would have said his performance was the best of the year. But I can't say that, because his performance did not end up in the final cut. That being said, a lot of these are filled with token nominations, not necessarily ones that actually have a shot at winning. In that sense, Serkis absolutely deserved a nomination, and if Caesar was real, I imagine he would be biting someone's head off right about now.
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Michael Fassbender's performance in Shame was nothing short of incredible. There's really not much more that can be said about it. Every moment of that film he was Brandon, who happened to be easily one of the most interesting characters of the year. Without Fassbender's performance, Shame would have fallen apart. With his performance, it's among the best films of the year. I think you can work out what that means.
Michael Fassbender's penis - Shame
It had to be said.
Ryan Gosling - Drive
I didn't think I would ever call Ryan Gosling the ultimate badass, but he really is. Although I had some issues with the character he played, there is nothing about Ryan Gosling's performance that I had an issue with. He played the nice, kinda-loving neighbor guy who drives people home and helps with groceries just as well as he played the brutally violent guy who kicks people's heads in because they suck. I don't think there are a whole lot of actors who could pull that off, but Gosling did.
Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia
Although her performance was not the best of the year (that goes to Rooney Mara), it was a damn good one. Her rapid spiral into depression was completely believable, and though she spent most of the film on that single depressed note, it was a note she played very well.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Albert Brooks - Drive
Seriously. What the fuck is that about?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Carey Mulligan - Shame/Drive
Did you know that Carey Mulligan is British? I sure as hell didn't, and I didn't know that because she's an amazing actress. Her performances in Drive and Shame could barely be more different, but they are both incredible. Her performance in Shame is certainly the superior of the two, but the character of Sissy is far more compelling than that of Irene. She pulled out two amazing supporting performances, and neither of them got any recognition. Absolutely ridiculous.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
There's a pretty good chance that The Skin I Live got stiffed for the same overall reason that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did, it's too adult. Just as you have learned that the academy members never had childhoods, I think it's pretty clear that they've also yet to hit adulthood. They're like pathetic teenagers who want to pretend like they've got some sense of what is artistic. The Skin I Live In is a disturbing psychological thriller with a slowly unfolding twist that creeps up on you perfectly. It's exactly the kind of film the Academy should love, and it's incredibly good to boot. Sure, the nominees in this category seem to be pretty strong, but this is a popularity contest, so it's bizarre that one of the more popular foreign language films of the year got snubbed.
I like to believe that The Front Line didn't get its due because it would force the academy to acknowledge Korean cinema. If it were to do that, it would open the floodgates to all sorts of incredible movies that deserve all kinds of recognition. Unfortunately, they probably just didn't care about a war movie without American soldiers. Regardless, The Front Line deserved some kind of recognition, because it was incredible.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Perhaps there are members of the Academy who don't consider motion/performance capture to be animation. Those people should be put in homes, not given the chance to judge the best films of the year. Sure, motion capture involves actors (most of whom are Andy Serkis in disguise), but it still takes an incredible amount of skill to create and, more importantly, it's still animated. If Rise of the Planet of the Apes had an all-CG world to fit with the all-CG apes, it would be a better movie first off, but it would also be an animated movie. A film that is animated should be judged on its own goddamn merits, technology be damned. Technology may aid an animated film, but it's always done that. It's just gotten a little bit easier, and that is no excuse for this particular snub.
Winnie the Pooh
I think the thing we learn from this is that none of the members of AMPAS ever had a childhood.
Remember that thing I just said about Winnie the Pooh? Yeah, same deal here. If there was any question before, it is entirely gone.
As frequent readers might know, our own Liz Rugg loved The Interrupters, and she is absolutely livid about this particular snub, certainly more than anyone else on staff. It makes sense though. Perhaps it should come as no surprise given that director Steve James has been snubbed before (for his documentary Hoop Dreams) That being said, it's exactly the kind of doc that should win the Oscars, because it's a story about some of the bravest unsung heroes in our country, and everybody loves unsung heroes. Everybody! Dont believe me? Just look at the Internet.
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
I think a new Morgan Spurlock documentary is always something to be anticipated. Unlike the stunts in Michael Moore documentaries, what Spurlock does informs every moment of the film. The idea of funding a film entirely by product placement is really kind of genius, and fortunately Spurlock and his film make good on that genius. It's a documentary about selling out that doesn't feel like it's selling out, and that is one hell of an accomplishment. Also, it's, in part, a documentary about the film industry, which means it should basically be guaranteed a spot on the list.
BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
The Chemical Brothers - Hanna
I haven't even seen Hanna, but that can't stop me from appreciating its damn good soundtrack. I don't know that I would consider myself a big fan of electronic music, but the Hanna soundtrack is definitely one of those albums that reminds me why I enjoy it at all.
The Muppets - The Muppets
Getting a nod for "Man or Muppet" is all well and good, but what about the rest of the soundtrack? All of the songs are amazing. even Chris Cooper's stupid rap is amazing. I listen to "Life's a Happy Song" at least once a day every day, and I generally end up listening to most of it immediately afterwards. It's a wonderful soundtrack, and the lack of a nomination is a crime.
Cliff Martinez - Drive
Although when I listen to the Drive soundtrack I tend to play "Nightcall" and "A Real Hero" on loop, that's not a snub of Martinez's original work, it's simply a sign of how much I love those two songs. The original compositions for Drive fit the mood of the movie amazingly well, and they all hold up on their own as well.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I don't like Led Zeppelin very much. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross made a version of a Led Zeppelin song that I can stand to listen to on multiple occasions. There is a crazy amount of music on the 3 discs that come with the soundtrack, and the whole package actually has a slightly longer runtime than the film itself. It's good mood music, assuming your mood tends to be pretty depressed. It should mostly have been nominated for the arrangement of "The Immigrant Song" though, because it's awesome.
50/50 - Will Reiser
50/50 worked because of its honesty. When it was making me laugh hysterically and when it put me to the verge of tears, it was because of that honesty. And it came from the screenplay, which was loosely based on the life of the writer. Given the fact that he was alive to write it means that the happy ending comes as no surprise, but it was still a pretty heart-wrenching story. It's easily one of the best dram-coms (Jaime coined that term, and I will continue to use it) in a very long time, and it's all thanks to the fantastic script.