Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

February 1, 2011

All of these people are 17 years old.

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And the Oscar goes to...exactly who you expected

Kim Hollis: Now that Academy Award nominations have been announced, what do you think are the biggest surprises? What nominations make you happiest? Most angry?

Josh Spiegel: I will answer your first and third questions with a question of my own. Will we find out during the Oscar ceremonies how many Academy voters' dogs were killed by the hand of Christopher Nolan? Because that must be why he's gotten three Directors' Guild nominations without a single Best Director nod from the Academy. My consolation prize is comparing Nolan - in awards terms, at least - to Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick, two other British greats who never won an Oscar for Best Director. I'm thrilled to see Toy Story 3 get the expected nominations, as well as those for my other personal faves, but there are very few surprises here. The biggest one of all is that, if the guilds are a hint, we're not going to see The Social Network win much more than Best Original Screenplay.

Brett Beach: I think the biggest surprise for me is that True Grit came as close as it did to tying The King's Speech for most nominations, and that was with its score being ruled ineligible by the arcane by-laws of that branch of the Academy. I was also surprised to see Black Swan up for Best Picture, even more so than Winter's Bone. I know it was up at the Globes, but I felt it would be just a tad too out there for the older members. Angry about? The whole kerfluffle over where to put Hailee Steinfeld and Leslie Manville is ridiculous. As technical and anal as it sounds, perhaps a rule should be instituted whereby anyone who is on-screen for more than half the running time, can only be considered in the lead category, and not supporting. It becomes solely about sticking her in the category where she might win, rather than the one that is honestly accurate. Happiest? I haven't seen the film, but was glad to see Sandy Powell nominated for The Tempest. She's my generation's Edith Head and ever since her credit card dress in the mid-90s, I've been a fan. Also, I am glad that Ruffalo has joined the nominee club at last.

Matthew Huntley: I'm with Josh in that there are no real surprises, though I'm more confident Nolan will have his moment in the sun one day. He'll probably win Best Director for a movie most people think is not as good as The Dark Knight or Inception (similar to people thinking Scorsese didn't deserve it for The Departed as much as, say, Raging Bull). These things are cyclical.

After seeing Blue Valentine today, I'm very happy to see Michelle Williams received a nomination for Best Actress. She creates one of the most sympathetic characters in a long time and she does it without gimmicks. With that said, why didn't Ryan Gosling also get nominated? He was just as indelible as his co-star. Although Natalie Portman has a practical lock on Best Actress, this is a very strong category this year (though I've to see Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole) and I think they are all deserving.


If I had to choose something to be angry about, it's that True Grit received so many nominations. Don't get me wrong - it is a fine movie, and the performances are worthy, but the picture as a whole didn't seem deserving of 10 potential Oscars. The Coen Brothers are so talented that I think these nominations were handed out by default. Again, True Grit is good, but I think this was the "safe" movie to hand out nominations to. The Coens don't usually make "safe" movies, and those are usually their best ones.

One quick note: Now that the PGA, DGA and SAG awards have been so kind to The King's Speech, and deservedly so (it's a great movie), I'm disappointed the more youth-oriented The Social Network isn't as strong a contender as it was only weeks ago. I personally feel The King's Speech is the better movie, but I was excited to see a movie about young people get so many accolades. To me, it signified Hollywood was opening up a bit and rewarding movies that were trying to be more edgy. Just an observation...

Edwin Davies: Snubbing Christopher Nolan and Haillee Steinfeld calling into question what the hell a Leading Actress is are the only things that really, really bother me. There's other stuff like Clint Mansell, one of the finest composers currently working, being denied a nomination for his work on Black Swan, but the news that his work would be deemed ineligible broke a few weeks ago so I've more or less got over it by now. Other than that, it's little things like, "How come 127 Hours didn't get nominated for cinematography?" which only bother me and like-minded film nerds. It's a pretty solid year and I really don't have all that much to complain about.

In terms of things that make me happy; Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross getting nominated for The Social Network's score; Banksy (BANKSY!) becoming the least likely Oscar nominee since Three 6 Mafia or Robert Towne's dog; John Hawkes landing a nomination for Winter's Bone. In fact, all the love for Winter's Bone has made me very, very happy. It's not going to win any of the awards it is up for, but that it has been duly recognized as one of the best films of the year and will now be on a lot more people's radar is just fantastic news.

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