2013 Oscar Nominees – How Did the Academy Do?
With the 2013 Academy Awards looming on the horizon (ceremony airing February 24th), we have now been introduced to the nominees for this year’s Oscars (list of nominees available from the Oscars’ website). A good amount of the nominations were expected, but there are a good amount of surprises in this year’s batch of nominees. In addition, there are some quite egregious omissions. Personally, I think this year was much stronger than last year, film-wise. Many more outstanding performances and exemplary films graced the cinema screens, yet I feel that the Academy failed to truly capture many of this year’s most fitting nominees.
To start, let’s examine some of the film awards. There is a sore lack of appreciation for “Cloud Atlas”. This film excelled in so many areas, and should have easily been nominated for cinematography, costume design, and original score. For such an ambitious film that largely succeeds on its many, many levels to get snubbed and receive zero nominations is a shame. Another big miss is the lack of “The Sessions” in the writing category. While I personally didn’t find the film outstanding, its writing was top-notch.
Moving on to the cast awards, “The Sessions” is left out once again. You cannot tell me John Hawkes didn’t deserve an Oscar nomination (let alone a win) for his role as Mark O’Brien. He was phenomenal in the film, and would be my choice for winner of the “best actor in a leading role” award. On a positive note, kudos to the Academy for recognizing the wonderful performance by Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. This nine-year-old girl (who was seven when the movie was finished filming) lit up the screen as Hushpuppy, and I’m pulling for her as a surprise winner in this category. That being said, the amateur actor, Dwight Henry, deserved a nod for his role as Hushpuppy’s father, Wink. It’s a tough choice for me between Leo DiCaprio and him as most deserving of that “best supporting actor” award.
Lastly, and to be quite frank, where the &^*% is “Moonrise Kingdom” on the “best picture” ballot? This was easily one of the best (I feel it is the best) films of the year, and to get shut out for the likes of “Life of Pi” (more like “Life of CGI”) and “Les Misérables” is ridiculous. And speaking of those two films, you’d have to think James Cameron and Anne Hathaway were heavily involved in picking the nominees for how many nominations the CGI-laden “Life of Pi” and overly dramatic “Les Misérables” (aka “Guy Steals a Loaf of Bread and $#!^ Goes Down”) received. Side note: “Life of Pi” may have been called “unfilmable”, but “Cloud Atlas” was much more expansive, ambitious, and awe-inspring. Fancy visuals do not make a movie great (just ask “Avatar”).
With all of these misses, it was still nice to see some nods to films such as “Prometheus” (visual effects), “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (visual effects, make-up/hairstyling, and production design), and “Beasts of the Sounthern Wild” with many, well-deserved nominations. Also, it has been a weak year for animated films (compared to the vast majority of categories where there is heavy competition) which explains the lukewarm nominees.
Hopefully, the Academy can at least pick the best out of the mediocre nomination list it put together. With many high-quality films out there this year, there has been some strong competition for many awards, and this is certainly a year where there has been no clear front-runner in many categories. Yet, there are some of these nominations that are nearly laughable, and some snubs that are just appalling. I guess we’ll just have to wait a month and a half to watch “Lincoln”, “Les Misérables”, and “Life of Pi” win over and over again…. Ugh.