The Conversation: What Do You Think of the 2012 Oscar Nominees?

The Conversation: What Do You Think of the 2012 Oscar Nominees?

Jan 24, 2012

What a fun morning this was, getting up early as if it's Christmas and overlooking any joy in favor of traces of coal in our stockings. I never followed the Twittersphere on Oscar nomination day before this year, so I'm not sure if this is a new development, but how about all that cursing?! Going back through the tweets I selected I found so much foul language I thought I was in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium during a game against the Red Sox. (Damn you, Moneyball for being so great I'm still dropping the baseball metaphors all over the place.) Basically, there's been a lot of Academy hatred today.

You all know the Oscars aren't really that important, right? It's not as if AIDS research was snubbed. Osama Bin Laden hasn't been nominated for a posthumous lifetime achievement award. As a guy name Jason Cook tweeted, "An Oscar snub is the last level of first-world problems." And the weird thing is, it's people with nothing to gain that are doing the most complaining. Outside Mary J. Blige, that is. And Albert Brooks, but he's joking to an extent. Still, I'd love to see if the whiners indeed boycott or ignore the telecast this year as many are claiming. Maybe this could be a good year to let the Academy know they're dull, irrelevant, behind the times, etc.

I honestly have no reaction to any of the nominees or those left out. The Academy has completely ceased to surprise me since the Interrupters shortlist snub last fall. I did write a bit about the documentary categories today and was pretty proud of myself for getting 4 out of 5 right in my last minute predictions. You can find my comments and analysis of those choices on the Documentary Channel Blog. Let's not waste any more space in getting to the broad and varied responses to the nominations below, starting with the few positives and moving on to the obligatory pessimism followed by today's direct polling results.


What are people saying about the 2012 Oscar nominations? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet: 

The Good

It’s nice to see Midnight in Paris get recognized, not because it was the best movie I saw this year (it was cute), but because it was the only one of these not specifically marketed as an Oscar picture. It’s amazing, you just tell Academy voters what they like and they like it! It’s like MANswers for faux-intellectuals. I’m not sure if these idiots thought they were judging art or buying cigarettes. “Debonair dudes prefer Moneyball. It’s the smoothest!” - Vince Mancini, Film Drunk

Finally, we can no longer say that Gary Oldman is one of the greatest living actors to have never received an Oscar nomination. He deservedly snuck into the best actor category for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," which also took screenplay and score nominations. - Peter Knegt, Indiewire

The biggest surprise in the major categories is the well-deserved nomination of Demián Bichir for Best Actor for his role in Chris Weitz’s “A Better Life”; the movie—a passionate, meticulously realistic drama about a Los Angeles gardener and undocumented immigrant whose efforts to improve his and his son’s life bring terrible complications—had a sparse release and meager box-office results. It deserved better. - Richard Brody, The Front Row (New Yorker)

[Bichir]'s this year's Richard Jenkins, the mostly unheralded actor who's been working for years (his first credit on IMDb is from 1977) who is finally getting a little recognition for a good, humble performance. - Richard Lawson, The Atlantic Wire 

There's one pick from today's Oscar pool that we love a little more than the others... and that's Melissa McCarthy, who scored a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her incredible performance in "Bridesmaids." And while the girl is in some seriously competitive company, let's be real, it takes a special kind of lady to catch the attention of the Academy by (among other things) pooping in a sink on-screen. Melissa for the win! And also for President! - Kat Rosenfield, Hollywood Crush

One of the most fascinating categories is best supporting actor [...] "Superbad" fans, did you ever think you'd see Hill up against an Ingmar Bergman favorite, “The Sound of Music” captain, and Hamlet? - Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press

Muppets! I told you the rock ballad "Man or Muppet" by Bret McKenzie (yes, The Conchords' Bret McKenzie) was an amazing song. Now, the Academy thinks so too, since it's only one of two tunes picked for Music (Original Song) – the other from the animated film Rio. Maybe it's sad that this is the nomination that made me squeal this morning. But if it's wrong to be thrilled that the Muppets get a fifty/fifty shot at an Oscar, I don't want to be right. - Alynda Wheat, People

Way to go John Williams!!!!! I mean, forty-five Oscar nominations and five wins including the unforgettable Star Wars, Jaws, and ET soundtracks is moderately impressive, but forty-SEVEN Oscar nominations? That’s just ridiculous. I’ll say it – this man has a true talent for composing movie scores. Keep an eye on him. - Dan Hopper, Best Week Ever

@ThePlaylist: Melissa McCarthy, now an Oscar nominee. F**king yes ,Nick Nolte love! Nice work Jonah Hill.

@firstshowing: Yay so glad to see Rooney Mara get a nomination and Nick Nolte in Warrior, too! Congrats!

@cameron_tiff: Gary Oldman, good on ya.


@loquaciousmuse: OLDMAN YAAAAAAAAAAY

@Ethan_Anderton: Hell yeah for MARGIN CALL getting a screenplay nomination!

@champura: Most happy about A SEPARATION screenplay, Rooney Mara just getting an Actress nom & Mallick Directing nom.

@devincf: So glad to see DRAGON TATTOO snubbed.

@Matthew_Lucas: For the first time since 2007, the actual best picture of the year got nominated for Best Picture. #thetreeoflife

The Bad
What an extraordinarily masturbatory list of nominations: even by the Academy Awards' standards, this is quite a display of self-love on the part of the movie world. - Hadley Freeman, Guardian Film Blog

No Love for Genre Pics in Best Pic Category. Some movies just can't break out of their genres. Even with universally fabulous reviews, a ton of fans and stellar casts, movies like "Bridesmaids," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II" and "The Girl With the Drag Tattoo" were all frozen out of the Best Picture race. Is it because James Cameron didn't direct them? We'll never know, but we're still sad (especially about "Potter"). - Sandie Angulo Chen, Next Movie

When a movie makes more than one billion dollars world-wide, you should pay attention. When a movie earns some of the most unanimous praise of the year from critics, you should pay attention. Despite both of these enormous factors, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" scored only three nominations, all in technical categories. The snub reveals the supreme stubbornness of the Academy. - Kevin P. Sullivan, MTV Movies Blog

Warner Bros. pushed hard to get a best picture nomination for the final installment of the franchise, but it didn't happen. The academy nominated nine movies for best picture this year under its new rules -- so let the conspiracy theories that "Deathly Hallows Part 2" was the 10th take root. - Rick Porter, Zap2It

The omission of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 might be just as surprising for some as Bridesmaids‘ snub, especially since it was passed over for a nomination not only in the Best Picture race, but in most major categories. While 2003′s The Return of the King, the final installment in the Lord of the Rings saga, was rewarded with the Best Picture statuette, it seems there will be no lifetime achievement award for the beloved and wildly popular Harry Potter series. - Aly Semigran, PopWatch (Entertainment Weekly)

No Bridesmaids?! Judging by its nominations for Melissa McCarthy (Best Supporting Actress) and Kristen Wiig (Original Screenplay), the R-rated blockbuster was deigned an Oscar film. It just wasn't deigned a Best Picture film. The Dark Knight, The Hangover and a couple of generation's worth other Oscar-slighted crowd-pleasers can relate. - Joal Ryan, E!

[Bridesmaids] was the rare mainstream comedy that left both commoners and critics dying for more. The Producers, Screen Actors and Writers Guilds all saw fit to nominate it - it seemed that the Academy might just do the same. [...] Indeed, comedy may be the ultimate Oscar bridesmaid. - Tariq Khan, Fox News

Sparkling films aimed at Millennials and 30-somethings were left completely off the list. No love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's courageous performance as a young man dealing with the physical, social and philosophical ramifications of a sudden cancer diagnosis. Seth Rogen, one of his generation's biggest stars, co-starred in the film, 50/50, as did Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard; they all put in stellar performances for a brave script based on the experiences of writer Will Reiser, who was shut out of Best Original Screenplay. - Jordan Zakarin, The Huffington Post

Two of the year’s best pictures, Beginners and Margin Call, were hardly mentioned save for a token screenplay nomination and, of course, career recognition of for the marvelous Christopher Plummer. Mike Mills’s superb and original Beginners screenplay had no support, nor did the glorious ensemble work in Margin Call of Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Zachary Quinto, and Jeremy Irons. - David Edelstein, Vulture

Seriously, The Help AND Extremely Nine and Incredibly Eleven are both nominated for BEST PICTURE? Of the whole year?! Good grief. - Gabe, Videogum

Now I'm not saying Extremely Loud and Tree of Life didn't deserve it, in fact I love Extremely Loud and love the nomination, but how do these two films, which received two and three nominations each, find their way into the Best Picture list ahead of a Dragon Tattoo, which not only received five nominations, but one of them was for Best Film Editing? Sure, Malick got a nom for Best Director, but Scott Rudin must have really worked the circuit to get a Picture nom for Extremely Loud. - Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

Despite Stephen Daldry’s critic-dividing Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close landing a Best Pic nod over a more universally-beloved title like, say, Warrior, that selection was (unfortunately) expected. - Sandy Schaefer, Screen Rant

Interestingly, Extremely Loud was directed by Stephen Daldry, who also directed The Reader, the 2008 film in which Kate Winslet played an illiterate Nazi prison guard — a Best Picture nominee that a fair number of critics also hated. At the same time, it's genuinely not often that a movie that this many critics hate this much is nominated for Best Picture, even if it does star Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. - Linda Holmes, Monkey See (NPR)

One of the biggest surprises of the morning, for many, was the fact that Swinton was passed over in favor of Mara despite scoring virtually every important precursor nom that an actress can: SAG, HFPA, BFCA, and BAFTA. My sense is that many people simply found Kevin to be too disturbing and without a clear point. I never quite bought that Swinton -- as great an actress as she is -- would be nominated for such a dark film after being ignored last year for an even better performance in a far more digestible film, I Am Love. - Scott Feinberg, The Race (The Hollywood Reporter)

While Young Adult's shut-out in the other major categories unfortunate and undeserved but not unexpected, the snub of Charlize Theron is — that was a difficult, brilliant piece of work, as Oscar-worthy as any of these. - Jason Bailey, Flavorwire

We cannot believe Andy Serkis was snubbed a nomination for his performance in Apes. Ridiculous. Perhaps The Academy needs to make a digital performance category is they're going to continue to ignore the amazing work real actors are doing behind the CG faces of their characters. But we'd rather them simply get the nomination without having to label anything "digital." - Meredith Woerner, io9

This snub doesn’t appear to be directly pointed at Serkis as an actor, but more so at the technique of motion-capture itself. Another HUGE snub goes to The Adventures of Tintin in the animated category. That movie is pure awesome and didn’t get a nod. Yet, Puss In Boots makes the list despite its animated style having been featured on screens in four other movies over the past 11 years. - Wookie Johnson, Screen Junkies

"Real in Rio?" Seriously? [...] that's not even the best song in "Rio." "Real in Rio" is the jaunty song from the Carnival scene of that fun animated film. But a much better choice would have been's catchy "Hot Wings" or Ester Dean's delightfully dancy, "Let Me Take You To Rio."  Actually, my favorite songs from that film are's 'Drop It Low" and Jamie Foxx's "Fly Love." - Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, MSNBC

I am extremely disappointed that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were not nominated for the Best Original Score Oscar for their work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but it seems like Dragon Tattoo was destined to get the shaft from the Academy just like it’s been getting the shaft from the other awards shows. At least Rooney Mara managed to get a nom (which she won’t win) for her work in Dragon Tattoo. - Trent, Pink is the New Blog

THe truly worst thing about today’s nominations for me personally, was the exclusion of Buck and especially Project Nim from the Doc feature list. I’m just disgusted and horrified by this – so much so that I can’t really imagine spending another minute on the Oscar race. - Sasha Stone, Awards Daily

In other words, the Oscars are the same as they are every year: Snobby, elite, old, and devoid of any Fassbender penis. Shame, indeed. On YOU, Academy Members. “For I have seen the nipple on your soul!” — Elaine Benes. - Michelle Collins, Best Week Ever

To go from the occasionally ridiculous to the sublime, the Oscar nominations put me in mind of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," a title Hollywood can surely relate to:

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"       - Steve Pond, The Wrap

@DavidPoland: Albert Brooks got screwed

@AlbertBrooks: I got ROBBED. I don't mean the Oscars, I mean literally. My pants and shoes have been stolen.

@SmarmyJerkface: Jonah Hill has an Oscar nomination. The Mayans were right.

@devincf: Andy Serkis wuz robbed.

@jamesrocchi: Rooney Mara is a Nominee for Best Artist in a Leading Rolahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha whoooo, that's funny.

@Ethan_Anderton: Ryan Gosling snubbed for Best Actor? Bullshit.

@MellyJHart: Big snub to my fav actor of 2011 Ryan Gosling! He was smashing in crazy stupid love & incredible in Ides of March! Heard Driven was great 2!

@indiewire: no Tilda, no Albert Brooks, no Michael Fassbender. Sad face

@empiremagazine: Michael Fassbender may have been overlooked, but as we all know by now, he's got his own giant gong to wield on the night.

@littleborge: i am incensed by miranda july's oscar snub. maybe it's the taint from that whole congress debacle

@scottEweinberg: I cannot f**king believe Bridesmaids is nominated for a "screenplay." So Bridesmaids has more nominations than Drive? Am I on crack?

@kristapley: Only TWO song nominees, and only one from The Muppets. The other from f**kin' Rio??

@maryjblige: It saddens me & feels like the Academy is being mean. 2 only nominate 2 of the 5 slots is.......

@MusicFilmWeb: Project Nim def in running for biggest snub. Jaw still on ground.

@kateyrich: 9 Best Picture nominees, including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close??? God bless you crazy Oscars.

@EriktheMovieman: Are you f**king serious Academy? Extremely Loud for Best Picture, You all go suck something.

@AwardsDaily: Well that sucked. But congrats to those who predicted Tree of Life -- War Horse and Extremely Loud -- Suck my dick, AMPAS

@jenmovies: I think I should go back to focusing my attention on Oscar rage. I mean...WTF Academy? Some of these are just...I mean...Bridesmaids WTF in any category (sorry), Jonah Hill was...what?, the animation category is a laugh. I'm so excited for Nolte though. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE JONAH HILL. I think an Oscar nod now is a tad premature. A recognised dramatic actor wouldn't have gotten nom. Every year the Oscars get worse and worse. Them ignoring Drive is like a museum saying no to a Picasso. F**kin' tards.

@mjsamps: Well that was a tall glass of WTF to start the morning.

Conversation Twitter Poll: What do you think about the 2012 Oscar nominations? Biggest snubs? Biggest Surprises? 

@NYCinemaClub: Happy to see Tree of Life, Michelle Williams, Melissa McCarthy, & Chris Plummer get nods. Once again confused by Moneyball.

@SceneStealrEric: Excited for Tree of Life, Malick, A Separation (screenplay!), but disappointed no Shannon, Fassbender, Dunst, Brooks, Swinton

@BenBrown62: Biggest surprise: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for Best Picture. Biggest Snub: Michael Fassbender for Best Actor.

@ljrTR: surprised at noms for "Extremely Loud..." Didn't it get awful reviews??

@Brandon__Said: Far and away, the biggest snub is Michael Shannon in "Take Shelter."

@FramedPanda: I'm surprised at all the snubs like Brooks, Fassbender, and Swinton. They were locks for sure, I think.

@Merazad: Rather dull. Where is Kevin, Drive & Shame?

@timhorsburgh: I'd say the horse and the monkey are probably feeling a little surprised today.


Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.

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