THE BIG WINNERS
Surprise, surprise. Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed Lincoln leads the field, with 12 nominations in total, including best picture. That ties the number of nominations won by another Spielberg film, 1993’s Schindler’s List, which went on to win seven statues. Among the other heavy hitters was Life of Pi, based on the Yann Martel novel, with 11 nods. A quick look at the big four categories:
Nominated for best actress:
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour; Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Naomi Watts, The Impossible; Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook.
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln; Michael Haneke, Amour; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook; Ang Lee, Life of Pi; Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Best supporting actor:
Alan Arkin, Argo; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained.
Best supporting actress:
Amy Adams, The Master; Sally Field, Lincoln; Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook.
AND NOW FOR THE SNUBS
The annual announcement of Oscar nominations is, of course, also the annual announcement of Oscar snubs. No category is stirring up quite as much interest this year as the best director category. Among those left out are Tom Hooper for Les Misérables, Ben Affleck for Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Quentin Tarantino for his spaghetti-western slave drama, Django Unchained.
The 369 members of the directors’ branch, or about 6 per cent of the Academy’s 5,784 voting members, picked the nominees, though the entire membership will get to vote on the winner, which will be announced on Feb. 24.
In 2010, Bigelow won a best director Oscar for The Hurt Locker, the only woman to have won that prize in history. If Hollywood liberal sympathies helped her that time, they may have hurt her this time. Zero Dark Thirty has become a political lightning rod for its depiction of torture and the co-operation of the CIA in making the film. Anti-torture protesters greeted the Washington, D.C. premiere earlier this week. Similarly, it might be easy to assume that Tarantino’s promiscuous use of the N-Word in Django Unchained, caused him to lose an Oscar nod. Yet, the Academy as a whole acknowledged Zero Dark Thirty in nominations for best picture, best actress (Jessica Chastain), best screenplay (Mark Boal) and editing. Django Unchained is also up for five awards, including screenplay, best supporting actor, cinematography and best picture.
The evidence is just as good that the Academy is more diverse in its tastes than the media prognosticators guessed. Amour earned five awards in total, and Beasts of the Southern Wild got four. Both are up for best picture nominations, which according to the current rules, means at least five per cent of the Academy members thought that each of these long shots was the best film released in the United States last year. – Liam Lacey
ONE FOR THE AGES
Two records were set, with both the youngest and oldest actresses to ever be nominated in the best actress category: nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis for the independent film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva for Amour.
In addition to Kim Nguyen’s Rebelle getting a nod in the foreign film category, Toronto-based composer Mychael Danna is up for two Academy Awards: best song and best original score for his work on Life of Pi.
In the liner notes to the Life of Pi soundtrack album, director Ang Lee praised Danna, the Winnipeg-born composer of the film’s score. “It takes us through the movie, which is hard to grasp … expressing the inexpressible and giving form to emotion as only music can,” Lee writes. “Many people said it was impossible to make the movie,” said Danna, reacting to the news of his nominations. “The biggest challenge in every department, not just music, was that there’s no film like it.” Danna took a full year to prepare the soundtrack for a movie four years in the making. “That’s a long time, but we needed it,” said the Toronto-based composer. “We had to solve the puzzle of how to make this beautiful, life-affirming and inspiring book into a beautiful, life-affirming and inspiring film. There was not an obvious and easy pathway.”
And two Canadians are nominated in the best live-action short category: Halifax-raised producer Ariel Nasr for Buzkashi Boys and Quebec actor Yan England for Henry. Guillaume Rocheron, the French-born but Vancouver-based visual-effects supervisor of Life of Pi, was nominated for best visual effects.
BOND TAKES A SHOT
The latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, won five Oscar nominations on Thursday, the highest tally for a 007 picture, but the major categories including best picture once again eluded the franchise that has just celebrated its 50th anniversary.
REACTION TWEET OF THE DAY
“Oh my god I feel like Meryl Streep!”
– British singer Adele, after her song Skyfall received a best original song nomination
READERS WEIGH IN
Globe community editor Amberly McAteer monitored reader reaction all day. Here are some of the best responses from our readers:
“Sally Field does not belong on this list. The Academy loves her for some strange reason – her performance was annoying and if it were removed entirely, would have improved an already amazing movie.”
– Martha Mantikoski, Calgary
“I’m shocked Ben Affleck missed out on a best director nomination. I saw his film Argo at TIFF and despite the controversy about its authenticity and credit to Canada, it was thrilling. I thought the film was well-directed and really expected Affleck to see some praise for his work when it came to Oscar time. I guess that’s not the case.”
– Tara Deschamps, Vaughan, Ont.
I’ve never felt more moved than when I watched Les Mis – it was so well done and the first time I’ve ever called a movie “beautiful.” Best acting I have ever seen. I actually believed the characters’ stories and the singing was excellent. Nothing can compare to this movie.
– Amanda Raymond, Ottawa
Django Unchained deserves best picture. It was raw and filthy yet beautifully constructed – a film that didn’t hold back, not for anyone. Jamie Foxx was snubbed for best actor; he deserves recognition for his transformation into Quentin Tarantino’s Django, a role unlike any he has played before.
– Elise, Toronto
With reports from The Canadian Press, New York Times News Service, Reuters, Associated Press