The Oscar nominations have been and gone and my rage has settled. I don't really know what the problem was; it's the same every year and with most awards shows. If you look at my Top 5 films of 2010, the only film not to pick up a nomination was Kick Ass - and there was never a candidate given the fact it had a tween girl killing people while saying c**t. But perplexed I was regardless, mainly because of The Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts insistence on sticking (mainly) to the script.
The most inexpiable entry for me is that of Nicole Kidman. I've never been a fan of her work, but she has given some decent performances throughout her career - for me, personally, none I'd deem Oscar worthy. In Rabbit Hole she is fine; but seems to have been rewarded for giving up the botox for a few weeks. It's a mediocre film regardless, and the nomination does feel like a gesture. The real hyperbole, however. has been reserved for family dramedy, The Kids Are All Right. A film I really wanted to love given the reaction of some of favourite critics, I enjoyed it but found it, essentially, to be a very straight forward (modern) family film that has been maybe a bit more lauded because the two protagonists happened to be gay - and it's never an issue within the film. Granted, something like that should be given massive kudos, but not an Oscar. It could've been the hype that ruined it for me, while Bennings performance isn't far off Kidman's in terms of quality. Look at the other three nominees in the Best Actress category: Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan). Each one of them did something remarkable with their respective roles and their performances are all worthy of a win any given year. That said, Sandra Bullock won last year, let us not forget - for a worthy, but hardly stunning turn.
Best Actor wise I still think Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling were robbed. Due to studio politics, Reynolds was never in the running, but Gosling seemed a certainty (which is what I said on national television last week... FML). Jeff Bridges is really good in True Grit, as are Firth, Franco and Eisenberg in their flicks. While the smart money is still on Firth, I'd really love to see Franco win it. Partly because he never really set out with that kind of career trajectory, and just makes films that he finds interesting, picking up Oscar nominations on his talent alone - also, I genuinely think he's the best of the bunch. Mark Wahlberg is another omission, but him getting The Fighter made is a victory in itself - never mind how well it turned out.
The one big, fat glaring f**k up has to be no Christopher Nolan in the Best Director category. I still think the Oscar is David Finchers' for the taking, but Nolan really did someone very special with Inception. It is an incredible translation of idea to film; to communicate something so inherently complex to his filmmaking team is a daunting task itself. To have it turn out as spectacular as it did is an incredible achievement, and he, at the very least deserved a nod. There could still be an upset on the night with him picking up Best Picture, but I doubt it.
Here are who I think will win the main categories (not who I want to in all cases)
Best Film: The Social Network. Best Director: David Fincher. Best Actress: Natalie Portman.
Best Actor: Colin Firth. Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams. Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale Best Original Screenplay: The Kids Are All Right. Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network