Common Sense Eludes The Academy

Yup, I just used big words to express just how mad I am about the Oscar nominations.  I figured elocution would be more constuctive than unleashing the stream of obscenities that ran through my mind when watching/reading the nominations (/Film has a good comprehensive list up).  It strikes me just how much the Golden Globes got right when you see just how much the Academy got wrong.  My list of complaints can be read after the jump.

Where to begin?  Let me say that there’s a good chance that a lot of my issues have already been taken up by other bloggers, but I have to get my voice out there, too.

-Will Darren Aronofsky EVER get the respect he deserves from the Academy?
Seriously, to say this man grows by leaps and bounds with every film he makes is not understatement.  Not only did he drop all the effects and camera tricks when it came to The Wrestler, HE’S the one who fought for Mickey Rourke to be in the film and HE’S the one who got that magnificent performance out of him.  I’m not saying that Mr. Rourke doesn’t deserve his nomination, because it’s clear he put his heart and soul into that performance, but Mr. Aronofsky derserves a lot of credit for getting that performance as well as sucking you in the world of professional wrestling and the not-so-glamourous side of it, then making you care on top of it all!
It’s clear at this point that Aronofsky doesn’t make movies for Oscar consideration, and that’s to be commended.  As a fan and supporter, though, it’s a bit infuriating to know that the only way he’ll probably ever be recognized properly is with a lifetime achievement award, and that’s a shame.

-In what world does it make ANY kind of sense for Bruce Springsteen to NOT get nominated?
I’m fine with the other three songs that were nominated, but Bruce Springsteen’s song, The Wrestler, should be a mortal lock on Best Song like Falling Slowly from Once was.  That SHOULD be the case, but apparently the Academy couldn’t see one of the most obvious picks of the year.  This song embodies the movie perfectly and it’s a powerful song.  This is probably the biggest mistake of the year for me.

-Cate Blanchett not being nominated for Benjamin Button
This one genuinely perplexes me.  I know that the film is Brad Pitt’s film, technically, but I really believe that Cate Blanchett had more to carry emotionally and that the movie really is about her in a sense.  In a year when it’s believed across the board that it was a weak one for actresses, I just don’t understand how one of the most fully developed female performances goes completely overlooked.  Listen to this week’s show for my feelings about why Blanchett’s Daisy is more powerful than Robin Wright Penn’s Jenny in Forest Gump.  It isn’t a slight against Penn’s performance, but the writing of her character.

-The complete snub of Let The Right One In
Harry Knowles has written a great article talking about why this Swedish gem isn’t being considered, but it really doesn’t make it any less of a travesty.  It’s not often that you find as unique and phenomenal a film as this.  To completely ignore it because of a rule is just wrong.  I know that opening up Foreign Film nominations to anybody could flood the Academy with films to be nominated, but a movie a great as this would have definitely stood out from the crowd.  This isn’t a new gripe, and I knew Let The Right One In wouldn’t be nominated for anything, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a shame.

-The Dark Knight’s nomination for Best Makup
This is another one that completely puzzles me.  Don’t get me wrong, the Joker makeup on Ledger is good, but that’s the only bit of makeup that I remotely recall being used in the movie.  It just seems kind of  a silly nomination.

There are other things that people are up in arms about, but I haven’t honestly seen all the films nominated, so I’m not comfortable commenting on them.  I’m going to do my best to see as many of them as possible before the Oscars, but I’m pretty unimpressed overall.  However, after being so disappointed, I’m convinced that the Academy stumbled into some inspired choice purely by accident.

-Mickey Rourke’s nomination
This made me quite happy.  I really haven’t seen a more powerful performance in a LONG time and it’s great to see the Academy pull its collective head out to get this one right.

-Robert Downey Jr.’s nomination for Tropic Thunder
This one really is a suprise for me.  For a group that tends to take political correctness to an extreme, I’m pleased that they recognized such a risky performance.

Presto nominated for Best Animated Short Film
I have to say, Presto is my favorite Pixar short, and that’s really saying something.  Sometimes, something so obvious grabs you by the shirt and slaps your face.  THIS time, the Academy paid attention.

-Marisa Tomei’s nomination
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Marisa Tomei’s performance in The Wrestler.  In many ways, she’s the emotional anchor of the film.  It’s just SO good and so subdued that I genuinely thought it would slip under the Academy’s radar.  This is a very pleasant surpise.

-Taraji Henson’s nomination for Benjamin Button
For me, this was the best supporting actress role of the year.  Ms. Henson’s performance as Queenie was funny, heartbreaking and and truly loving all at the same time.  Her role could have been a complete throw-away, but Ms. Henson really made the most of it.

So, after seeing a promising start with the Golden Globes, the Oscar nominations seem to have let a lot of people down.  We’ll still be there on February 22nd at 8pm EST on ABC watching them.  We might even break out the mics and do a streaming commentary at the same time.  You never know, this might be the one time that we have a chance to be more entertaining than Hugh Jackaman!


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Dave Minkus

Dave is located in Denver, CO and can also be found occasionally sullying various podcasts who don't know better than to invite him on.

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