OSCARS 2011: The part where Karen tries to channel disappointment and surprise into words—and also gloats

Yup, I'm one of those weeping "fanboys" about this snub.

The wacky morning that delivered the announcement of the 83rd Academy Award nominees was just like one of any other year in this modern era—polite cheers and mild hooting heard in the press room and caps lock posts all around the Internet expressing glee. But for every instance of “Yay, Jesse Eisenberg!” there seemed to be many more comments expressing “No Andrew Garfield though?” And oh boy, that’s only the start of the cries of “snubbed” mayhem.

A prolific snub also came in the form of Christopher Nolan, who has struck a chord with the Directors Guild three times (Including this year) but can’t ever seem to win with the Academy. The Inception director struck out on the third time with the Oscars and was replaced with Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit. If it’s of any consolation to my fellow Inception fans and Nolan supporters, he still receives recognition with a Best Original Screenplay nod and for producing the film with partner/wife Emma Thomas, which filled up a spot in the Best Picture race. I had a gut feeling last night, however (and this is the part where I gloat because I predicted right), that the Coens would make it in over Nolan. Perhaps the Academy couldn’t handle both Nolan and Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)’s complex, creative, and exaggerated styles and direction and could only make room for one of them, and with Black Swan‘s profile rising in the past month critically and in the box office and with actress Natalie Portman‘s multiple wins, who’s to say that Aronofsky is disposable? Or perhaps there is simply a vendetta against Nolan, because I can’t wrap my head around three DGA nominations, but no Oscar nominations. Maybe he should make an easy-to-figure-out, sappy period drama and release it in December, or create a 3-D film that includes green people to challenge the blue people in Pandora. But that would be too easy, conventional, and unlike the Christopher Nolan that non-Academy voters do adore and respect. People aren’t going to let them live this one down—when The Dark Knight Rises is released and is a possible contender for the Oscars (If it even lives up to that caliber), fans will now be adding the title Inception to the list of films Nolan never got enough love for.

Also snubbed for what I contend is still the year’s best film: where’s Lee Smith for Best Editing? Did those last 45 minutes of showing dreams-within-dreams-within-dreams along with Hans Zimmer‘s booming score pounding in the background layer themselves? Aside from the actors (Who weren’t even going to make the race anyway), the way the film was brilliantly edited and directed made for conveying the twisty and mindblowing tale. What a shame that it’s as if those key players never existed.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Andrew Garfield as the betrayed nerd entrepreneur Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network is widely-seen as a snub—and one that I lament. His delivery of dialogue and performance in his final scene is one of the best single moments in film, startling and saddening as tension comes to a boiling point. Luckily, I believe Garfield’s young age and budding career will give him plenty of chances for even more Oscar-nominated roles in the future.

While I was very happy to see Michelle Williams in the running for Best Actress as a distressed wife in Blue Valentine, the absence of co-star and film husband Ryan Gosling was disheartening, though expected. However, Williams without Gosling is like an Oreo cookie without the filling—it doesn’t really exist without an essential element. This is not saying that Williams’ nomination was undeserved (Read: I wanted her in!), but if you’re going to nominate her, might as well give one to Gosling too. After all, Blue Valentine was a marriage drama and marriage comes in twos. Williams’ portrayal of a devastated character in a failing relationship could not exist without her deteriorating other half, in which Gosling made lots of hearts cry. Not that it matters that much, however, as it’s still Colin Firth and Natalie Portman’s reign to be dethroned.

Tangled missed out on a nomination for Best Animated Feature, which I found quite insulting. The Rapunzel tale broke new ground for the Disney franchise, incorporating more adventure, the latest in animation, and a spin on a beloved story while still retaining a sweet classic princess vibe that Disney is most known for. What the heck is The Illusionist anyway?

For one thing I can be fully happy about amongst all the disappointment? Jeremy Renner staying in the Best Supporting Actor race. John Hawkes landing a nomination for Winter’s Bone was not as widely predicted, though deserved, and I’m glad that Renner was an actor who didn’t lose out. His portrayal as crazed ruthless criminal James Coughlin in Ben Affleck’s supposed-to-be-Best Picture-nominated The Town deserved a nod if for nothing else—because, what a great character to hate, and what a remarkable transition from playing a much more subdued bomb squad leader and “hero type” in last year’s Best Picture, The Hurt Locker, for a memorable performance to admire.

And for all my hurt feelings about these snubs, I find a little comfort for my bruised soul in getting some predictions right: my Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress predictions matched up perfectly to the actual nominees, Javier Bardem was my first alternate to replace Gosling as a Best Actor nominee, and of course, the Coens snuck in the Best Director race and bumped Nolan out.

Although the last of the nominees of the major awards this year has now been released, there’s still much to place wagers on: the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild, the Writers Guild, and of course, the big event itself on Feb. 27.

Who do you think got snubbed this year, and what were your favorite surprise nominations?

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6 thoughts on “OSCARS 2011: The part where Karen tries to channel disappointment and surprise into words—and also gloats

  1. I’m very surprised that Nolan didn’t receive a nomination for Best Director. Even though the race is really tight this year, he definitely deserves the recognition for his project. I would have loved to see Tangled as one of the Best Animated Feature candidates too.

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    1. I’ll always believe that he deserved to WIN Best Director, but I’m not surprised that he didn’t get nominated. It would’ve been too good to be true after he suffered the same fate with Memento and The Dark Knight. He definitely deserved his due this time though. 😦

      I always thought Animated Films got five nominations. Guess I was wrong. I think Toy Story 3, Tangled, and Despicable Me would have been the perfect lineup for that category.

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  2. Janna

    I agree with you on the lack of nominations for Nolan and Garfield – disappointing! I’m hoping they’ll get their chance in the future, though – they’ve both got a lot of momentum and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

    The one snub that doesn’t bother me, though, is the lack of Best Editing nomination for Inception. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the movie. I certainly put enough money in Nolan’s pocket over the summer. But those final thirty minutes as we count down to the van hitting the water have never sat totally right with me. I’m working as an editor, and while I’d never dream to say that I know as much, never mind more, about editing as Lee Smith, I’ve never been able to watch that ending and be 100% engrossed. That’s because the editor inside me keeps wanting to grab hold of the footage and tweak it. I would love to see some of those shots trimmed, extended, or rearranged – I think there are several moments that lose tension or that just aren’t put together quite right. It’s never sat right with me, and it’s such a crucial part of the film. Maybe other Academy voters felt the same way as I did about that final climax?

    Hey, who’s to say. I think the film is incredibly well done, but that part has always bothered me. Just a bit of opinion and speculation. 🙂

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    1. I hope they both get their due in the near future! Like you said, they both have much ahead of them. 🙂

      The directing snub bothers me more than the editing snub for Inception. I’ve read that people have had issues with the editing. I think the pace at which the van hits the water bothers me a lot too, but honestly, I feel the opposite and feel so engrossed during those last minutes. Who knows, maybe it’s worth another watch to really look at it! 😉 And it’s always interesting to hear perspectives from other film editors–I’ve heard things from both sides.

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