83rd Academy Award Nominations

Best Picture:
As I said before, 2010 wasn't a great year for movies. If you asked me a month ago which ten films were getting the nominations for best picture, I could have picked them. I'm not Nostradamus, it was just painfully obvious. I think everybody would have come to the same conclusion. Last year there were surprises like A Serious Man and District 9. We don't have anything like that this year. There were only two or three dark horses sitting in the wings, but if they somehow achieved the impossible and garnered a coveted nomination, I can't tell which of the ten final nominees would be bumped in their favor. This is a seriously conclusive final list, and while predictable, I can't really object to it.

Best Animated Feature:
This, however, was a surprise. Not a single person doubted Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon cinching up two of three nomination slots here. The mystery laid with who was lucky contender number 3. The poor, poor sap who would have to take home the 'Participant' trophy in the most heated competition since Shrek went up against Monsters Inc. (And yes, I still claim How to Train Your Dragon has a chance of winning.)

Everybody thought it was going to be Despicable Me, and I was readying aspirin for such a conclusion. Despicable Me is such an obnoxious movie. Everything from the character design, to the hackneyed story, to the clumsy animation, to those stupid little minion things which are being slapped on products left and right as if we're still going to remotely care about them in five years. It's just awful.

Then Tangled came out. It was a typical by-the-books Disney story, but the animation was so graceful, so expressive, so immersive, it was a shot of adrenaline in the flatlining CGI animation genre. It was a serious contender.

But I always forget: Animators nominate the animated movies. And there's nothing animators like better than seeing their craft treated like royalty. Stuff like Persepolis and the Secret of Kells always have a way of muscling in over "Animals Go on an Adventure 3 in 3D." As such, I really should have guessed The Illusionist was getting the third nomination.

Doesn't matter, though. It's still not winning.

Art Direction:
I wasn't expecting Scott Pilgrim to get a nomination for anything, but it would have been nice to see him here. But no sour grapes; I can't complain about any of the five nominations. They're all expressive, all unique, all immersive. Even Alice in Wonderland. Despite it being horrifically overrated and even moreso unnecessary, it's dripping with Tim Burton's stylistic, gothic charm. It's actually the only good thing about the film. But... I'm bitter and spiteful, and I'm rooting for any of the other four films nominated.

Best Documentary (Feature Length):
What the hell?! I've... I've heard of these films. All five of them. I haven't seen them, but I've heard of them. That's... that's not supposed to happen! They're supposed to have one single documentary everybody's heard of and four films that were screened once in a private gallery 20 miles below Tribeca. What is going on with the world!?

Wolfman? Really?

Sound Mixing:
Salt? Really?

Visual Effects:
Hereafter? Really?

Christopher Nolan was robbed for a nomination, but that's par for the course, innit? It's always the film nominated, and never the director. It's as if Auteur Theory runs perpendicular to the AMPAS. Kubrick never won. Hitchcock never won. Godard never won. Bergman, Lynch, Tarantino, and Altman never won. But Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson both won.

In conclusion, there are the basic flaws with the Oscar nominations, but nothing too grievous. Just the same problems we have every year. It's a very middle-of-the-road year. I can't get ecstatic, but I'm not foaming at the mouth.

I only have one thing to say, and I am dead serious about this: The last two years, the four acting categories have been preceded by five actors, each giving lengthy, bland speeches about the five nominees in each category. That's twenty speeches per broadcast, each delivered with the same enthusiasm that a fifth grade gives at a Thanksgiving pageant.

Given the choice between hearing the nominated scores and original songs being performed and hearing these speeches, I would rather hear the songs/scores twice. I would rather watch more commercials than see these speeches. We have to stop this pointless endeavour. It's long, it's boring, it's unnecessary padding, it kills the momentum, it forces out time for recognition in the other categories, and it's masturbatory.

Stop. Doing. This!


  1. Based on the effects, I would argue that The Wolfman is the only film in the Makeup category that actually deserves to be there. Although, maybe not, since Benicio del Toro may actually be a werewolf.

    And I HATE that we don't get to hear the song nominations performed in full anymore. I really don't blame Phil Collins for refusing to perform 30 seconds of the beautiful piece he wrote for WALL-E.

  2. Peter Gabriel, not Phil Collins.