The Academy loves “Lincoln” and “Playbook,” but where’s Affleck?!


So the nominees for the 85th Annual Academy Awards were announced bright and early this morning—and boy were there some surprises! Here are the nominees and my quick take on what the Academy has gone and done this year…

Best Picture:



“Beasts of the Southern Wild”

“Django Unchained”

“Les Miserables”

“Life of Pi”


“Silver Linings Playbook”

“Zero Dark Thirty”

–> No huge, huge shockers here, really. It’s nice to see the Academy was all for “Django” (but then again, they didn’t mind Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds” one bit a few years ago). A surprise omission of note might be “Moonrise Kingdom,” which many loved and yet failed to get a nod from the Academy. And it looks like the Academy wasn’t about to do a “make-up” nod and include “The Dark Knight Rises” here (after they hugely snubbed “The Dark Knight” a few years ago). Also, many thought the Academy would go crazy for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” but apparently Academy members checked out of it early and didn’t give it a nod here. As the leader in nominations, I’m thinking “Lincoln” might be declared the best film of 2012 (although the love for “Silver Linings Playbook” in the directing and all four acting categories makes me think that it could pull off a surprise).

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”

–> As Emma Stone pointed out during the nomination presentation, all of these actors have won an Oscar already (in De Niro’s case, two Oscars). I was hoping for a surprise nod to go to Samuel L. Jackson for “Django Unchained,” but Waltz got in instead (and deservedly too). A big snub also has to be the always excellent Javier Bardem, who got overlooked this year for his villainous (and highly entertaining) turn in “Skyfall.” So one of these five men noted above will have yet another Oscar on his mantle by the end of the night. My early educational guess: Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln.”

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, “The Master”

Sally Field, “Lincoln”

Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”

Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”

–> The surprise nod of the bunch has to be Jacki Weaver. Many didn’t see her coming, but she’s playing the type of supportive motherly character that the Academy loves in this category (and plus it’s a complete 180-degree turn from her role a few years ago in “Animal Kingdom,” for which she was nominated for as well). A surprise omission is Maggie Smith for “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”—many thought the Academy would get all Maggie crazy and throw an easy nod her way because of her popularity on TV’s Downton Abbey. All the buzz is that Hathaway already has this Oscar in the bag (side note: Amy Adams may be the new Kate Winslet—she’s on her fourth nomination but unfortunately she’s a longshot for a win this year).

Best Director:

Michael Haneke, “Amour”

Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”

Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

–> Umm, Ben Affleck? Kathryn Bigelow? Not just one huge (and I mean huge) snub in the director category, but two?! I hope Christopher Nolan has their numbers on speed dial to tell them, “yeah, I’ve been there guys” (coughInceptioncough). No idea what could have happened here. Their “dueling” CIA dramas cancelled each other out somehow? Affleck’s omission stings most because the poor guy has directed three stellar dramas in a row—and here he directs a critically adored and audience-embraced thriller that’s based on a true story (!) and yet he still can’t get Academy love for directing? You know, to welcome him to the big table of actors who can direct incredible pieces of film? Wow. Just WOW! With “Lincoln” leading in nominations, I’m thinking Spielberg will earn another (well-deserved) Oscar for best achievement in directing.

Best Actor:

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”

Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”

Denzel Washington, “Flight”

–> Despite his very vocal disinterest in the Oscars and the “competition” for the gold, Phoenix landed in the top five all the same. This was essentially a six-man fight for five slots. The loser? Surprise snub: John Hawkes for “The Sessions” (and despite a very Oscar-baity role). It would have been nice to see Richard Gere sneak in for his excellent work in the little-seen “Arbitrage.” But, alas, with a race so crowded this year, he couldn’t sneak in. Then again, barring some kind of big upset, one man pretty much has this locked up for the win: Daniel Day-Lewis. He is Abraham Lincoln in this film, for crying out loud!

Best Actress:

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”

Quvenzhané Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

–> So the Academy wanted to set two records this year: the oldest ever Best Actress nominee (Riva) and the youngest (Wallis). Surprise snub has to be Marion Cotillard for “Rust and Bone.” It’s nice to see Watts in here (with only her second nomination? They can’t be serious!?). Buzz is it’s a two-woman race between Chastain and Lawrence. But by seeing how the Academy snubbed Bigelow for director and have David O. Russell in for “Silver Linings Playbook” instead, I almost want to say Lawrence has the edge. With nods for picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress, the Academy is clearly head over heels in love with “Playbook” and they may want to award someone for it. Lawrence is a revelation in it and could very well be that certain someone.

For a complete list of all the Oscar nominees, visit the official Oscar Web site.

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