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Some Surprises Among the Oscar Nominations

84th Academy Awards Nominations Announcement
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

This morning, the nominations were announced for the 84th Academy Awards. The program airs on Sunday, February 26th.

The nominees confirmed a theory I’ve had for a few weeks now. It truly wasn’t a great year for movies! There are no “guarantees” for any category, but that just means more excitment during the big show.

Due to a new formula, there were less than ten nominees for Best Picture this time around. They include “The Artist,” The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Moneyball,” “The Tree of Life,” and “War Horse.”

I could see all of these movies making the list, but I am surprised by the lack of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

As you can see in the linked articles, I am on my annual quest of viewing all of the movies up for Best Picture. I have two to go – “Hugo” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” So far, my favorite has been “The Descendants” with George Clooney, which I saw in theaters before starting my “reviews.” It’s my top pick for Best Picture, followed closely by “The Artist.”

The biggest surprises, to me, came in the “Supporting” categories. Melissa McCarthy received a nod for her hysterical performance in “Bridesmaids.” Even the crowd on-hand at the announcement let out a gasp, but it was a pleasant one. Usually, movies of that genre get overlooked during awards season, but McCarthy broke the mold. She’s up against a rough field of Bérénice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Janet McTeer and Octavia Spencer.

Funny boy Jonah Hill received a nomination for his supporting role in “Moneyball.” I did not think his performance was anything special, but there was not much to choose from this year. He shares the category with Christopher Plummer, Nick Nolte, Kenneth Branagh and Max von Sydow.

There is one big snub I recognized right away. Leonardo DiCaprio was missing from the list of Lead Actor nominees. His portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover in “J. Edgar” was heavily-expected to get him on the ballot. Perhaps the film’s poor reviews kept members of the Academy from acknowledging it at all.

Here’s another signal that something was missing this year in movies; there are only two nominees for Original Song – Man or Muppet from “The Muppets” and Real in Rio from “Rio.” I guess nothing else was worthy of even a nomination.

I plan to continue my reviews in the weeks ahead, and if you need some help with an Oscar pool at work, expect my final picks around the 20th of February.

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