Academy Award nominations filled with plenty of surprises and shocking snubs

By Daniel S Levine,

Today’s Academy Awards nominations certainly have Hollywood buzzing, thanks to several surprises and snubs provided by Academy voters.

The biggest surprises came in the Best Director category. Although Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained was nominated for Best Picture and Original Screenplay, the acclaimed director was not nominated for directing. Kathryn Bigelow was expected to get a nod for Zero Dark Thirty, another Best Picture nominee, but wasn’t. The same goes for Les Miserables’ Tom Hooper. Ben Affleck was also shut out, despite earning acclaim for Argo, which - you guessed it - was also nominated for Best Picture!

Instead, nominations went to first-time director Benh Zeitlin, who was nominated for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Amour director Michael Haneke. The two will compete against Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi).

The Best Actress category should be an interesting race. Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva became the oldest actress ever nominated in the category, while Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhane Wallis became the youngest nominee. Naomi Watts also earned a surprising nomination for The Impossible. However, it will likely come down to Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings Playbook’s Jennifer Lawrence.

Speaking of Silver Linings Playbook, the film scored nominations in all four acting categories with Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver getting nods. Weaver’s nomination was another surprise.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which had lost some steam heading into awards season, did well in the acting categories, with Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams all getting nods. However, Anderson was shut out.

Leonardo DiCaprio is also probably wondering what else he has to do to get an Oscar. Despite his amazing supporting performance in Django Unchained, his co-star Christoph Waltz earned a nomination. In fact, every actor in the supporting actor category has won the award in the past.

It was also disappointing to see Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom only get a nod for original screenplay.

Disney had a great morning, since three out of the five Best Animated Films came from the studio. DreamWorks is probably really annoyed to see that Rise of the Guardians didn’t get nominated. Although the film bombed at the box office, it had been earning acclaim from critics.

Some might be surprised that Skyfall didn’t earn any major nominations, despite actors like Judi Dench and Javier Bardem getting great notice from critics. James Bond fans should at least be happy that the franchise will get a 50th anniversary tribute. Adele was also nominated for her title song.

The biggest winner of the day was easily Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which walked away with 12 nods, the most of any film. Life of Pi was a close second with 11.

The Oscars are handed out on Feb. 24.



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