2012 Oscar noms: Surprisingly, some surprises

I waited until I came into the office this morning to read this year’s Oscar nominations. This meant that I had to avoid reading all my major media sources — from the New York Times to Jezebel — in the hopes that I wouldn’t get any spoilers. This was extremely difficult. Of course, I did see some, and I knew that “The Artist” and “The Descendents” would get lots of nominations, regardless of anything else that might happen. But I wanted to have a clear head, before I sat down and looked at them. And why do I even care about the Oscars? When A. I never see all the movies and B. They’re still not exactly the end all, be all of what makes a great film? Because I do. Because I like movie stars and popcorn and it’s fun to watch. And I am not ashamed to admit that. So now, onto the nominees! A full list of all those considered can be found right here. Sorry, Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst: this year is not your year.

Best Picture: No real shockers here, except that I had kind of hoped that Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia” would find some sort of love somewhere in the Oscar pool. No dice, though. Too brutal and beautiful for the voters, methinks. No lying: I’ve only seen “Moneyball,” “Midnight in Paris” and “The Tree of Life.” All three were wonderful, for totally different reasons: the first, because it’s smart and Aaron Sorkin-y, the second, because it’s Woody Allen at his most sweet and whimsical, and “The Tree of Life” because it’s just unbelievably stunningly gorgeous and moving. I hope to see “The Artist” this weekend at Railroad Square; I never got to see “Hugo” in 3D and I feel like I’m missing out; I’d like to see “The Descendents” because I know Alexander Payne is excellent, and, well, “War Horse,” “The Help” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” don’t really interest me much. And I’m honestly surprised the latter was nominated. Who knew?

Best Actor: Well, having seen “Moneyball,” I do hope that it’s Brad Pitt’s year. But I heard Clooney’s great in “The Descendents” — Alexander Payne draws such great performances from male leads. I know nothing about “A Better Life” but it sounds interesting. Oldman? You never know! And Dujardin has a chance to steal it all away, like Roberto Benigni did with “Life is Beautiful.” Who doesn’t love a cute guy (or totally insane, in Benigni’s case) with an accent?

Best Actress: I know Meryl Streep is a great actress! I get it! I’ve seen “Adaptation” and “The Deer Hunter.” I know. Do I want to see “The Iron Lady?” No! Which is why I hope it’s any of the other nominees. I haven’t seen any of the movies, but either Viola Davis, Glenn Close, Rooney Mara or Michelle Williams would all be a refreshing change of pace. I’m rooting for Glenn Close because I think her playing a woman pretending to be a man is probably the gutsiest role of them all. And again: haven’t seen the movie.

Supporting Actor: Hooray for Jonah Hill! It was clear from the beginning that he’s an incredibly gifted actor, and he totally held his own with Brad Pitt in “Moneyball.” That said, I just watched “Beginners” on Sunday night, and not only do I think that movie was robbed of a Best Picture nom, I also think that Christopher Plummer totally deserves the Oscar. He gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in recent years; funny and charming and sad, as the recently widowed father of a young man who, at age 75, comes out of the closet. The other three nominees — Kenneth Branagh, Nick Nolte and Max von Sydow — are all wonderful actors and I am sure are worthy of the honor. But part of me wants to see them cast in a version of Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” as directed by Michael Bay.

Supporting Actress: Super hooray for Melissa McCarthy! YES! I thought “Bridesmaids” was great and she was far and away the best part. I think she’s brilliant. I want her to win. I want her to be her funny, normal, good self and go up on the Oscar stage and accept her award. Oh, there were other people nominated? Well, I haven’t seen “The Help” and I don’t really want to, but I’m sure Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer were great — though I feel like Jessica Chastain should have been nominated for “The Tree of Life” instead. I’ll have my verdict on “The Artist” soon. And I don’t know who the other woman is.

Animated Feature Film: I’m just glad “Cars 2” wasn’t nominated. I’ll take “Puss in Boots” over all of them, though I’d like to see the other two because I love adorable European animated movies.

Cinematography: If anything besides “The Tree of Life” wins, there is no justice in this world. And no, I haven’t seen “War Horse.”

Directing: Honestly, I’d be happy if any of them won. I’d like to see Woody Allen win because he never goes to awards and it’s fun to see Hollywood feel awkward for a second. Scorsese and Malick? Sure! Payne probably deserves it, because he’s never won before. But maybe it’ll be the French guy.

Documentary Feature: Haven’t see any of them. I’ve got some movie watching to do.

Screenplay nominees: For original, you know I want to see “Bridesmaids” win. Comedy never gets the respect it deserves. But you know it won’t. Also, I find it ironic that “The Artist” was nominated, even though it’s supposedly a silent film. I hope when I see it I understand why. “Midnight in Paris” was utterly delightful. And I am just totally disappointed that Diablo Cody’s “Young Adult” was snubbed, for any Oscar love whatsoever but especially for script. For adapted screenplay, I’m an Aaron Sorkin girl, so of course I want to see “Moneyball” win. But any of the others could win, also. It’s really anyone’s Oscar to lose, in both categories.

Emily Burnham

About Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native, UMaine graduate, proud Bangorian and a writer and editor for Bangor Metro Magazine, the Weekly and the Bangor Daily News, where she's worked since 2004. She reports on everything from local bands to local food to all the cool things going on in the Greater Bangor area. In her quest for stories, she's seen countless concerts and plays, been lobster fishing, interviewed celebrities, hung out with water buffalo and played in a ukulele orchestra. She's interested in everything that happens in Maine. Albums for review are accepted digitally only; please no CDs.