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by Peter Knegt
December 15, 2011 12:40 PM
6 Comments
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10 Things We Know From the SAG, Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Nominations

Berenice Bejo in "The Artist"

In the past 72 hours, a seemingly endless parade of groups have announced their annual film award nominations, including the three most reliable Oscar predictors: Critics' Choice, SAG and the Golden Globes.

You can check out nominations for all three here, but here's what really went down: The Oscar race just went from quite murky to nearly crystal clear:

1. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" gets all but shut out. Waiting until the last minute to debut a film is not always the best tactic; it's unclear if that's the reason Stephen Daldry's would-be Oscar bait "Extremely Loud" got snubbed across almost every precursor. While it did nab a best picture nomination from the Critics' Choice, it failed to receive a single nomination from the SAGs or Golden Globes. That gives the film -- reviews for which are still under embargo -- a considerable uphill battle for Oscar recognition.

2.  Sorry, Gary Oldman. So who is this year's Leslie Manville? None other than Manville's ex-husband, Gary Oldman. The non-Oscar nominee will likely continue his reign as one of the Academy's greatest snubees as his work in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" went unnoticed by essentially all the precursors.

3. There's no such thing as too much Jessica Chastain. After splitting prizes at critics groups between three of her 10,000 roles this year ("The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help"), it seems like folks have finally settled on her work in the latter. The Globes, SAG and Critics' Choice all gave her a nod for "The Help," and it seems likely the Oscars will follow suit. Which puts a nice end to one of the most extraordinary breakout years for any actor in recent memory.

4. George Clooney got SEVEN nominations between the three groups. Between producing, directing, writing and starring in "The Ides of March" as well as his lead role in "The Descendants," Mr. Clooney nabbed more nominations than most films did altogether. Notably, four of them came from the Clooney-hungry Globes, giving him a new grand total of 13 nominations there (including the three he got for "ER").

5. It's all about the cross-dressers. Perhaps not the politically correct term for Glenn Close and Janet McTeer's characters from "Albert Nobbs" (though "transgendered" doesn't fit either), they nonetheless join Leonardo diCaprio of "J. Edgar" as three actors nominated for roles in which they play with gender roles. In the likelihood they all head Oscar way, that will up make 15% of all acting nominations.

6. Melissa McCarthy gets SAG and Critics Choice nods... and nothing from the Globes. "Bridesmaids" had a surprisingly big few days, taking multiple nominations from all three groups (including an ensemble nod from SAG and a best picture nod from the Globes). Its best chance at nabbing an Oscar nom is most certainly for Melissa McCarthy's supporting performance, which received both SAG and Critics' Choice noms but no love at the Globes. Of all the groups, that seemed the most likely one to embrace a comedic performance, so who knows how Oscar will react.

7. Jonah Hill, Oscar nominee? Speaking of the Oscars embracing comic actors, it seems like Jonah Hill could get a nod for his more dramatic turn in "Moneyball." In a supporting actor race filled with Oscarless veterans like Christopher Plummer, Nick Nolte, Albert Brooks and Kenneth Branagh, Hill could very well be the only actor under 50 to make the cut.

8. Corey Stoll was not the only strange omission from the SAG Ensemble Cast nominations. A dark horse in the supporting actor race, Corey Stoll was oddly not among the listed nominees when "Midnight in Paris" received an ensemble nomination from the SAG Awards (neither were castmates Tom Hiddleston or Alison Pill). Meanwhile, the glorified cameo from French First Lady Carla Bruni made the cut. Also omitted? Nick Krause and Amara Miller of "The Descendants," despite much bigger roles than listed nominees Robert Forster and Judy Greer, and -- more reasonably -- Uggie The Dog from "The Artist."

9. Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton are looking pretty darn good for Oscar nominations: For months, Oscar prognosticators suggested "Shame" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" would be too dark and challenging for Oscar voters. Perhaps that will end up being the case, but so far its stars Fassbender and Swinton are taking precursors left and right, suggesting Oscar will probably take notice as well.

10. Oh, and "The Artist" is winning best picture. It's dominated the nominations for pretty much everything and the two films that seemed like they could beat it -- "War Horse" and aforementioned "Extremely Loud" -- are losing a whole lot of steam. Yes, it's early, but the thought of anything beating "The Artist" for Oscar's biggest prize is difficult to muster.

6 Comments

  • bob hawk | December 16, 2011 8:43 AMReply

    Regarding my previous post: MARGIN CALL's cast, as an ensemble, was also recognized by the NY Film Critics -- and good for them.

  • bob hawk | December 16, 2011 1:39 AMReply

    Although both EXTREMELY LOUD and WAR HORSE are the last major contenders to open theatrically (and some of the last to be press screened) I predict that they'll be heavily viewed almost immediately by Academy members (let alone the general public). Very different from each other, they have the potential elements (based on the book of LOUD and the play of WAR HORSE) that could encompass so many factors that point toward a best picture nod. Mark R. is right that THE ARTIST (cf. SOCIAL NETWORK last year) is not a lock to win -- and one can make that conjecture (and only conjecture) after the fallout from the other two films is known. I also agree with Richard that Dominic Cooper gave one of the five best leading male performances of the year. And what about the complete silence around MARGIN CALL -- one of the most riveting and timely films of the year -- except for Film Independent's Robert Altman Award for ensemble? (I'm still holding out hope that somehow it will cadge a nom for Best Original Screenplay, fool that I am.) The most positive note about all of this is that, unlike some years, virtually every category has more worthy contenders than the number of available slots. That's about as positive as you can get.

  • Richard | December 15, 2011 6:59 PMReply

    Where is Dominic Cooper for "The Devils Double" on any of the nominations for
    Lead actor ? Easily the best performance(s) of the year.

  • Pek | December 15, 2011 3:53 PMReply

    Why on "indie" site is a commercial of Hugo?

  • Mark Rabinowitz | December 15, 2011 5:18 PM

    Why not?

  • Mark Rabinowitz | December 15, 2011 3:40 PMReply

    Re: the SAG cast noms, is it possible that Stoll, et. al. just weren't listed and the actual nominations include them? Although the SAG site doesn't list them, either. Very odd.

    As for The Artist's "lock" on best picture, weren't we saying that about Social Network, too? I'm just saying....
    :-)