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What the Oscar Nominations Got Right and Wrong

What the Oscar Nominations Got Right and Wrong

There were some genuine, mostly happy, surprises among the Oscar nominations – hard to do with those nominations coming so late in the glut of awards season. Here are some highlights and lowlights:


JAVIER BARDEM is nominated for Best Actor for Biutiful. Who knows how much Julia Roberts’ vocal campaigning helped him, but he deserves the nomination for his extraordinary performance in a tough – OK, sad – but wonderful little film, in Spanish no less. The conventional wisdom was that Robert Duvall would be nominated instead, for Get Low; Oscar voters usually love those old-coot roles.


JACKI WEAVER, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, wasn’t considered a sure thing, but she is amazing as the lethal granny of a crime family in Animal Kingdom. She’ll probably lose to Melissa Leo, but I’m glad she’s on the list.

MARK RUFFALO: He wasn’t a sure thing either, but he was the ballast in The Kids Are All Right. (Photo above: why is this man smiling?)

JOHN HAWKES: His nomination for Supporting Actor as the sinister, drug-dealing uncle in Winter’s Bone, came out of nowhere, but he’s a terrific actor (best known as the marshal’s sidekick in Deadwood) who should get a boost from the attention. And he’ll lose to Christian Bale, who deserves to win.


TRUE GRIT. The film crept in late in the season and didn’t get the over-the-top critical responses that The Social Network or The King’s Speech did, but the Coen brothers’ idiosyncratic take on a Western is a fantastic film. Of course, it’s making piles of money, so don’t overlook that as a reason for its 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Director, Jeff Bridges for Actor and Hailee Steinfeld for Supporting Actress.


CHRISTOPHER NOLAN. Do they think he directed Inception while he was sleeping? He makes it look easy, but that film was a pure expression of Nolan’s vision. There’s no way Tom Hooper’s pedestrian direction of The King’s Speech should have edged Nolan out of a nomination.

JULIANNE MOORE. This isn’t a surprise, because the best actress awards for The Kids Are All Right have gone to her co-star, Annette Bening. But they really were co-stars, and Moore deserved a nomination too.

Here’s IndieWire’s full list of nominees.

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