Film and TV

Oscar Nominations Are In, Not Many Surprises

Check out our slideshow of the 2013 Best Picture Oscar Nominees.

Oscar season has officially begun and now the blogs can't stop postulating over who will be nominated and start the fun game of speculating who will win. This morning, the 85th Academy Awards nominations were announced and while there were few surprises, overall the noms are status quo.

Topping the list of most nominated is, not surprisingly, the biopic Lincoln. The Oscars lurve a good biopic almost as much as they fawn over period pieces so the combination of the two is like Oscar gold. The movie was nominated for best picture, best director (Spielberg), best actor (Daniel Day Lewis), best supporting actress (Sally Fields), best supporting actor (Tommy Lee Jones) and best adapted screenplay (Tony Kushner). I don't think it will win them all, but it will make a dent.

Other non surprises in the best picture category are Pi, Amour, (which also received best foreign film, huh?) Argo, Django Unchained , Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserable. Since the Academy changed the rules and now allows 85 movies to be nominated, how could any of these movies not make the cut? The only film that I thought might have joined these ranks was The Master, but maybe Hollywood doesn't want to bite the Scientologist hand that feeds it.

What was somewhat shocking was the best director category; the Academy seemed to forget about Kathryn Bigelow and Quentin Tarantino, who many thought would be in the running and their films made the cut. Interesting.

As far as the best actors go, there were no real surprises. Daniel Day-Lewis of Lincoln, Hugh Jackman of Les Miserables, Denzel Washington of Flight, Joaquin Phoenix of The Master and Bradley Cooper of Silver Linings Playbook all received nominations. I really thought that John Hawkes from The Sessions would have received some love. The guy played a paraplegic, which Hollywood goes crazy over almost as much as a beautiful actress who makes herself ugly or fat. And he was just really good. I also thought we might see Bill Murray in there for his role as FDR, but that movie sort of got slammed.

Actresses, again, nothing out of the blue. The nominees for best actress are the 9-year old Quvenzhane Wallis of Beasts of the Southern Wild, who probably deserves the award but won't get it. Also nominated are Jessica Chastain of Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Linings Playbook, Naomi Watts of The Impossible and Emmanuelle Riva of Amour who probably deserves the award and will get it.

There are a few exciting choices for best supporting actor and actress. Christoph Waltz from Django Unchained received a nomination, one of the few for the movie. If you recall, he won for his role as crazed Nazi in Inglorious Basterds, which means he won't win again. But it is an honor having been nominated. Other nominees are Robert De Niro of Silver Linings Playbook, Philip Seymour Hoffman of The Master and Alan Arkin of Argo, who I am putting my money on. Alan Arkin is such a great actor and someone that I want to be my grandfather.

As far as as the secondary ladies go we've got Sally Field of Lincoln, Amy Adams The Master, Anne Hathaway of Les Miserables, Helen Hunt The Sessions and Jacki Weaver of Silver Linings Playbook. I don't know about you, but I always feel that best supporting actress is the toughest category to feel out. Most likely, they will give the award to Anne Hathaway for being able to sing really well, which is not acting BTW. But I wish they would give the award to Amy Adams who is the better Anne Hathaway of our generation.

Hopefully, Lincoln doesn't just sweep the entire evening and I say that not because I disliked the movie nor my inexplicable disdain for Steven Spielberg, just because when one movie takes home all the Oscars it's really boring. I understand this is a "fair and square" awards show, but for an industry whose entire foundation is built on telling a good story and building drama, the Academy sure does a crap job of making the Oscars a night filled with suspense... or sex and violence. I know they are trying to spice things up -- using Seth MacFarlane as host and hoping for some scandal or fart jokes - but throwing in some bombs and naked chicks is Hollywood's go-to solution for a boring movie. Why not try it out for a boring awards show? Just my two cents.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Abby Koenig
Contact: Abby Koenig