First and foremost kudos to the Academy for a best picture line up free of terrible choices. Sure this ten is far from my ideal. Another Year is to my mind a far superior film to The Kids Are All Right, and Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love blows about half this list away for sheer cinematic sweep, but honestly, it's ten respectable choices. No Blind Side to completely call their judgement into question. No Chocolat to embarrass voters with their susceptibility to ad campaigns. Even their weakest choice in my book, The King's Speech, is a far richer effort to previous feel-good fluff like Finding Neverland or Seabiscuit. So it's ten good to great films I would have no hesitation recommending to a friend. Bravo.
It's about time - Mark Ruffalo and Christian Bale finally grabbed first Oscar nominations although they should each be on their third or fourth. Better late than never I suppose.
I called it! - I nailed the complete best picture line up. Not all that impressive, but The Town did have a good run with the precursors and many went for it. I went 5/5 with Score, spotted the Tangled snub in Animated Feature, The Coens for Best Director, John Hawkes making it in, The Tempest for costumes, Hereafter for effects. Then there's this call which I believe I was the first to make last July.
I missed it - I was this close to picking Bardem over Duvall, but chickened out at the last minute. That will teach me to underestimate the star of Eat, Pray, Love. I also wrongly thought Kids Are All Right would grab the rare double lead nomination.
Let's enjoy Pixar's amazing run of quality before it drives off a cliff with Cars 2. Pixar got its second consecutive Best Picture nomination, only the third ever for an animated film. If there were ten nominations earlier is there any doubt that they would now be on their fourth nomination with WALL-E and Ratatouille surely making the ten of those years. They also nabbed their 7th nomination for best original screenplay.
Wildly entertaining Exit Through the Gift Shop nominated for Best Documentary over "important" but sloppy and quesitonable Waiting for Superman. I didn't even dare to hope for it.
Apparentally Julia Roberts is to Oscars what Oprah is to book stores. Whatever you say, Your Majesty. Roberts was a vocal advocate for Javier Bardem's work in Biutiful and lo, the sure to be overlooked performance sideswipes Robert Duvall out of the top five. Mind you I'm not criticizing. I think it would be nice if more celebrities were outspoken about worthy work floating under the radar. You could have contenders collecting endorsements the way presidential contenders collect governors and senators. So, good for Pretty Woman, but would it have killed her to tell everyone to go see I Am Love
Category fraud wins again with Steinfeld and Rush muscling out two slots in the supporting category for what are undeniably lead performances.
Alice in Wonderland wins nominations for its sets and costumes despite the fact that said sets and costumes are hideous. I guess if every second of screen time screams "Look at these sets and costumes!" then that gets a nomination even if they are creative disasters. Meanwhile the clever and original art direction of, say, Scott Pilgrim is ignored. It's hard to believe one category can hold both the brilliantly subtle costumes of I Am Love and the nightmare laundry piles of Alice.
3 out of 5 of last year's best actor nominees are back - Firth, Renner, and Bridges. Bridges will be the first man to attempt back-to-back Oscar wins since Russell Crowe just missed in '01 with A Beautiful Mind.
Toy Story 3 is the first sequel nominated for picture when its predecessors were not.
Mark Wahlberg actually landed his second nomination today, as a producer on The Fighter.
2nd time Bardem has been nominated for a mostly or entirely subtitled performances. The only other people to achieve this feat are Marcello Mastroianni (3 times), Liv Ulmann, Isabelle Adjani, and Sophia Loren
This is Aaron Sorkin's first Oscar nomination despite 4 Golden Globe nominations for screenwriting and 6 Emmy nominations.
After Gangs of New York put the whole "Scorsese must be honored!" idea in the Academy's head it looks like the voters have that out of their system. After finally awarding Scorsese for The Departed, Shutter Island is the first Scorsese film to get totally shut out since Bringing Out the Dead in '99.
True Grit is the first western nominated for Best Picture since Unforgiven in '92, although some people count Brokeback Mountain for reasons I don't understand.
In addition to being the highest grossing Coen brothers film to date, True Grit is now their most nominated, it's ten nominations besting their previous record of eight for No Country for Old Men. Bridges and Steinfeld became the fifth and sixth actors nominated for a Coen film.
Aronofsky has now had his third lead nominated after making only five films. Look out for Jackman as The Wolverine in '12. No, seriously.
Impressive Nomination Tallies
20th - Randy Newman
19th - Alan Menken
13th - The Coen Brothers - their 5th for writing, still 11 shy of Woody Allen's record of 14
9th - Hans Zimmer, Colleen Atwood, Sandy Powell, Roger Deakins (Still without a win)
7th - Mike Leigh, John Lasseter
6th - Jeff Bridges
4th - Geoffrey Rush, Annette Bening, Scott Rudin
The complete list of nominations can be seen here.