Oscar snubs and surprises

2011-01-26 12:41

New York – In handing out 120 nominations, the Oscars inevitably spurn others. "Snub" is the word of choice for these oversights, and Christopher Nolan is well acquainted with its meaning.

Two years after seeing his The Dark Knight earn neither a best picture nomination nor a directing nod, Nolan was passed over for directing Inception, another film both acclaimed and popular at the box office.

Composer Hans Zimmer, nominated for his original score for Inception, said Nolan was robbed of the honour.

"I think he was held up at gunpoint," Zimmer said. "My instinct tells me that because it was a commercial success, suddenly they took the idea of artfulness away from him.

"I think if the Academy wants to stay current ... they need to go and look at these things very carefully. I've worked with a lot of directors. There are few directors that are in the class of a Chris Nolan. ... It's not right."

This time, at least, Inception was included among the best picture nominees, which now number 10, a change made last year partly because of the outcry over the rebuff of The Dark Knight. And Inception still counted eight nominations, including a best original screenplay mention for Nolan, yet nothing for Lee Smith's bravo editing.

Though many of the nominations announced on Tuesday by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences were as expected, the most glaring omission was that of Waiting for Superman in the best documentary category.

One of the most talked about documentaries of the year and a widely expected Oscar favourite, the education system examination was left out, perhaps because some experts deemed it an inaccurate exaggeration of charter schools.

Other surprises from this year's batch of Oscar nominees:

Bardem replaces Duvall

Earning an acting nomination for a performance in another language is never easy, but Javier Bardem managed to get into the best actor field with a nomination for the Spanish-language Biutiful. Bardem's third nomination (he won the supporting actor Oscar for No Country For Old Men in 2008) likely took the spot pegged for Robert Duvall's bearded hermit in Get Low.

A king's dozen

The King's Speech was a heavy favourite going into Tuesday's announcement, but its leading 12 nominations is still a surprisingly high total. Though a performance-based film, it still earned nods for cinematography and sound editing. (With 10 nominations, True Grit also proved especially strong, further highlighting the Golden Globes' questionable judgment in snubbing it altogether.)

This year's indie darling

The Ozark Mountains drama Winter's Bone had long been a cause celebre for those who root for the smaller movies. Rather than sneak into the awards, it garnered a commanding four nominations, including best picture and best supporting actor for John Hawkes. Its star, the 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, is the fifth youngest best actress nominee.

Gosling, Manville missing

Many would say the two best performances of 2010 were Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine and Lesley Manville in Another Year. Both were left out, though Gosling's co-star, Michelle Williams, was nominated for best actress. Some questioned why Manville wasn't pushed in the perhaps more fitting supporting actress category.

Other snubs

Expected by some prognosticators to be nominated were Andrew Garfield in The Social Network, Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right and Mila Kunis in Black Swan. Ben Affleck's The Town didn't squeak into the best picture category, and Disney's Tangled was booted from the best animated film category by France's The Illusionist.

Never in the conversation

The Oscar race often arrives at favourites in a curious, buzz-reliant way. There were many who never caught on with the Academy, but nevertheless are among the snubbed: Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, Tilda Swinton in I Am Love, Pierce Brosnan in The Ghost Writer, Greta Gerwig in Greenberg, Rebecca Hall in Please Give and surely many others.