No shock that “Hugo” and “The Artist” dominated this year’s Oscar nominations (for a full list, go here. I even wouldn’t have been surprised if the dog from “The Artist” had scored a nom. But there were quite a few pleasant surprises and head-scratchers Tuesday morning. A rundown:
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” for Best Picture: The subject matter (Sept. 11) has an unproven movie track record and the reviews ranged from OK to downright awful, but the late-entry drama somehow managed to be among the nine films vying for top honors. Which makes what I have to say next a bit painful.
“Bridesmaids” fails to land Best Picture spot: It was never a sure thing, but the acclaimed hit comedy has racked up several surprise Best Picture noms in a slew of pre-Oscar award shows. One may take solace in that it likely missed out by a few votes — and that Melissa McCarthy (Supporting Actress) and Kristen Wiig/Annie Mumolo (Original Screenplay) scored nods.
Rooney Mara: While the pitch-dark “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” didn’t score for Best Picture or Best Director (David Fincher), relative newcomer Mara pulled off a Best Actress nod in an extremely competitive category this year.
Best Actor race shake-up: Gary Oldman (“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”) was a slight surprise, but the real shock was the inclusion of Mexican actor Demian Bichir for the little-seen “A Better Life.”
Woody Allen: “Midnight in Paris” was always seen as a contender in both the Best Picture and Original Screenplay races, but this is Allen’s first directing nomination since 1995.
Michael Fassbender: The Academy officially does not condone sex addiction — or perhaps full-frontal nudity. Previously thought to be a Best Actor shoo-in for “Shame,” Fassbender will have to feel content with the fact that he has something like 152 movies in the works.
Ryan Gosling: A trio of well-received roles (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “The Ides of March,” and “Drive”) equaled zero noms for Gosling, who, it should be noted, probably doesn’t care and is likely off somewhere wearing a really cool leather jacket.
Shailene Woodley: Woodley has been universally touted as a sure-thing Best Supporting Actress contender for “The Descendants.” Voters, apparently, really, really hated that last “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” plot twist.
Pixar: Lesson learned: Even if you’re an animation god, if you make a crappy movie like “Cars 2,” you wont be recognized for it. And films no one has ever heard of — “Chico & Rita” and “A Cat in Paris” — will be nominated instead.
Avada Kedavra: It hurts when the “Harry Potter” swan song, one of the most acclaimed films of the year, scores just three minor noms — makeup, art direction and visual effects.
It’ll take a while, but I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to seeing the words “Oscar nominee” before “Moneyball” Supporting Actor nom Jonah Hill’s name.
While “Project Nim” and “Buck” somehow failed to get Documentary nominations, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” is now the deserved front-runner.
Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie is now an Oscar nominee for the song “Man or Muppet,” from “The Muppets.” Which means a 95 percent chance of Kermit the Frog and co. on stage.
A reminder, for the record: “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”: two nominations. Fassbender and Gosling: none.
With Mara’s nomination, the likelihood of seeing host Billy Crystal with gauges and bleached eyebrows just got stronger.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun