As always, this morning’s Oscar nominations created a roller coaster of emotion. Shock! Relief! Fury! I should not get so worked up about this.
Really, though, the nods for the 2013 Academy Awards had a few more big surprises than usual—or maybe they were just bigger surprises than usual. Here’s a rundown of those shockers, plus the notices that made me happy and sad, along with what statement the Academy seems to be making with all of them.
Kathryn Bigelow, who won Best Director for “The Hurt Locker,” misses what many thought to be a guaranteed (and much-deserved!) nomination for “Zero Dark Thirty.”
What the Academy’s saying: “We know you’re good with stories about terrorism. What else ya got?”
Long-believed Best Director nominee Ben Affleck (“Argo”) was probably holding a bottle of champagne, but despite the movie’s Best Picture nomination, the fizz tastes a little less fizzy for the snubbed director.
What the Academy’s saying: “For a while, ‘Argo’ was cool. Then we were more excited about other movies, and the well-executed tension couldn’t compensate for its overdone elements, which felt more like fiction than a true story. Plus …”
Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) snags a Best Director nomination.
What the Academy’s saying: “We don’t care how many people are surprised. Your movie is a remarkable achievement. Kudos.”
Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”) slides into the tough-to-predict Best Supporting Actress race.
What the Academy’s saying: “We could have gone with someone new, like Samantha Barks for ‘Les Miserables,’ or someone previously unheralded, like Ann Dowd for ‘Compliance.’ It was easier to just write Weaver because she was nominated before (‘Animal Kingdom’) and we had already written ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ in every other possible category anyway.”
Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), the youngest-ever Best Actress nominee, replicates the fiery spirit of her “Beasts” character Hushpuppy by resisting a possible snub and earning the nod (though the same unfortunately didn’t happen for her fellow first-time-actor co-star, Dwight Henry).
What the Academy’s saying: “The Golden Globes were wrong. Several others were wrong. For an actor of any age and experience, your performance is unforgettable. Welcome to the big show.”
Best Actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix (as well as more-assured nominees Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams) recognized for “The Master”
What the Academy’s saying: “You said you don’t care about the Oscars, but we’re big enough to know that all that matters is the work. Well, that’s not always the case, but we’re going with it this time because you are a fascinating mess in this movie.”
“ParaNorman” lands a Best Animated Feature nomination, and “Rise of the Guardians” doesn’t
What the Academy’s saying: “Not always, but sometimes we really do understand quality. You’re welcome!”
Christoph Waltz takes the “Django Unchained” Best Supporting Actor nod instead of Leonardo DiCaprio
What the Academy’s saying: “We know the nod for Alan Arkin (‘Argo’) is goofy, so we’ll make sure to get the ‘Django’ pick right. Waltz has a leading role, but he’s far more nuanced than DiCaprio. Take that, advance buzz!”
Paul Thomas Anderson and “The Master” missing out on nods for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay
What the Academy’s saying: “Come on, we nominated all of your stars. We didn’t get the movie. What do you want from us?”
Matthew McConaughey misses out in the Best Supporting Actor field for “Magic Mike”
What the Academy’s saying: “Your abs were distracting. We should’ve revisited this and seen how good your work was in this unexpectedly great movie, but there were too many obvious ‘Oscar’ movies and we ran out of time.”
Rian Johnson snubbed for a Best Original Screenplay nod for “Looper”
What the Academy’s saying: “Your movie was intelligent and creative and exciting. ‘Flight,’ though, that was another tale about addiction, and on every five pages Denzel Washington’s character had a relapse. Clever!”
No Best Picture nod for “Moonrise Kingdom” or “Skyfall”
What the Academy’s saying: “Wes Anderson’s best movie in years and one of the best James Bond movies ever are nice and all, but did you see all that water in ‘Life of Pi’? And all that talking and debateable approach to history in ‘Django Unchained’?”
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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