The 2013 Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and if you haven't already checked out the list of nominees you may want to do that before reading this piece, just to make sure you are following along. You can get the full list right here.
As I noted in my nomination article, I went 80 for 107 (74.7%) on my Oscar nomination predictions, getting four of the five nominees correct in most categories, getting eight of the nine Best Picture nominees correct and only going five-for-five in Best Visual Effects. I crashed and burned on the Best Director predictions, going only two-for-five, which is where we should probably begin this conversation.
The nomination for Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) was a no-brainer, but when I look at the list of directing nominees I begin to ask myself, "Was it?" I also thought Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) was a no-brainer and at one time I had Ben Affleck (Argo) in the #1 position in my predictions after Argo played the Toronto Film Festival. Yet, neither was nominated.
While many didn't really think Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) was deserving, he was nominated by the Directors Guild, and after winning for The King's Speech a couple years ago he seemed like, at the very least, a safe bet. Nope.
Ang Lee (Life of Pi) was considered a fringe nominee and he got in as Life of Pi ended up second in total nominations with ten, one shy of Lincoln's leading 11 as those two films were clearly the favorites with the Academy. But the directing category also shows us a couple of other favorites...
Michael Haneke (Amour), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) joined Spielberg and Lee as the nominees for Best Director. All three films also scored Best Picture nominations, Screenplay nominations and at least one acting nomination each with Silver Linings Playbook earning four for Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver.
As far as the acting categories go, Weaver was my lone miss in the Supporting Actress category as I was left to decide between her, Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy), Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and Anne Dowd (Compliance). Kidman was on a streak heading into the nominations so I went with her... Oops.
The Supporting Actor category delivered some interesting results as I went with Javier Bardem (Skyfall) at the last minute over Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained) for my fifth and final slot. I would have been wrong on both counts as the lone acting nom for Django Unchained ended with previous Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. I'm sure fans of the film are happy about the nom, but I'm also pretty sure fans of the film would argue DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson were more deserving, the latter of which especially.
The lead actor and actress categories weren't exactly surprising, though to see Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) get in over John Hawkes (The Sessions) seemed like a 50/50 bet before the nominations and I went with the wrong "50".
In the Best Actress category the Academy did ultimately go with Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and the big question all along wasn't necessarily who would get in with that category, but who would be left out... In this case, with Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) also getting in, it was Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) on the outside looking in.
The screenplay categories offered little to get too worked up over with Flight sneaking in over The Master in the original category and Beasts of the Southern Wild edging out Les Miserables for adapted.
NOTE: Download several of the Oscar nominated screenplays for free right here.
The Animation category still decided to go with nothing but studio features, but instead of DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians it was Sony and Aardman's The Pirates! Band of Misfits that found its way in.
I have to say, one major surprise for me was the absence of The Intouchables from the Best Foreign Language category. Not only is it a great film, it's a film some were predicting at the last minute as a Best Picture contender, let alone Best Foreign Language. It killed at the Cesar Awards last year and is the highest grossing French film in history making over $420 million worldwide. It was replaced by Canada's War Witch, which many did think would get in, but not at the expense of The Intouchables.
More love for Silver Linings was found in the editing category where it took the place of ASC nominee Les Miserables and while the Academy clearly loved Beasts of the Southern Wild, one of the greatest aspects of the film was unable to land a Best Original Score nomination, instead replaced by Thomas Newman's Skyfall composition.
Finally, I went eight-for-nine with my Best Picture predictions with Amour getting in over Moonrise Kingdom and The Master, but all-in-all I think we can all look at today's nominations and close the book on which film is taking it all... Lincoln... or is it?
Now I don't want to be that conspiracy theorist, but does anyone think it is at all possible the Academy will look to right the wrongs of the 2006 Oscars where Crash was the surprise Best Picture winner over Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain?
Fox seemed to be playing under the radar with Life of Pi this season. It was the final screener sent to the Academy as it arrived in their hands on Christmas Eve and very little had been said about the film along the way. Then, come Oscar morning it scores the second most nominations, including one for editing, a category in which only nine times has the eventual Best Picture winner not been nominated.
Don't get me wrong, Lincoln is still my front-runner, but as I head in to update my predictions now that we have our nominees, I will definitely be keeping a close eye on Life of Pi over the coming months.
All of that said, what did you think of the Oscar nominations? Vote in the poll below if you haven't done so already and discuss your snubs, surprises and reactions. Based on the comments on my prediction article I have to assume there are some of you that are a little peeved The Dark Knight Rises didn't score a single nomination... I'm not, but I'm sure you are... Vent in the comments below.