And the nominations for Best Picture are…

gravity poster

American Hustle (10 nominations)
Captain Phillips (6 nominations)
Dallas Buyers Club (6 nominations)
Gravity (10 nominations)
Her (5 nominations)
Nebraska (6 nominations)
Philomena (4 nominations)
12 Years a Slave (9 nominations)
The Wolf of Wall Street (5 nominations)

What cocktails I am going to make of that, I have no idea. You can see a full ballot list for printing here.

While I still haven’t seen some of the favorites, I was pretty sure I would be ahead of the game on acting contenders, and I am, with five of the twenty performances already checked off in the “seen” column. This includes Blue Jasmine (Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins), Dallas Buyers Club (Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto), and Gravity (Sandra Bullock). All incredible I might add. The acting nominations are usually spread fairly thin, but this year they are remarkably concentrated among the Best Picture Nominees, with August: Osage County (2 nominations) and Blue Jasmine (3 nominations) being the only films with acting contenders that are not up for Best Picture.

For me, the biggest surprise on the list as a whole is the fate of certain foreign films. I was sure that Iran’s submission, Le Passé (The Past), would garner a nod, and perhaps even something in other categories, but it didn’t even make the Foreign Film shortlist. La Vie d’Adèle (Blue Is the Warmest Color) was not France’s official selection, but I would have loved to see Adèle Exarchopoulos sneak into the acting field. At the same time, Hong Kong’s submission (and how do they still get a separate category, might I ask?), The Grandmaster, the latest film from Wong Kar-wai, did not make it off the shortlist, but did get nominations for Cinematography and Costume Design. I had already been mulling over taking that one in, so it just moved way up the list.

Other surprises include two films garnering 2 nominations each: The Great Gatsby (Costume and Production Design), a surprise mostly because the Academy’s memory is notoriously short, and The Lone Ranger, just because. Really, the idea that something fun and successful like The Heat gets shut out of this list, but The Lone Ranger makes it on, is just appalling. See also The Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, which is certainly as deserving of 1 nomination as the fifty-millionth Star Trek or Iron Man.

The last thing that stands out to me on this list is the fact that Her made it into the Best Picture category. I didn’t see that coming at all. And so, once again, we have nine Best Picture nominees. It’s like they’re doing it to me on purpose. On the flip side, we have a complete set of animated films, so it’s almost like it’s now a legitimate category. Given that Despicable Me 2 and Frozen both have 2 nominations, I may even see them.

So, what will I be running out to see? Clearly American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave are going to be two of the first, although I was planning to see Le Passé (The Past) this weekend, assuming it was going to be nominated. Of the other Best Picture nominees, I’m most tempted by Her and Nebraska, although frankly I’d rather see The Grandmaster or La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) before either of them. In the meantime, Before Midnight (Adapted Screenplay) and Prisoners (Cinematography: Deakins!) have now been added to my Netflix queue.

In the “Ugh! Really?” category, I’ve heard good things about The Wolf of Wall Street, but so many things about that movie are repellent to me that I’m not sure I want to support it with my movie dollars. Ditto on Captain Phillips, although that’s mostly due to Tom Hanks. Let’s all be thankful Saving Mr. Banks only got 1 nomination. Of course, since I usually see most films with at least 2 nominations, I may eventually cave on the first two.

All in all, with American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave as frontrunners, it’s a fairly predictable list. But among those, I’d say it’s anyone’s game. In any case, the awards show itself, with Ellen DeGeneres as host, is sure to be an enjoyable one.

Oscar Telecast

What are your thoughts on this morning’s announcement?