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Oscars 2012: What's wrong with this Oscar picture?

January 24, 2012|By Amy Hubbard
  • "Bridesmaids" was not on the list of Oscar nominees.
"Bridesmaids" was not on the list of Oscar nominees. (Suzanne Hanover / Universal…)

Among the top categories in this year's Oscar nominations, there is plenty of disappointment for pockets of movie fans everywhere.  First of all, it wasn't a blockbuster year for the Oscars, but then again it rarely is.

Big box office winners didn't make much of a showing -- “The Help” is the only film among best picture Oscar nominees to have made more than $100 million. This focus on “smaller” films might be seen as refreshing (for fans of"The Artist") or as academy snobs ignoring what the majority of Americans choose to see (fans of "Bridesmaids”).  

"The Artist" -- with 10 nominations -- has made a mere $12.1 million at the box office, says Box Office Mojo. "Bridesmaids" was at $169 million at last check.  Oscar doesn't have much of a sense of humor, though -- only "Midnight in Paris" falls into the comedy category among this year's nominees, and"Up" was the sole comedy among 2011 nominees.

"The Artist" has its champions too, including the L.A. Times' Kenneth Turan, who says it's just plain fun for adults to watch.   Perhaps, given Oscar's lack of a funny bone,  "Bridesmaids" did about as well as could be expected -- garnering nominations for screenplay as well as supporting actress for Melissa McCarthy.

The out-of-left-field nomination of "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" could rub some the wrong way.  Rotten Tomatoes sums up critics, saying the film  deserves better than the "treacly and pretentious treatment" by director Stephen Daldry --who is notably not on the list of best director nominees.

The Times' Betsy Sharkey, however, called it a "handsomely polished, thoughtfully wrapped Hollywood production."

In the naked-actor category, Michael Fassbender was completely overlooked.  Fassbender won critical praise for his role as a sex addict in the film "Shame,' which included full frontal nudity. Sharkey called it a shame (pun noted) that Fassbender wasn't nominated. The Times review called him a "raw force," saying he had "commanding magnetism and intensity."

"You don't like me, you really don't like me," tweeted Albert Brooks, a glaring omission, for some, in the supporting actor category.  Brooks was recognized in the role in "Drive" by organizations including the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. The "Albert Brooks deserves Oscar for Drive" Facebook page agrees

"I got ROBBED," Brooks tweeted soon after Tuesday's announcements, "I don't mean the Oscars, I mean literally. My pants and shoes have been stolen."

As far as best actress, it’s hard to argue against Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady") and Viola Davis ("The Help), the apparent front-runners.  But wasn't there room for a nomination for South Korean actress Yun Jung-Hee?

Her performance in "Poetry" earned her numerous critics awards. She  ranked a surprise third in that category in the pre-Oscar L.A. Times Heatmeter system, which ranks films, directors and actors using stats from awards and nominations leading up to the Oscars. 

Said film critic Turan of Yun's performance: "As Mija, a flighty grandmother who is raising her middle-school-age grandson, Yun gives a performance of surpassing delicacy. The nuanced emotional range she displays as the film's situations peel layers off her personality and turn her into a different person is almost beyond the power of words to convey."

And in the animation category, did DreamWorks deserve its double whammy? With  "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots" among nominees, Champagne corks were surely popping. But there was no sign of Pixar -- represented every year since 2006 -- for “Cars 2” or Paramount for “Tintin.”

When it comes to snubs, though, The Times notes that the songs category may take the cake: Just two nominees: Bret McKenzie's "Man or Muppet" and "Real in Rio" from Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown.  Sorry, Madonna, Sinead O'Connor, Mary J. Blige and Elton John.  Try again next year.

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