Oscar Nominations: The Good, The Bad (But Mostly Good)

Meryl Streep and Juliette Lewis in August: Osage County
Can we get an Amen? Well, that was a good day to start the morning! Meryl Streep is in the race after all. Amy Adams is, too, which means everyone is happy. It’s a bit of a surprise to see both actresses find room in the race while Emma Thompson was snubbed for Saving Mr. Banks despite receiving multiple love from virtually every major precursor and being a consensus point of admiration even among folks who didn’t like the film itself. It was mostly good news, though, as far as the surprises of the nominations went.

American Hustle and Gravity lead the race with 10 nominations apiece wile 12 Years a Slave followed with 9. Hustle in addition to a Best Actress nomination for Adams, received acting shout-outs for Christian Bale (a surprise given the competition), Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. This rare feat means back-to-back records for David O. Russell films, as American Hustle and last year’s Silver Linings Playbook are among the few films to receive acting nominations in all four categories. No film has ever won all four (Network and A Streetcar Named Desire won three), so will Hustle make history? Oddly enough, though, the widely acclaimed hairstyles for which the cast of American Hustle has been garnering attention (re: Bradley Cooper’s man curls) was the film’s main omission in the race. Hustle is the film to beat, though, if those four acting nominations are a sign of anything.

Oscar Noms – The Good:

-Meryl Streep: Streep now has 19 nominations, thus breaking her own record. Will she tie Katherine Hepburn’s record of four wins?
-Julia Roberts: It’s not a supporting role, but it’s an Oscar-worthy performance.
-Blue Jasmine: Hooray for that nomination for Sally Hawkins! It’s well deserved, as is Woody Allen’s nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Cate Blanchett’s nom for Best Actress. (If anyone should beat Meryl, it should be her.)
-The Broken Circle Breakdown: Belgium lands a worthy nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category, which compensates for some egregious omissions on the shortlist.
-20 Feet From Stardom: The best documentary to be released this year (I count Stories We Tell as a 2012 film) brings its subject into the spotlight.
-12 Years a Slave: No surprises there, but  phew!
-The Grandmaster: The film itself was marred by a recut, but it earned well-deserved nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Score, making it (I believe) the first Wong Kar Wai film to be nominated.
-Leonardo DiCaprio, Marty, and The Wolf of Wall Street: Because every Oscar party will be better with Quaaludes. Although the fact that the Academy has officially made the phrase “Two time Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill” part of popular culture is a novelty.
-Ernest and Celestine: The underdog pair of the little mouse and bear made the cut. Félicitations!
-Judi Dench: That Philo-mania really is contagious!

Oscar Noms – The Not-so-Good

-Canadian content: The snub for Stories We Tell in the Best Documentary category might be the worst error of them all! (Equally hosed was fellow frontrunner Blackfish.) Sarah Polley’s beautiful film is arguably the most beautiful and intelligent documentary film in years. Also left in the dust were fellow CanCon shorts Gloria Victoria and Subconscious Password, although it should be noted that members of Arcade Fire earned a nomation for Best Score for Her
-Robert Redford: How does this performance miss? It was a competitive year for Best Actor—even Tom Hanks missed out!—but this omission is disappointing considering the difficulty of the role. Ditto Alex Ebert's Golden Globe winning score, which fills the silence of Redford's performance in this great film.
-Enough Said: The snubs for James Gandolfini`s performance and Nicole Holofcener`s script are disappointing.
-Inside Llewyn Davis: Two nominations (sound mixing and cinematography). What happened?
-No Oprah: I would have voted for Sally Hawkins, though, so I can’t complain.
-12 Years a Slave: Missing the nominations for cinematography and score is a surprise, but hopefully not too bad of an omen.
-Rush: Really? Really? Not a single technical nomination? Did that film edit itself?

We proceed with the nominations:

Best Picture:

Best Director:

Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor

Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio,  The Wolf of Wall Street 
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity 
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Best Supporting Actor

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle 
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street 
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia RobertsAugust: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Best Original Screenplay

American Hustle - David O. Russell, Eric Singer
Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club -  Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Her - Spike Jonze
Nebraska – Bob Nelson

Best Adapted Screenplay

12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
Captain Phillips – Billy Ray
Before Midnight – Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Philomena – Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street -- Terence Winter

Best Documentary Feature:

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square

Best Animated Feature:

The Wind Rises

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Great Beauty - Italy
The Hunt - Denmark
The Missing Picture - Cambodia
Omar - Palestine

(Full list of nominees)