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Academy Award Nominations


And so here we are, on State of the Union day, as – on America’s other coast – Oscar nominations are announced and a different media frenzy begins. Which might be more fatuous or less serious, we leave to you.

But both processes are similar, as early caucuses and primaries – in this case, other pre-Oscar award shows – help solidify favorites ahead of the “final vote,” which usually comes down to a frontrunner and a main alternate.

In this case, especially in key above-the-line categories, it still looks to be The Artist’s year, based on its strong showing in the picture/director/writing and “thesping” categories. But The Descendants remains a strong alternate, based on a similar showing.

Last year, while King’s Speech cleaned up for above-the-line considerations, the below-the-line categories were split among other films, including that year’s previous best pic frontrunner – The Social Network.

This year, Martin Scorcese’s Hugo was similarly nominated for best picture and director, showing up in a total of 11 categories, including art direction, cinematography, costume design, original score and visual effects.

In the visual effects category, perhaps the main surprise is that this is a super hero-less year, as Captain America, thought to be a likely nominee, didn’t make the cut, though two robot movies – Real Steel and the latest Transformers – did. This means that Joe Letteri’s work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes remains the likely favorite, (especially as compensation for the lack of nomination for Andy Serkis’ mo-capped work as rebellious ape Ceasar), though Rob Legato & team’s rendering on Hugo shouldn’t be counted out. And Harry Potter – nominated for the very last time – rounds out this category, also getting nods for makeup and art direction.

But if Hugo has the greatest tally, it should be noted that The Artist is, in fact, right behind, with a total of 10 nominations, with four in traditional BTL categories – costume, editing, cinematography and score.

In that category, Ludovic Bource’s music would seem to be the front-runner, Bernard Herrmann “Vertigo” riffs and all, since the score is that much more critical to a silent picture. And since John Williams is splitting his own vote – both for Tintin and War Horse. Howard Shore’s work on Hugo has been receiving plaudits, as well.

Previous cinematography nominee Robert Richardson is back competing for gold thanks to Hugo, as is the one returnee from last year in this category, Jeff Cronenweth, again working for director David Fincher, having moved from The Social Network to the American adaptation of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That film also brought back Fincher’s Network editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, who grabbed the statue in the category last year. And for those tracking above-the-line considerations, Rooney Mara was a bit of a surprise getting a best actress slot for the same film.

Oscar also gave us the first-ever 3D documentary nominee, in Wim Wenders’ captivating dance elegy/eulogy Pina, for late choreographer Pina Bausch. In animated films, the Academy declined to replicate the Golden Globes’ rewarding of mo-cap when The Adventures of Tiintin won this category there, as the breaknecked Steven Spielberg adaptation of the beloved graphic novels was only nominated for its score.

This might leave Rango as the favorite for Oscar’s animation award, since Pixar didn’t make the category at all (though Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, and two foreign entries – A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita did).

Some films, of course, only show in below-the-line categories, and those included Drive, for sound editing, Jane Eyre for costume design, and The Muppets for original song – (one of only two nominees in this category).

We’ll be updating with comments and reactions throughout the day – and of course, throughout the season. Who needs primaries when you have awards? As a ritual they may have little to do with the issues of the day, but at least they have the virtue of not making things worse.

The nominees for the 84th Academy Awards are:

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir in A Better Life
George Clooney in The Descendants
Jean Dujardin in The Artist
Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt in Moneyball

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill in Moneyball
Nick Nolte in Warrior
Christopher Plummer in Beginners
Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis in The Help
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn

Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo in The Artist
Jessica Chastain in The Help
Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer in The Help

Animated Feature Film

A Cat in Paris, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita, Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Puss in Boots, Chris Miller
Rango, Gore Verbinski

Art Direction

The Artist
Production Design: Laurence Bennett
Set Decoration: Robert Gould

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Production Design: Stuart Craig
Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

Production Design: Dante Ferretti
Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Midnight in Paris
Production Design: Anne Seibel
Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil

War Horse
Production Design: Rick Carter
Set Decoration: Lee Sandales


The Artist, Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo, Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse, Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

Anonymous, Lisy Christl
The Artist, Mark Bridges
Hugo, Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre, Michael O’Connor
W.E., Arianne Phillips


The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Alexander Payne
Hugo, Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen
The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick

Documentary (Feature)
Hell and Back Again, Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
Pina, Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
Undefeated, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
God Is the Bigger Elvis, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
Incident in New Baghdad, James Spione
Saving Face, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

The Artist, Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants, Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo, Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball, Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

Bullhead, Belgium
Footnote, Israel
In Darkness, Poland
Monsieur Lazhar, Canada
A Separation, Iran


Albert Nobbs
Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin

The Iron Lady
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams
The Artist, Ludovic Bource
Hugo, Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Alberto Iglesias
War Horse, John Williams

Music (Original Song)

“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets
Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie

“Real in Rio” from Rio
Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Picture

The Artist
Thomas Langmann, Producer

The Descendants
Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Scott Rudin, Producer

The Help
Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers

Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers

Midnight in Paris
Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers

Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers

The Tree of Life
Nominees to be determined

War Horse
Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
La Luna, Enrico Casarosa
A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
Wild Life, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

Pentecost, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
Raju, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
The Shore, Terry George and Oorlagh George
Time Freak, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
Tuba Atlantic, Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

Drive, Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Ren Klyce
Hugo, Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
War Horse, Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

War Horse
Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

Real Steel
Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

The Descendants
Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

Screenplay by John Logan

The Ides of March
Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Artist
Written by Michel Hazanavicius

Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

Margin Call
Written by J.C. Chandor

Midnight in Paris
Written by Woody Allen

A Separation
Written by Asghar Farhadi

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