I wish I could say there were some real shockers in this year's Academy Awards nominations, but even the truly epic snubs – Leonardo DiCaprio was overlooked for Best Supporting Actor, The Dark Knight Rises was shut out completely (even The Avengers only got a single nod for Visual Effects) and Matthew McConaughey's heavily lauded performances in Bernie, Magic Mike and Killer Joe were ignored completely (or possibly just cancelling each other out) – were replaced by obvious second-tier contenders across the board. And yes, Oscar host Seth MacFarlane got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, for his blockbuster comedy Ted, and "The Simpsons" managed to get an Oscar nomination for an animated short that played before Ice Age: Continental Drift.
The most surprising category this year turned out to be Best Director, which snubbed three major frontrunners, including Ben Affleck for Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hooper for Les Misérables. Bigelow and Hooper's films, in particular, were once considered neck-and-neck for the Best Picture prize, but with neither director nominated, it seems unlikely that either film will be able to topple Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which has the added Oscar clout of getting the most nominations of any film, with twelve.
The complete list of nominations, and CraveOnline's commentary, is as follows.
Actor in a Leading Role
- Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook"
- Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"
- Hugh Jackman in "Les Misérables"
- Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master"
- Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Many believed that John Hawkes would get nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Sessions, particularly since Joaquin Phoenix has expressed his disdain for Oscar campaigning (which some thought would ruin his chances with the notoriously fickle Academy), but Phoenix was just too good in The Master too ignore. Daniel Day-Lewis is considered the frontrunner in this category, and by a wide margin. Both Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman are taking home their first nominations here, with Joaquin Phoenix nominated for two Academy Awards previously and both Denzel Washington and Daniel Day-Lewis already having won two Oscars a piece.
Actor in a Supporting Role
- Alan Arkin in "Argo"
- Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"
- Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Master"
- Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"
- Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained"
Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey are probably the biggest surprise snubs in this category, which feels remarkably safe this year. Every single nominee has already won an Academy Award before this. Tommy Lee Jones has a lot of traction for Lincoln, his best performance in several years, but Robert De Niro probably gave his best performance in 10-15 years in Silver Linings Playbook, after an interminable career diversion in broad comedies and subpar thrillers. We suspect he's the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor, at least for now.
Actress in a Leading Role
- Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty"
- Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook"
- Emmanuelle Riva in "Amour"
- Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
- Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"
Helen Mirren and Marion Cotillard were thought to be strong contenders for Hitchcock and Rust and Bone, respectively, but the Academy felt more inclined to nominate Quvenzhane Wallis (the youngest Best Actress nominee in history) and Emmanuelle Riva (the oldest Best Actress nominee in history) instead. Oh, they do like their stunts. Wallis is great in Beasts of the Southern Wild, although we wonder how much of that has to do with great directing and editing, and we haven't been able to screen Amour yet so we'll reserve our judgment of Riva, though her performance is critically-acclaimed. With almost no Oscar traction for The Impossible, this race comes down to Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook. We suspect Chastain will take home the honors, to compensate for Kathryn Bigelow's snub and Chastain's own loss last year for The Help (and because she's just that good), but Silver Linings Playbook rubbed the Academy the right way – it's been nominated in every above-the-line category, including all four acting slots, and the Oscars sure love an ingenue. It could be a close race, but right now, Chastain has the edge.
Actress in a Supporting Role
- Amy Adams in "The Master"
- Sally Field in "Lincoln"
- Anne Hathaway in "Les Misérables"
- Helen Hunt in "The Sessions"
- Jacki Weaver in "Silver Linings Playbook"
Helen Hunt's gotta be feeling pretty lonely up there, with the sole nomination for The Sessions, while her more visible (and critically-lauded) co-star John Hawkes completely snubbed. Ann Dowd also got overlooked for her acclaimed performance in Compliance. As for the actual nominees, we're most surprised to see Jacki Weaver show up again in this category, especially considering the fact that she's barely in Silver Linings Playbook at all. The Academy must really, really love that film. Come to think of it, regular nominee (and constant Oscar bridesmaid) Amy Adams doesn't have all that much screen time in The Master either. Anne Hathaway is still considered a sure-thing for her impressive performance in Les Misérables, but if she has any serious competition it's going to come from Sally Field, who gave her best performance in god knows how long as Mary Todd Lincoln. We thought Field was going to be a shoe-in until Les Misérables came along.
Animated Feature Film
- Brave - Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
- Frankenweenie - Tim Burton
- ParaNorman - Sam Fell and Chris Butler
- The Pirates! Band of Misfits - Peter Lord
- Wreck-It Ralph - Rich Moore
It's a really great year for stop-motion animated films, with three of the year's five Animated Feature nominees being photographed via the process. The Pirates! is probably the surprise nominee here, or at least it would be if you somehow forgot that the Oscars have a hard-on for Aardman Animation. I suspect that Disney's Wreck-It Ralph is the frontrunner in this category (even though not everyone loved it, ahem). If any film can beat it, it's probably Frankenweenie, but there's no way that Disney's going to exert all its energy competing against itself and risk splitting the category. Wreck-It Ralph was their breakaway hit, so that's where their going to throw all their campaigning clout.
- Anna Karenina - Seamus McGarvey
- Django Unchained - Robert Richardson
- Life of Pi - Claudio Miranda
- Lincoln - Janusz Kaminski
- Skyfall - Roger Deakins
The Academy must not care for 70mm much. Both The Master and The Dark Knight Rises were gorgeous contenders for this category filmed in the process, and both got royally snubbed. Unless Lincoln sweeps the awards (a distinct possibility, actually), Best Cinematography usually goes to the Best Picture runner-up, meaning Life of Pi could be the film to beat in this category. Roger Deakins gets his tenth career nomination for Best Cinematography for Skyfall, a deserving nod if ever there was one, but unless the Academy finally decides to throw him a bone (and cave in to populist love for the latest James Bond flick), he seems once again destined to go home empty handed.
- Anna Karenina - Jacqueline Durran
- Les Misérables - Paco Delgado
- Lincoln - Joanna Johnston
- Mirror Mirror - Eiko Ishioka
- Snow White and the Huntsman - Colleen Atwood
We're actually really happy that Mirror Mirror, a flawed film at best, managed to get a Costume Design nomination, since that's the one aspect of the production that nobody could complain about. Imaginative and fun work there. Usually this category goes to the film with the frilliest frocks, but that's actually every single nominee this year. Les Misérables could pick up a win here, and Lincoln could take it in a sweep, but it's equally likely that Anna Karenina – a damned sumptuous production – could dazzle the Academy for a minor upset.
- Amour - Michael Haneke
- Beasts of the Southern Wild - Benh Zeitlin
- Life of Pi - Ang Lee
- Lincoln - Steven Spielberg
- Silver Linings Playbook - David O. Russell
Again, this is the category that yielded the most surprises, and that – in and of itself – was the biggest surprise. Supposed Best Picture frontrunners Zero Dark Thirty and Les Misérables were both shut out of Best Director completely, and Best Picture hasn't gone to a film that wasn't at least nominated for Best Director since 1989's Driving Miss Daisy. The Academy, it seems, has spoken, and really wants you to see the independent films Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour. We suspect Spielberg's going to take this category along with a Best Picture win for Lincoln, especially since his biggest competition doesn't quite float the Oscars' boat this year.
- 5 Broken Cameras – Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
- The Gatekeepers - Nominees to be determined
- How to Survive a Plague - Nominees to be determined
- The Invisible War - Nominees to be determined
- Searching for Sugar Man - Nominees to be determined
Documentary Short Subject
- Inocente - Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
- Kings Point - Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
- Mondays at Racine – Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
- Open Heart - Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
- Redemption - Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill
We haven't seen most of the nominees in these categories, which are notoriously hard to predict unless there are Nazis involved. How to Survive a Plague has been getting an enormous amount of traction, so it may be the film to keep an eye on. We'll have to get back to you on these at a later date.
- Argo - William Goldenberg
- Life of Pi - Tim Squyres
- Lincoln - Michael Kahn
- Silver Linings Playbook - Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
- Zero Dark Thirty - Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
We suspect the razor-sharp Zero Dark Thirty could squeak out a win for Best Editing, a category that's evenly divided amongst Best Picture nominees this year. No Girl with the Dragon Tattoo spoilers for 2013! Then again, Argo's climactic suspense sequence might stick in the Academy's memory and give it the edge, especially since it seems unlikely to win in any other category whatsoever. Could be a tight race this year. Keep an eye on it.
Foreign Language Film
- Amour - Austria
- Kon-Tiki - Norway
- No - Chile
- A Royal Affair - Denmark
- War Witch - Canada
Many of the foreign film nominees are unavailable until after the nominations are announced, but with a Best Picture nomination also in its pocket, Amour seems like a tough film to beat, doesn't it? The last two films to take home a nomination in both categories – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life is Beautiful – both wound up with the Best Foreign Language Film trophy.
Makeup and Hairstyling
- Hitchcock – Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
- Les Misérables - Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
We're still shocked that Cloud Atlas didn't at least end up on the short list for this category, let alone get an actual nomination, but this feels like a sure thing for The Hobbit, with "making Anthony Hopkins look plump" in Hitchcock and "ruining everyone's teeth" in Les Misérables not quite seeming as impressive as turning an entire cast into magical creatures. Then again, we thought the same thing last year, and still The Iron Lady wound up winning in this category over Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
Music (Original Score)
- Anna Karenina - Dario Marianelli
- Argo - Alexandre Desplat
- Life of Pi - Mychael Danna
- Lincoln - John Williams
- Skyfall - Thomas Newman
Beasts of the Southern Wild got thoroughly robbed in this category, but at least Skyfall got some extra Oscar love. Frankly, none of these scores are really the most memorable work of the year, and we suspect this category could go in any direction. Lincoln seems likely to take it in a sweep, unless the Academy thinks Life of Pi, a film about a guy on a boat with a tiger, used the music to drive the story more.
Music (Original Song)
- "Before My Time" from Chasing Ice; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph
- "Everybody Needs A Best Friend" from Ted; Music by Walter Murphy; Lyric by Seth MacFarlane
- "Pi's Lullaby" from Life of Pi; Music by Mychael Danna; Lyric by Bombay Jayashri
- "Skyfall" from Skyfall; Music and Lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
- "Suddenly" from Les Misérables; Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; Lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
Adele seems like a lock in this category, doesn't she? It's the first time in we can't even remember how long that a Best Original Song nominee was a decent-sized pop hit. Plus, with Adele nominated, and Oscar nominee Seth MacFarlane also thrown in the mix, it seems likely that we'll actually see these nominees actually performed this year. Possibly all by Seth MacFarlane, if he's feeling smug enough.
- Amour - Nominees to be determined
- Argo - Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
- Beasts of the Southern Wild - Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
- Django Unchained - Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, Producers
- Les Misérables - Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
- Life of Pi - Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
- Lincoln - Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
- Silver Linings Playbook - Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
- Zero Dark Thirty - Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers
Nine nominees this year. Which means if there's any film you loved that didn't get nominated – Moonrise Kingdom, for example, or even populist fare like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises or Skyfall – they didn't just get eked out of the category… the Academy just doesn't like them very much. With the most nominations (almost always a Best Picture guarantee), Lincoln seems destined to take home the big prize. We suppose Les Misérables might seem like a spoiler, even without a Best Director nomination, but it's competing for so much of the same audience – period piece, sweeping sentiment, the stuff Oscars are made of – that we doubt it's going to matter.
- Anna Karenina - Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
- Les Misérables - Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
- Life of Pi - Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
- Lincoln - Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson
If the Academy actually watches Anna Karenina, it's going to win this award. Holy crap, the production design in that movie is amazing. You have to see it for yourself, really you do. If not, this seems likely to go to either Lincoln or Les Misérables, but probably Lincoln in a sweep.
Short Film (Animated)
- Adam and Dog - Minkyu Lee
- Fresh Guacamole - PES
- Head over Heels - Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
- Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare" – David Silverman
- Paperman - John Kahrs
Short Film (Live Action)
- Asad - Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
- Buzkashi Boys - Sam French and Ariel Nasr
- Curfew - Shawn Christensen
- Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw) - Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
- Henry - Yan England
We've seen a few of the Animated Short nominees – Paperman was good, and The Longest Daycare is probably the funniest thing associated with "The Simpsons" in years – but we have to reserve judgment until these nominees are screened over the next month. We'll keep you posted.
- Argo - Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
- Django Unchained - Wylie Stateman
- Life of Pi - Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
- Skyfall - Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
- Zero Dark Thirty - Paul N.J. Ottosson
- Argo - John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
- Les Misérables - Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
- Life of Pi - Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
- Lincoln - Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
- Skyfall – Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson
With the exception of Skyfall, all the big blockbuster movies were shut out of the two categories that usually favor them, at least in nominations. Very strange, especially in a year full of great, critically-acclaimed action-fests. Skyfall could take both of these, and so could Life of Pi (the one special effects extravaganza the Academy seems to have truly embraced this year). The closing sequence for Zero Dark Thirty could give it an edge, but then again, maybe the Academy's a little scared of the faux-controversy surrounding the film. We suspect it's either Skyfall or Life of Pi here.
- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
- Life of Pi - Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
- Marvel's The Avengers - Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
- Prometheus - Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
- Snow White and the Huntsman - Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson
The big action fans will probably want this award to go to The Avengers, The Hobbit or even Prometheus, but the Academy doesn't think like you normal people. They want to feel like this category went to a movie with something on its mind, for some reason. If a high-minded Best Picture contender gets nominated, or even just a film with a big message, it usually wins (see: Hugo, Inception, Avatar, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Gladiator, What Dreams May Come, Titanic, Babe, Forrest Gump). The odds of Life of Pi losing this category seem very, very slim.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
- Argo - Screenplay by Chris Terrio
- Beasts of the Southern Wild - Screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
- Life of Pi - Screenplay by David Magee
- Lincoln - Screenplay by Tony Kushner
- Silver Linings Playbook - Screenplay by David O. Russell
Writing (Original Screenplay)
- Amour - Written by Michael Haneke
- Django Unchained - Written by Quentin Tarantino
- Flight - Written by John Gatins
- Moonrise Kingdom - Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
- Zero Dark Thirty - Written by Mark Boal
Very predictable nominees in the writing categories this year, although we suspect some folks will be disappointed that Looper didn't squeak in here, particularly after its WGA nomination a week ago. Zero Dark Thirty seems destined to take home Best Original Screenplay, unless the Academy decides Moonrise Kingdom deserved better (or they just loved Flight more than the rest of us). Best Adapted Screenplay seems like a tighter race to us, with each nominated film getting a lot of love across the board, but we suspect Tony Kushner's "wow, it's just like the politics of today!" script for Lincoln will win out in the end. Still, the Academy really loves Silver Linings Playbook, don't they? And will they really want to snub Argo altogether?
CraveOnline will be back with more Oscar coverage through the weeks preceding the telecast on February 24, 2013!