Not a whole lot of love for genre pictures at the Oscars this year. The Avengers got just one nomination, for Visual Effects, where it was joined by online punching-bag Prometheus. Both of them will probably lose to Life of Pi.
The good news is that some fan-favorite actors scored big. Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for Best Actress — not for The Hunger Games, but rather for her work in Silver Linings Playbook. She plays a woman suffering from a variety of mental illnesses so who knows, maybe she’ll even win. And though The Dark Knight Rises was shut out, Anne Hathaway got a Supporting Actress nod for playing Fantine in Les Misérables, and she’s pretty much a lock. Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, was also nominated for Les Misérables, but let’s face it, he has no chance.
The Hobbit got three nominations, for Visual Effects, Makeup, and Production Design. Not bad until you remember that the last Middle-earth epic nabbed eleven nominations, and won all of ‘em.
Plus we have to mention: John Williams picked up his 48th nomination for Lincoln. Pretty sure that’s a record. And weirdly enough, the Simpsons are now Oscar nominees. Something called Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” is up for Best Animated Short.
At least we can always look forward to making fun of the fashions. This year the Academy Awards air on February 24th.
Edit: Thanks to Pablo for pointing out that new Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy (along with Steven Spielberg) was nominated for producing Lincoln! It’s the front-runner for Best Picture, too.
Per usual, the Academy Award had little accolades for genre, though Industrial Light & Magic Rango took advantage of the Pixar-free spread to take the Oscar for Animated Feature.
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo – one of the few lead nominees that had any (tentative) connection to genre – swept the technical awards, with Oscars for Cinematography, Art Direction (beating Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part 2,) Sound editing (over Potter and Transformers 3,) Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects (over Potter, Transformers, Real Steel and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.)
Harry Potter also lost out in Makeup, to The Iron Lady. One bright spot: The Muppets took Original Song.
As for the show itself…. It seemed like they just gave up on the younger demographic entirely. The whole show had a tone of ‘Remember how great movies used to be? Before blockbusters and computers? When we, the voting members of the Academy, were young?’ (Nothing, perhaps, says this better than The Artist wins: Old stuff and Hollywood self-absorption.) Billy Crystal may be ‘classic’ but about halfway through his painful song melody I was checked out of his performance and wishing for someone new. (Tom Hanks? Everyone loves Tom Hanks. And he doesn’t sing!) Or just bring back Jon Stewart, who made the montages actually fun. (Also, blackface? How far we’ve come, America.) Hell, let the Muppets host the whole damn thing. Last year may have been a disaster but is the answer really to pretend that anyone who’s clocked less than half a century cares? The Oscars have never been known for being populist, but this year the gap was especially glaring.
I’m glad the Oscars haven’t gone the Grammy route of rewarding their industry’s biggest moneymakers (no offense to Adele, but that path would lead to Oscar nominations for Twilight) but just… Mix it up a little, will ya?
We’re generally not used to seeing a lot of science fiction and fantasy films up for the big prizes at the Academy Awards, but this year does hold a few suprises. Although neither the final Harry Potter film or Andy Serkis’ motion-capture work failed to procure any major nods, there are still a handful of genre films in the big spots.
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, a steampunk-tinged story of early film based on Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is one of the 9 nominees for best picture, along with Woody Allen’s time-travel comedy Midnight in Paris. (Allen’s Annie Hall beat out Star Wars for the same prize in 1977.) Hugo scored 11 nods, including best director, making it the most-nominated film.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 got a nod for Visual Effects, where it will compete against Hugo, Real Steel, Rise Of The Planet of The Apes and ILM’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
ILM can also celebrate an Animated Feature nomination for Rango, which is up against Shrek spin-off Puss and Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita.
A very Star Wars engagement. This unnamed Bay Area Jedi/Sith couple put aside their differences for a Star Wars themed photo shoot by photographer Michael James. We have every faith those crazy kids will make it work, one way or another. (via)
Stunts. ‘Darth Vader’ submits a claim for 1,000 square meters of Ukraine. Good luck with that.
TV. Why is Chewbacca hanging out with the Glee folks? On second thought, having finally given up on the show this season, I don’t want to know.
People. James Earl Jones received an honorary Oscar.
Blast from the past. The internet has unearthed a 1978 interview with Mark Hamill.
There were few surprises at tonight’s Oscars: Lone genre Best Picture nom Inception was awarded mostly in technical categories (including Visual Effects… Sorry, ILM.) And Natalie Portman did indeed win Best Actress for Black Swan.
For the rest, The King’s Speech cleaned up with 4 awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Colin Firth.
Batman Jesus Christian Bale took home Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter. But perhaps most mind-blowing to this former teen of the 90’s: Trent Reznor now has an Oscar (for The Social Network score.)
As for the ceremony itself… It was pretty standard; All the real fun was (of course) partaking in all the snark on Twitter. I did greatly enjoy the auto-tune, though.
And yes, Irvin Kershner did make the In Memoriam reel, as did modelmaker Grant McCune.
The Hurt Locker beat out Avatar for Best Picture (and director – Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman to win) but the sci-fi extravaganza did take statues for visual effects, cinematography, and art direction. I don’t find this particularly heartbreaking: Avatar might have been a fun movie to watch, but Best Picture? Ehh.
Best Picture was really the only uncertain prize going in, so there weren’t many surprises for the genre winners: Pixar’s Up took Animated feature and Music, while Star Trek got Makeup. (District 9 will always have this, I suppose.)
No big shockers here: The late Heath Ledger received Best Supporting Actor and WALL-E Best Animated Film. Less predictable was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button winning Best Visual Effects over The Dark Knight and Iron Man. Button also took Art Direction and Makeup, while The Dark Knight nabbed Sound Editing.
Slumdog Millionaire was the night’s biggest winner, with Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, both music awards and several others.
Going on a combo of box office and popular acclaim, I’ve chosen three frontrunners: The Dark Knight, Iron Man and WALL-E as the year’s top genre films. Vote now! Continue reading
Per usual, not too much for genre fans to get excited about. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which I suppose could classify as fantasy, sort of, had the most nods this year, including Best Picture and Actor. Heath Ledger is up for Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight, but the movie failed to get any other major nominations. It is up for the usual throw-them-a-bone categories of Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.
Wall-E did pretty good – it failed to get a Best Picture nod as many were hoping for, but it is up for Animated Film (duh,) Original Screenplay, Original Song, and several technical awards.
The Visual Effects category puts Benjamin Button up against The Dark Knight and ILM’s Iron Man.
UPDATE: StarWars.com has a full listing of all ILM and Skywalker Sound Oscar nominations, as well as BAFTA and VES nods.
Fans up in arms over casting: M. Night Shyamalan is making a movie version of Nickelodeon’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the first casting choices were announced last week. The problem? Well, Avatar is set in an Asian-inspired world, with a multiethnic cartoon cast, and the live-action choices thus far are entirely caucasian. Naturally, fans are pissed.
(And since y’all would probably stone me if I didn’t include this, let’s not forget Avatar’s primary Star Wars connections: The Clone Wars’ Dave Filoni directed several episodes, while Mark Hamill voiced Fire Lord Ozai, the show’s ultimate antagonist.)