So it’s pretty much a sure thing that Felicity Jones is going to be one of the stars of the upcoming spin-off at this point, and we can agree if this counts as a ‘confirmation – but she told MTV’s Josh Horowitz that she “can’t talk about it.” (Lupita N’yongo says she’s sure it will “change her life even more.”)
Naturally that’s about all we’re going to get for anything upcoming, but Star Wars had a couple moments in the opening act. Bib Iger’s wife even wore one of the Rodarte Star Wars dresses on the red carpet.
Oscar nominations came out this morning (with a little help from J.J. Abrams as a presenter) and the main story seem to be how very, very male and white they are. The most noteworthy snub? Civil rights drama Selma, which earned a Best Picture and Best Song nomination, despite nothing for director Ava DuVernay or the cast, led by Rebels’ David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. The saddest thing, maybe? Shutting out one movie is all it took to whitewash the acting nominations.
The other big snub? The LEGO Movie, which is up for Best Song (‘Everything is Awesome’) but totally shut out of Best Animated Feature. At least one of the directors has a good attitude about it.
But as usual, the only field that’s heavy in genre is Visual Effects, which sees nods for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
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.
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?
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.