Oscar nominations: The 5 biggest surprises

BiutifulImage Credit: Jose HaroThis morning’s Academy Award nominations ended up going mostly to plan. The King’s Speech with the most nods? Check. Tons of acting love for The Fighter? Check. But a few things caught my eye. Here are my five biggest surprises of the morning.

True Grit places second with 10 nominations Would mega-producer Scott Rudin ever have thought that his Coen brothers Western would earn more overall nods than his other contender, the critics-award-sweeping The Social Network? Thanks to the acting branch’s slight of Andrew Garfield and the inclusion of the Coens in Best Director, Grit ended up scoring two more nominations than Network.

No Christopher Nolan for Best Director I knew we’d have a triple nominee this morning for producing, writing, and directing, but I thought it would be Nolan, not the Coens. Nolan, the mastermind behind Inception, did manage nods for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, but why can’t he get any props from the directors branch?

Where’s Waiting for “Superman”? The documentary branch is often a little, shall we say, quirky, but I never thought they would overlook Davis Guggenheim’s Producers Guild-winning exposĂ© of American public schools.

The Town gets skunked Besides supporting-actor contender Jeremy Renner, Ben Affleck’s widely adored thriller was ignored. My hunch is that the film was on more voters’ ballots than some of the actual nominees, but was listed mostly in sixth or seventh place instead of second or third.

A Biutiful day for Javier Bardem The BAFTA nod presaged it, but after being overlooked by the Globes and SAG, Bardem became the first Spanish-language Best Actor nominee ever (his nominated performance in Before Night Falls was in both English and Spanish). He’ll be sending his friend and campaigner Julia Roberts a huge bouquet of flowers today, I’m sure.

More Oscar nominations:
The 2011 Academy Awards nominations
Who got snubbed? Christopher Nolan? Ryan Gosling? Barbara Hershey?


Comments (151 total) Add your comment
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  • Rolo Tomasi

    Coens get nominated for doing a so-so remake? Makes sense. But then again it’s the same people who gave Shakespeare in Love Best Pic over Saving Private Ryan.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      Shakespeare in Love deserved it. And Nolan deserved a Director nom this year.

      • Nathan

        Shakespeare in Love did not deserve to win that year and Nolan did not deserve to be nominated this year. I’ll take the Coens over him any day.

      • rex

        Shakespeare did NOT deserve it over Ryan. No way.

      • Felicia

        @Nathan, that is a matter of opinion. Some of us love ‘Shakespeare’. Just so you know, opinion isn’t the same thing as fact.

      • @Felicia

        You can love it all you want. It still wasn’t as good as Ryan and did not deserve the win.

      • Tim

        @Felicia and Nathan…I love Shakespeare in Love, love so many things about it, it is a FANTASTIC movie. And it is still not in the conversation with Saving Private Ryan, possibly the greatest movie of the last 20 years.

      • ZRob

        Can you all get over the Shakepeare in Love thing? It’s been so many years now, time to move on.

      • Eva

        Let’s be honest, Inception Sucked.

      • Sheryl

        The only reason Shakespear won that year was because it played better on video than Saving Private Ryan, which was meant to be seen on the big screen. Saving Private Ryan was way superior than Shakespear in Love.

      • Baco Noir

        Nathan & Felicia. A ‘fantastic’ film is determined by how many people are still watching a movie 20 years later. Nobody, for example, can care less about Titanic or Shakespeare In Love today, but people still watch and talk about LA Confidential and Saving Private Ryan (the films those two beat out for best picture),

      • Cara

        I think it’s interesting how different opinions are about Shakespeare in Love! I personally don’t know anyone who’s rewatched Private Ryan in a long time, but I know people who watch Shakespeare in Love over and over, and still quote from it. (I do.) I think it particularly resonates with writers and with actors…

      • wino

        Shakespear in Love’s win was a joke. But then again, the Weinstein Mafia made sure to secure its victory along with Gwyneth’s Oscar. (In what world was she better than Cate Blanchette’s Elizabeth?????!). Something smells rotten….

      • Kevin

        Baco Noir, I don’t agree there. Titanic and Shakespeare in Love are both still heavily discussed today. However, Felicia is incorrect. What is “best” is not a matter of opinion. Film criticism is more than opinion, it is an evaluation of what is best. It is objective, not subjective.

      • BA

        @Baco Noir: Titanic is the second highest grossing film of all time. It is on the AFI’s top 100 films list of all time. It is still played at least 5 times a year on cable television. It made Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet stars. Dicaprio has gone on to get several acting nominations and Kate Winslet is herself an Oscar winner. It also propelled the career of James Cameron. I think people still give a s**t about that film … just saying.

      • meme

        Saving Private Ryan most certainly did deserve the win that year not Shakespeare In Love and Christopher Nolan was ROBBED again.

      • Terry Boake

        I find it oddly interesting how the “Shakespeare” over “Private Ryan” debate still rages on today. I mean, I agree that when “Shakepeare” won Best Picture was the moment the Oscars couldn’t possibly be taken seriously, but it’s nice to know the enormous majority of film pundits, occasional viewers, and fanatics are as jaded as I am as a result.
        Kevin, not a single person since 1998 has even mentioned Shakespeare in love in my company, and I’m a film-maker, unless we are talking about this subject directly, so you must host a bizarre group of individuals for film discussion. Same with Cara, and to those who supposedly quote this film.
        I’m not at all surprised by Oscar’s omissions for Inception, since this ceremony has proved to be more of a popularity contest/marketing game than it has ever been about quality. Otherwise, what’s the point of having campaigns if the voters are truly basing their decisions on quality? This entire process undermines this idea, as campaigns are meant to sway voters, as is a rather dirty tactic that has spoiled the Oscars for years. They’ve become about as meaningless as the Globes.

      • Mac

        Shakespeare in Love is great throughout, with fantastic performances and witty dialogue highlighting a superb screenplay. Ryan is great, especially at the beginning, but it can’t sustain it to the end. Shakespeare in Love was a rather tricky thing to pull off and will be recognized for years to come. Best Director went to Speilberg, which was adequate for the Ryan.

      • Greg

        Saving Private Ryan did deserve the Best Picture award. It was the best film I saw that year. Thankfully, Steven Spielberg took home the Best Director award.

    • Gripper

      Which was the correct decision. Saving Private Ryan’s first 30 minutes were unforgettable, the rest not so good (and unforgivable how the old guy’s eyes morph into Tom Hanks rather than Matt Damon). The Thin Red Line was arguably the best war film nominated but Shakespeare in Love a worthy winner.

      • nope

        Wrong, wrong, wrong. Private Ryan should have taken it that year. Not Shakespeare.

      • Lee

        I agree Gripper. I felt SHAKESPEARE was better than the inconsistent SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (did Spielberg really have to put a cemetery scene at the end of the film?). But I thought THIN RED LINE was better than SHAKESPEARE.

      • Juneau

        Shakespeare In Love was the single most UNFORGETTABLE Oscar winner of all time. I thought it was no better than a decent rom-com.

      • Juneau

        Oops that should read FORGETTABLE.

      • Peter

        Umm, Gripper. THe old man’s eyes were Matt Damon’s. At the end it morphed from Matt to the old guy. Tom Hank’s put his head up – you first saw his helmet.

      • Nelda

        I actually think it’s cool that people are still so invested. Shows that the Oscars do carry weight, that we are debating Shakes vs Ryan after all this time.

        And — although I liked King’s Speech, I think if it wins over Social Network, in ten years people will be saying Network was robbed.

      • David

        While I will agree that Shakespeare in Love was a good picture it did not deserve Best Picture. The politics behind the campaigning more or less bought that Oscar (which is why they moved the Oscars telecast closer to the announcement of nominees so studios would have a harder time “buying the Oscar”). When you look back Saving Private Ryan still leaves an impact which Shakespeare in Love doesn’t. It’s sorta of like when Clark Gable lost the Oscar for Gone With the Wind. Everyone remembers that but most couldn’t tell you who did win. Years from now I think people will remember Ryan losing the Oscar but they won’t remember who won.

    • Larry David

      Shakespeare in Love was not a worthy winner. You both must be gay.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Oh look, Larry David is trolling again…zzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • TRIM

        LMAO! Shakespeare was trash!

      • rigby

        I don’t know about the sexual orientation of anybody, but regardless, Private Ryan was a far superior film to Shakespeare in Love. FAR superior.

      • Mike

        Larry David speaks the truth. Both The Town AND Inception>True Grit, a uninspired remake..It was good, and certainly what the Oscars adores, but nothing more than overrated. At least Inception and Town were original..

    • FromChicago

      Excuse me Larry David. True Grit is the sleeper movie of the group….and this year’s Blind Side. Hollywood loves the Coens and they love Westerns. Watch for True Grit to walk away with a boatload of awards.

      Jeff Bridges and Colin share the best acting – it’s been done before.
      Nicole wins over Natalie
      Leo and Amy split, Hailie wins — been done before.

      • Jones

        Jeff and Colin won’t tie for Best Actor. Jeff won last year and Colin’s never won, so if it comes down to the two of them, it will go to Colin.

      • Lee

        I agree with Jones. Bridges won last year so he won’t win again this year–especially since John Wayne already won for the same character in the original. If anyone is going to upset Natalie, I don’t think it’ll be Nicole but Annette. She’s long overdue.

      • AYC

        If there would be tie it would be between Colin and Jesse, not Colin and Jeff.

      • Jay

        If it were to come to a tie, it wouldnt be Colin and Jeff for sure, jeff wasnt outstanding in his role in True Grits, if it were to come down to the wire, it would be between Franco and Colin

    • kellybelly

      What about Mark Wahlburg snub for The Fighter?
      What about Tron snub for visual effects?

      • Ruby

        Say what you will about Tron, but the visual effects were AMAZING. WTF were the Oscars thinking???

    • EAP

      I really don’t care abot Shakespeare In Love winning over Ryan… A travesty is “Ordinary People” winning over “Raging Bull”… Or “Dances With Wolves” winning aver “Goodfellas”. I can’t get over that.

      • BA

        @EAP … Ordinary People winning over Raging Bull is the biggest let down in the history of the Oscars. I think the test of time truly shows that. Also, How Green was my Valley winning over Citizen Kane will forever amaze me. I guess Citizen Kane’s influence was not as much known then as it is now.

      • meme

        OMG I forgot about Raging Bull and Goodfellas losing to mediocre movies. They are classics!

      • Nelda

        I saw Ordinary People when I was 14 in the theater with my mom, and it was a movie that really resonated with both of us. Spoke to our suburban Connecticut lives. So I can’t be sorry about it winning. But yes — Wolves over Goodfellas was a travesty.

    • Greg

      Saving Private Ryan was the best picture I saw that year. It should have been the winner. Thankfully, Steven Spielberg took home the Best Director award.

    • The Bryguy

      Shakespeare In Love was very, very good movie. Saving Private Ryan was an epic achievment in movie making. Don’t get the two confused. Private Ryan got outcampaigned by Weinstein! You probably think Tommy Lee Jones deserved the award for The Fugitive over Dicaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

  • FK

    Sad to see Andrew Garfield was snubbed but I guess with Christian Bale as a lock in the category its not such an upset.

    • Meier

      Watch out though – here comes John Hawkes and his many “Deadwood” fans.

      • mermaid

        Yes! I’m so chuffed for John Hawkes! He really deserves it, but I doubt he’ll get it…

    • nancyD

      So sad Andrew Garfield wasn’t nominated for either Social Network or Never Let Me Go. He had a great year. And bummed The Town didn’t get more love – or is there still Affleck hate going on? He does get noms for his supporting characters, though.

      But I truly don’t get the True Grit love. This was a mediocre remake, except for introducing Hailee Stenfield, and not up to Coen Brothers standards. Ryan Gosling was robbed by Jeff Bridges’ inclusion.

      • Lee

        I think that’s exactly why Garfield got snubbed–he probably got split votes between SOCIAL NETWORK and NEVER LET ME GO.

    • FromChicago

      Don’t be so sure about Bale….maybe, maybe not. Renner is in there for a second year. Could win based on losing last year.

    • Ruby

      Christian Bale deserved the award a long time ago. There’s no way anyone will beat him this year.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    10 movies are too many for best pic nominations.

    • Beth

      I agree–10 is way too many. The number of pictures nominated isn’t what makes a good awards show-it’s actually having a good show! Bring back the clips from the films and the best actors’ clips. Get rid of people who made the film talking about the film. Don’t have boring hosts (like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin). Anyway, the winner of best film can still feel special; the other nine probably don’t feel as great anymore (though, this year, it seems like most of the 10 are supposed to be very good).

    • Big Walt

      Yeah, bad decision. Hopefully they’ll put it back at 5 soon. I can’t believe with 10 The Town couldn’t get a nom.

  • stephen

    Sad that Barbara Hershey wasn’t nominated for Black Swan.

  • AltDave

    Blow it out your hole! TRUE GRIT deserved each and every nomination it received. If you don’t like Westerns, fine, but that doesn’t make TG any less a masterpiece than it is. And everyone really really needs to drop this BS of blaming the Coens for Nolan’s snub, there are other directors I’d bump off that list first to make room for Nolan.

    • llevinso

      I agree that TG was fantastic. I actually went to see it with very low expectations and was wonderfully surprised. But for sure Nolan deserved a directing nom. That was a big snub.

      • FromChicago

        I saw it twice. The last movie I did that for was the Matrix.

    • Agreed

      I completely agree with your comment AltDave. I haven’t seen The Social Network and don’t how good of a movie it is but I think David Fincher has directed far better movies than one that requires a lot of fast talking & sitting in dorm rooms. He’ll probably go home with the Oscar which will be very disappointing because Nolan should be the one to do so.

      • kellybelly

        The Social Network was a good movie. But I don’t think it was the best movie of the year. Hollywood seems to have just caught up with the social network FB.
        True Grit was good, but it dragged a bit in the middle. I liked it, but I was hoping for more, I guess.
        Bummed about snubs: Julianne Moore.

      • Nelda

        Agreed, if you want to make this point at your Oscar party, you better see Social Network first. Right now you apparently don’t like Social Network because you aren’t into typing and dorms. Go see it, and get cinematic reasons for your disdain! (or… maybe like the movie?)

    • Jem

      Thank you. You know how hard it is to make a good western? David O’Russell is the one who doesn’t belong there. The Fighter is a mediocre boxer film. Nothing impressive about O’Russell’s direction. So don’t point the finger at the Coens because everyone knows they are great and consistent.

    • Ruby

      Completely agree! I’d probably knock Tom Hooper off the list. His movie was good, but Nolan’s work on the film was much more work intensive.

    • Jonny

      If the True Grit was exactly how it is but wasn’t directed by the Coen brothers, no one would take it nearly as seriously as we are.

  • michael b.

    Julianne, you were robbed. Loved you Helena, but not an Oscar-contending performance. Shoulda been Moore for “Kids.”

    • E

      In supporting, do you think?

      I agree that she was fantastic, but I don’t think HBC had anything to do with her not being nominated – wrong category. Moore was lead.

      • CH

        True. If anyone ousted Julianna Moore, it was the lady from “Winter’s Bone.” Until now, I think Moore has been slated for Best Actress, not supporting. I actually thought her performance was stronger than Annette Bening’s, so it’s a shame it’s been so underappreciated.

    • MB Chicago

      That is ridiculous! Bening was in a supporting role and JMoore was the lead. The True Grit girl should have been campaigned in the lead category. Oscar needs to tighten up the category rules.

      • Nelda

        They were campaigning for Supporting because they knew Portman would eat her alive. Just being her first film… no way she’d win over Portman and Bening.

  • nn

    It’s pretty stupid that Nolan didn’t get a nod. He really deserved that award.

    • kiki

      Nolan should be winning this category … no nom , what a joke !

    • Anne

      Seriously! It’s becoming pretty clear that the Academy members of the DGA do NOT like Nolan, period. Because while the majority of the DGA members love him (they’ve nominated him three times, after all), the Academy members in the DGA clearly do not like him because they keep refusing to nominate him for an Oscar. Maybe they have personal beef with him? Maybe they’re jealous of his enormous box-office success?? I really have no idea, but it’s clear that they have a ridiculous bias against him.

      • Heather P

        The directors branch of the academy and the DGA are mostly the same people. Nearly every winner of the DGA award goes on to win the director’s Oscar. No idea why he didn’t get a nom. He really deserved one.

  • Felix

    In the name of all humanity, where’s the love for The Human Centipede?

    • Meier

      LOL! The award for Best “Someone Had to Say It” Comment goes to Felix!

    • sam

      The Human Centipede is such a beautiful film

  • Eve

    John Hawkes FTW (if only in my dreams!)

  • Tim

    I’d be more annoyed if I were Mark Wahlberg right now.

    • Dee Jones

      He wouldn`t have won anyway, so he probably knew that.

  • Kris

    Can we talk about NICOLE KIDMAN and the ridiculousness of her nomination? Seriously academy?

    • trent

      WHAT?? Kidman’s was one of the worthiest performances of all. Have you even seen the movie?

      • Kenneth

        agree. if there was any justice, Nicole should end up winning.

    • Kenneth

      What about it? No one wants to talk about it because apparently you’re the only one finding it ridiculous to nominate one of the most riveting performances of the year.

    • Jim M.

      Seriously, WHAT? Kidman is amazing in Rabbit Hole. Better than she was in her winning performance in The Hours.

    • Erin

      Nicole was fantastic and I find it ridiculous that she would be undeserving. If Natalie had’t come out with her performance in Black Swan I’d want Nicole to win. IMO she’s the runner-up performance.

  • MWeyer

    Disapointed on Moore but good for them nominating Williams.

  • SaraS

    I am very disappointed that The Town wasn’t nominated, or at least Ben Affleck for best actor. He was amazing in that film.

    • llevinso

      I agree. Everyone was talking about Renner in that film but I thought Affleck (who I’ve never really cared for) was the standout.

    • jeet

      the town was without a doubt the best film of 2010. in fact, it is one of the best films ever made

    • Bao

      the town was amazing. Still can’t believe that it only received one nod.
      The Academy robbed the town like Jeremy Renner robbed the Cambridge Merchants Bank

  • liss

    I’m really happy that Winter’s Bone got a best picture nod, truly deserving (as are the noms for actress, supp. actor and screenplay) and I hope it will drive more people to see the movie. It’s a really unique American story. My theory on why The Town got ignored: only room in voters’ minds for one Boston-based movie, and The Fighter had better (more recent) buzz.

    • Strepsi

      Yes, but… wasn’t it’s greatness all because of its uniqueness? What I mean is, I was totally spellbound by the extremely realistic rural setting, which we never see in movies (they are all either in NYC or the suburbs) — and by Jennifer Lawrence’s acting– but the movie itself wasn’t all that well written, and the second act had a lot of pacing problems. This and The Kids Are Alright both have the same issues, and both are overrated IMHO.

      • Shy Shy

        Girl, you must be easily spellbound

    • kellybelly

      liss — you’re probably right about The Town. I really liked that movie and was also suprised and impressed with Ben’s performance.
      Big Surprise? SNUB for Jeremy Renner!

      • meme

        He got nominated, numnuts.

  • PG

    Cher, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE LAST OF ME….Best Song, Golden Globe win for

    • Meow

      The Globes are basically meaningless, especially in best song. That groups’ starf***ing know no bounds.

      • m1

        The music categories are the only ones which are near-perfect at the Globes.

    • Casey

      I’m so mad John Legend didn’t get a nod for his song “Shine” from Waiting for Superman. That song is perfection, especially for the movie

      • LOL

        George W. Bush should have been nominated for his performance as “president.” Short of an Oscar, he should at least be in jail.

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