Film

Oscar nominations offer no surprises

Staff Reporter

Silent-era throwback film The Artist and Martin Scorsese's Hugo lead the pack of Oscar nominees.

Silent-era throwback film The Artist and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo led the pack of Oscar nominees on Tuesday, including nods in the best film category, in the race for the world’s top movie honours.

Hugo, Scorsese’s 3D film exploring the magic of moviemaking, earned the most nominations with 11 overall, including one for him in the director category.The Artist, which has swept through the awards season this year taking many pre-Oscar honours, had 10 nominations in total.

The two easily outdistanced other top nominees including baseball movie Moneyball, with six nods, and Steven Spielberg’s World War I tale War Horse, also with six nominations.

Joining those four films in the race for best movie are family drama The Descendants, civil rights movie The Help, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, and 9/11 movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Although it had 11 nominations, the nods for Hugo came largely from relatively minor categories such as art direction and costume design. The 10 nods for The Artist, by contrast, were in a wide-range of groups including best supporting actress for Berenice Bejo and director for Michel Hazanavicius.

Screen queens
Best actress nominees were led by Meryl Streep portraying former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, Glenn Close in a gender-bending role in Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis for The Help, Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn.

The best actor race sets up an intriguing match between friends George Clooney and Brad Pitt. Clooney was nominated for his role as a father trying to keep his family together in a time of crisis in The Descendants, and Pitt in his turn as a numbers-crunching baseball executive in Moneyball.

But the pair of Hollywood A-listers face stiff competition from Frenchman Jean Dujardin playing a fading silent picture star redeemed by love in The Artist, as well as Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Demian Bichir in A Better Life.

Great diversity
“I don’t see a trend at all this year. You never want to see anyone left out but it [diversity] does make for great conversation,” said Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Artist has been a Hollywood darling this awards season winning best film honors from critics groups and taking the Golden Globe award for best film musical or comedy. In the best picture race, it may face its stiffest competition from The Descendants, which was named the Golden Globe best film drama winner and also has been a critical hit.

“Filming The Artist in Los Angeles was a dream come true, and to receive this recognition today is far beyond what I ever imagined,” Hazanavicius said in a statement.

With so many nominees among best picture contenders, clues in the race come from the best director category because in the Oscar’s 83 previous awards there has been a strong correlation between the best director and best film winners.

Some of the top categories:

Best picture

    War Horse
    The Artist
    Moneyball
    The Descendants
    Tree of Life
    Midnight in Paris
    The Help
    Hugo
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close



Best actor

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



Best actress

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



Best director

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



Best supporting actor

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



Best supporting actress

    Berenice Bejo, The Artist
    Jessica Chastain, The Help
    Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
    Janet McTeer, Alfred Nobbs
    Octavia Spencer, The Help



Animated film

    A Cat in Paris
    Chico & Rita
    Kung Fu Panda 2
    Puss in Boots
    Rango



Foreign language film

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



Documentary

    Hell and Back Again
    If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
    Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
    Pina
    Undefeated

—Reuters

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