Ever since the 2011 Oscar nominations were announced this morning, I know what you've been asking yourself: What does Scott Renshaw think about all this?
As my obligatory intro, my love/relationship with Oscar is part of public record. It's Hollywood insider silliness, yet it also helps frame the cinema conversation in a way that nothing else does. So we who write about movies for a living love to complain about the awards, even as we adore the way they give us a chance to, well, write about movies. Here are some quick reactions to what did (and didn't) turn up on the list of nominees:
Most Pleasant Surprises: Not many folks thought Winter's Bone's John Hawkes would make the cut for Supporting Actor, expecting instead to see The Social Network's Andrew Garfield. But thankfully, with all the attention being given to star (and fellow nominee) Jennifer Lawrence during awards season, people got to see his remarkable, quietly menacing performance. Animal Kingdom's Jacki Weaver was a too-close-to-call possibility, but the Utah Film Critics Association winner for Supporting Actress landed a much-deserved spot as the creepy matriarch of a family of criminals. And, somehow, the Animated Feature category avoided a rubber-stamp nomination for Despicable Me in favor of Sylvain Chomet's melancholy The Illusionist (due in SLC Feb. 25).
Predictable, But Still Depressing: We're all clear on the fact that I consider The Kids Are All Right a padded-out sitcom episode that happens to be about a subject critics and Hollywood insiders can rally behind, right? Okay. Let's move on.
Perplexing Omissions: I've joked for years about the editing category often seeming to reward "most editing" rather than "best editing"--but how did Inception, a thriller where clockwork editing was crucial to its success, not earn even a nomination? It was also a shame that Lesley Manville couldn't make the cut as the middle-aged flirt in Another Year, but blame part of that on Sony Classics pushing her for Lead Actress. And speaking of which ...
Just One Last Time, I Promise: I don't care how old Hailee Steinfeld is, True Grit is about her character. She narrates it, and she's in virtually every scene. It's terrific to see her name among the nominees, but if she's not a Lead Actress, the title of the category has no meaning.