And the Oscar noms are in!

Nine films nabbed best picture Oscar nominations this morning. Let’s look at that and more ...

Best picture

“The Artist”; “The Descendants”; “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”; “The Help”; “Hugo”; “Midnight in Paris”;  “Moneyball”; “The Tree of Life”; “War Horse.”

Everyone was wondering exactly how movies would end up in this category; it all depended on how many films earned a #1 rating from voters. Nine is more than most expected, but it’s an interesting, eclectic field. Will any of them, though, be able to stop “The Artist” from claiming the top prize? “The Descendants” has a surprising amount of momentum, so that could be the spoiler. We’ll see on Feb. 26.

Best actor

Demian Bechir, “A Better Life”; George Clooney, “The Descendants”; Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”; Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”; Brad Pitt, “Moneyball.”

The big surprise of the nominations is Demian Bechir breaking into the best actor category for his much-acclaimed performance in the little-seen “A Better Life.” And Gary Oldman was on the bubble when most predictions were being made, but he made the final cut. Those two inclusions meant that Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t make the final group for his “J. Edgar” turn, nor did Michael Fassbender for “Shame.” In the end, though, Clooney will waltz off with the statue.

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.”

No Tilda Swinton, who had been expected to be nominated for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” But good for Rooney Mara, who took on the monumental task of trying to make audiences forget Noomi Rapace’s version of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish version of “Dragon Tattoo.” Mara succeeded; good on her. Remember, Rooney, it’s an honor just to be nominated, because Meryl Streep will win.

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.”

I never thought I’d type these words, but here goes: Jonah Hill is an Oscar nominee. I wasn’t too impressed with his “Moneyball” performance. He underplayed the role, which was what was required, but otherwise ... meh. The rest of the contenders are a strong lot, with the semi-surprise of Nick Nolte tossed into the mix. At this point, Christopher Plummer seems a lock to win.

Best supporting actress

Octavia Spencer, “The Help”; Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”; Jessica Chastain, “The Help”; Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”); and Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids.”

I’m so happy Melissa McCarthy got a nod, since comic turns rarely get their due. But Octavia Spencer should win.


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