The major nominees are (and you can click here for the complete list of nominations):
Best Film: The Artist; The Descendants; Drive; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; The Help; Hugo; Midnight in Paris; Moneyball; The Tree of Life; War Horse
Best Actor: George Clooney (The Descendants); Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar); Jean Dujardin (The Artist); Michael Fassbender (Shame); Ryan Gosling (Drive); Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Best Actress: Viola Davis (The Help); Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene); Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady); Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin); Charlize Theron (Young Adult); Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)
Best Supporting Actor: Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn); Albert Brooks (Drive); Nick Nolte (Warrior); Oswalt Patton (Young Adult); Christopher Plummer (Beginners); Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
Best Supporting Actress: Bérénice Bejo (The Artist); Jessica Chastain (The Help); Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids); Carey Mulligan (Shame); Octavia Spencer (The Help); Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)
It should come as no surprise that The Artist and Hugo lead the field. What’s striking are the similarities between the two. Both are a throwback to the cinematic past, incorporating more traditional and less avant-garde storytelling methods, each has at least one major critics’ group best film prize (Artist topped New York, Hugo took the National Board), across-the-board citations and runner-up votes, and each has 11 nominations here. While neither feels like an outright Best Picture winner at this point, they have helped shape the race.
|A winning cast? Davis and Spencer, nominees|
Steven Spielberg’s War Horse may not have cleaned up with critics’ groups, but it has generally received excellent advance notices and has the importance and feel assigned to a prestige picture. Given that its source material swept the Tony Awards and won the Pulitzer just this year, it has extremely high pedigree and should be kept in the conversation. The last time a Spielberg film was in the same position, it was 2005 and Munich received a “surprise” Best Picture nomination come Oscar time.
A number of writer-driven, dialogue-heavy films maintain the status quo for the big races. These include The Descendants, Moneyball and Midnight in Paris, and they remain in the mix for Picture, Screenplay and acting categories.
The biggest boost of the day goes to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the new Stephen Daldry-directed 9/11 drama starring Tom Hanks, Bullock and Max von Sydow. Although unseen yet by critics groups – the screeners did not make it in time for early notices but did make it in time for this and the Golden Globes – this is a major boost. The last time a late entry directed by Daldry came in at the eleventh hour, it was 2008’s The Reader, which won Kate Winslet her long-overdue Best Actress Oscar. All three of Daldry’s previous feature films earned him Best Director nominations, and there’s a good chance that he may go four-for-four.
I mentioned a couple of days ago that Melissa McCarthy was a force to reckon with, given her surprise win at Boston. She just landed a Crix Choice nomination for Best Supporting Actress. About twenty years ago, Kevin Kline won an Oscar for a flat-out insanely comic role in A Fish Called Wanda. McCarthy could follow that same pattern if there is no consensus in her category.
|Surprise! Olsen makes the list|
Other surprises in this morning’s nominations include Elizabeth Olsen, who received a Best Actress nomination for Martha Marcy May Marlene; Leonardo DiCaprio, for the otherwise tepidly-received J. Edgar; Young Adult, with acting citations for Charlize Theron and Oswalt Patton; Carey Mulligan, for Shame; and Andy Serkis, cited for a visual-effects-enhanced role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
|Missing: Glenn Close|
Check back in this space on Thursday morning when we discuss the Golden Globe nominations!