On Thursday, January 10th, the Oscar Nominations were announced and with the Golden Globe telecast last Sunday the 13th, we are in the middle of award season. Because the Oscar nominations and the Oscar telecast are late in the season, most people have more than an inkling as to whom and what is going to be nominated. Also, the voting block does overlap with many awards, so insiders and enthusiasts can usually predict the nominations with some accuracy. This year, however there were some big surprises.
Perhaps the biggest surprise came in the best director category. Typically these nominations mirror the Director’s Guild closely, and it isn’t uncommon for the DGA and best director Oscar nominations to match four out of five nominations, if not four than almost always three nominations match, however, this year only two nominations match between the DGA and the Academy. Only Ang Lee for Life of Pi and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln were dually nominated. Tom Hooper for Les Miserables, Ben Affleck for Argo and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark were rewarded with a nomination from DGA, but snubbed by the Oscars. . Affleck and Bigelow’s omissions are especially bizarre as both have been heavily awarded elsewhere. Affleck won the Golden Globe in this category. This situation, in my experience as an Oscar researcher and aficionado all but guarantees Spielberg the Oscar and the DGA award and Lincoln the best picture win.
Perhaps the biggest other snub was the absence of John Hawkes for The Sessions. Hawkes was nominated for a SAG award – (telecast January 27), but he was edged out by the elusive and sometimes crazy, Joaquin Phoenix, who despite his reputation for being “out there” and difficult to work with , raked up his third nomination for The Master.
There seems the possibility for some real surprises this year at the Oscars. In the Best Actress race there is no real frontrunner and the Best Supporting Actor races is a total crap shoot this year. Although Anne Hathaway is the favorite for best supporting actress, for her raw, heartbreaking Fantine in Les Miserables, you cannot count out Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The only acting category that seems to be a lock is Daniel Day Lewis’ magnificent performance in Lincoln.