Deadline’s Awards Columnist Pete Hammond contributed commentary for this article.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Ides Of March
Despite Warner Bros’ pricey campaign to put the final Harry Potter in the mix for Best Picture, its efforts only resulted in the same old technical noms the series usually gets (Visual Effects, Art Direction, Makeup). Universal also did a sizeable campaign to get its raunchy summer comedy Bridesmaids into the Best Picture conversation, but conventional wisdom that the Academy frowns on broad comedies in the category proved true again, relegating the hit movie to screenplay and Supporting Actress Melissa McCarthy — exactly the two categories the film was always thought to have its best chance.
David Fincher, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Steven Spielberg, War Horse
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Tate Taylor, The Help
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
George Clooney, The Ides Of March
DGA nominee Fincher was the one anomaly between the usually reliable DGA list and the Oscar nominees in this category. Terrence Malick grabbed that spot, while Spielberg not only was snubbed here but in animated feature too for The Adventures Of Tintin. At least he has a Best Picture nom for War Horse to comfort him. Daldry, Taylor and Miller join him in the Snubbed Club even though their films were deemed Best Picture-worthy.
Actor In A Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides Of March or Drive
Perhaps it was a sign when the Makeup branch failed to list DiCaprio’s Hoover makeup in their original seven finalists. The Academy thoroughly rejected Clint Eastwood’s movie, and DiCaprio went down with the ship too.
Motion Capture just isn’t a favorite with actors so that doomed Serkis from the start. Brooks missed SAG too, so that should have been a sign. Perhaps the film was just too violent for some? (Brooks had the best anti-reaction quotes of the day on his Twitter feed, posting “And to the Academy: You don’t like me. You really don’t like me” and “Looking forward to the State of the Union tonight. Hope the new Axis of Evil includes Hollywood.”)
Actress In A Leading Role
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Both of the above were more talked-about for noms than Rooney Mara, but in the end the newcomer triumphed over some Oscar-winning vets.
Actress In A Supporting Role
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Youth was not served in a tough category.
The Adventures Of Tintin
Big studio fare was eclipsed by little-seen foreign toons this year, meaning Pixar was left out in the cold with Cars 2 and Spielberg’s motion-capture Tintin – further proof Mo Cap has a long way to go to be embraced in all areas of the Academy.
Superclásico, Ole Christian Madsen, director (Denmark)
Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Wei Te-sheng, director (Taiwan)
Omar Killed Me, Roschdy Zem, director (Morocco)
Pina, Wim Wenders, director (Germany)
Pina did receive a Documentary Feature nomination, but it is basically a dance-performance film and seemed more likely to score here. Odd.
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Steve Zaillian, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Tate Taylor, The Help
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Will Reiser, 50/50
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Diablo Cody, Young Adult
Mark Ricker, The Help
Donald Graham Burt, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Hoyte van Hoytema, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Battle for Brooklyn
Bill Cunningham New York
The Loving Story
Semper Fi: Always Faithful
Sing Your Song
Under Fire: Journalists in Combat
We Were Here
WIth new rules kicking in this year, this may be the last time we see heavy favorites bypassed in the doc category for many of the more obscure contenders. Buck, Bill Cunningham and Project Nim wuz robbed.
Documentary (Short Subject)
In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution
Michael Kahn, War Horse
The editors guild nominated Kahn but his Oscar branch breathren did not follow suit. Oddly, the Art Directors Guild and Cinematographers society both rejected War Horse in their noms but their respective Oscar branches didn’t. Go figure.
Michael Giacchino, Super 8
Alexandre Desplat, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Thomas Newman, The Help
Desplat did eight scores last year and got zero Oscar love. John Williams does two and gets both in. He’s a god and the gods rule in this category.
“The Living Proof” from The Help (Mary J. Blidge, Thomas Newman, Damon Thomas, Harvey Mason Jr.)
“Life’s A Happy Song” from The Muppets (Bret McKenzie)
“Love Builds A Garden” and “Hello Hello” from Gnomeo And Juliet (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)
“Pictures In My Head” from The Muppets (Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, Chen Neeman)
“Lay You Head Down” from Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close, Brian Byrne sung by Sinead O’Connor)
(Madonna’s song from W.E. wasn’t eligible…)
The Academy Music Branch’s weird voting system, where an 8.5 is required for at least one song to be nominated and anywhere from 2 to 5 can make the cut, showed just how endangered this category is with a record low of only two nominations in what was a pretty good year for movie songs. Another head-scratcher.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The Tree Of Life
X-Men: First Class