That Time of Year: The Oscar Noms

Every year, it happens. I awake when the sun begins to rise –– okay, I actually wake up hours later –– to discover which films are nominated for the Academy Awards. What ensues next is my heart churning through a variety of emotions ranging from joy and relief to shock and outrage. Sometimes it takes an entire day for me to fully comprehend which films made the cut and which ones didn’t.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you what I found to be the crème de la crème, the perplexing and the horrifying atrocities of this year’s nominations.

Wisdom triumphs: As much as I was struggling to stay awake during “The Tree of Life” (give me a break, I watched it late at night), I won’t deny that it’s a compelling work of art. That being said, I was overjoyed with its key Picture and Director nods. Let the audience confounding commence on a wider scale!

An overdue recognition: It’s difficult to believe that over the span of his 30-year acting career, Gary Oldman has never been nominated for an Oscar. How fitting it is that he finally gets a nod for his calculating, subtle role in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

The maestro is back. The great John Williams hasn’t been nominated since 2005, but he’s back in style, with two shots at Best Original Score. I didn’t care for his work in “War Horse,” but I was absolutely overjoyed to see that his enthralling score for “The Adventures of Tintin” was recognized.

You’re not welcome here, Harry. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of people who actually believe that the final “Harry Potter” film should have earned a Best Picture nom; this serves as a compelling argument for the sterilization of the human race. Let’s face it, people: you liked it not because it’s a great film, but because you finally bid farewell to a lucrative movie franchise. Hope the nods for Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects are acceptable consolations for you. Haters gonna hate.

Performance capture isn’t animation? Apparently so, according to the animators. Though it won the Golden Globe and the Producer’s Guild Award for Best Animated Feature, “The Adventures of Tintin” was not one of the five Oscar nominees. Equally puzzling is that two of the nominees –– “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico and Rita” –– are foreign films. A very bold move, indeed.

Um, Jonah Hill is now an Oscar nominee. Whether he deserves it or not for his performance in “Moneyball” is up to you, but you can’t deny that it’s just weird. I bet you that trailers for his future films –– regardless of whether they’re good or downright terrible –– will now have the text “Academy Award Nominee Jonah Hill.”

Only two songs are good? The Best Original Song category is getting smaller as time goes by. There are only two nominees this year, making the competition just downright dull. Besides, we all know that “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” is going to win over “Real in Rio” from, well, “Rio.”

Yank those heartstrings: I nearly flipped my bedside table over when I saw that “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” secured a Best Picture nom. I don’t care how many people tell me how good the novel is (I’m pretty sure it is); the film itself looks like one of the most shamelessly manipulative movies I’ve ever seen. Hell, whenever I watch the trailer, I keep hoping that the kid’s key will lead to some hidden terrorist cell.

A case of mistaken identity? Of all the films to miss out on key nominations, the most glaring omission is “Drive.” Sure, it got a nod for Sound Editing, but that’s hardly a consolation when you realize how amazing it really is. Did the Academy mistake this for “Fast Five” instead?

“Shame” on you, Academy. Okay, okay, I should have seen it coming because of its NC-17 rating for all the penis depictions, but I felt like weeping when “Shame” –– the best film of 2011 –– completely missed out. To not, at the very least, nominate Michael Fassbender for Best Actor rivals any Greek tragedy. Heartbroken, I’ve been listening to Carey Mulligan’s cover of “New York, New York” since this unfortunate piece of news sunk in.

It’s been several days since the Oscar nominations have been announced, and I’m still trying to convince myself that the nominations overall are solid choices. Of course, there’s quite an emphasis on the word “trying.”

I’ve been watching what is proclaimed to be “the biggest movie event of the year” for nearly a decade, as well as following the annual awards season for well over five years now. As the years pass, I realize that the Oscars don’t really determine the best films; rather, they determine what appear to be the best films according to an organization of 6,000 individuals.

So, which of the nominees will be strike gold on Oscar night? It’s still too early to tell, but for now, I’m going to predict that the silent black and white film “The Artist” will claim Picture and Director, and “Hugo” will find itself quite lucky as well. After all, it’s no coincidence that those two have 21 nominations between them – this year’s theme seems to be all about early cinema.

In spite of this, I admit that I’m still bitter over the snubs and the undeserved nominations. But as Tupac once said, “Life goes on.” Regardless of how I feel, I know that I’ll be watching the Academy Awards ceremony on February 26, whether I love the results or not.