“The Artist” solidified its lead at the Oscars with 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress and three bids for writer/director Michel Hazanavicius who also shared an editing nom with Anne-Sophie Bion. One of its main rivals for the top prize — “Hugo” — led with the most nominations (11) but was snubbed in the acting races. The Best Picture race, which could have had anywhere from five to 10 nominees, has nine entries in all.
Another Best Picture nominee — “The Help” — reaped the most bids for acting (3) for lead Viola Davis and featured players Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer but was otherwise snubbed.
While “The Descendants” managed only five bids they include Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney) and two for Alexander Payne who helmed and co-adapted the novel of the same name. (Clooney also contends in that race with Grant Heslov for “The Ides of March.”) Another Best Picture contender, “Midnight in Paris,” earned double noms for Woody Allen for directing and writing.
As expected, “Moneyball” was nominated for the top award and contends in a half dozen races in all, including both lead (Brad Pitt) and supporting (Jonah Hill) acting categories and Adapted Screenplay. Pitt, who steered this passion project to fruition, is credited as one of the three producers for the Best Picture nomination.
“War Horse,” which had lagged in the precursor races, had a surprisingly strong showing boosted by unexpected tech support and reaped six bids including Best Picture.
That “The Tree of Life” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” made it onto the Best Picture roster demonstrates the effects of the new balloting procedure which enhanced the importance of #1 votes.
“The Tree of Life” also reaped bids for Terrence Malick, who had been snubbed by the DGA, and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” had fared well with the guilds but had a poor showing, missing out on both Best Picture and Director for DGA nominee David Fincher. It did reap a bid for Rooney Mara in the Best Actress race.
Globe Drama Actress champ Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”) keeps extending her Oscar record, picking up her 14th bid for Best Actress (and 17th overall). Besides Mara, her competition includes Critic’s Choice champ Viola Davis (“The Help”), Globe Comedy/Musical winner Michelle Williams (“My Week with Marilyn”) and Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”) who landed her sixth Oscar nod.
The Best Actor slate includes both Globe winners — George Clooney (“The Descendants”) and Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) — as well as Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”) and two outside entries — Brit Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) and Demian Bichir (“A Good Life”) who translated his surprise SAG bid into an Oscar nod. They bumped Leonardo Dicaprio (“J. Edgar”) and Michael Fassbender (“Shame”).
Had there been a 10th Best Picture nominee, it might have been “Bridesmaids” which had to settle for two noms: Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and Original Screenplay for the film’s star Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo.
Christopher Plummer has won most of the precursor Supporting Actor prizes for his performance in “Beginners” and contends here against Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn”), Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), Nick Nolte (“Warrior”) and Max Von Sydow (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”). Von Sydow likely bumped out Albert Brooks (“Drive”) who had won several critics awards.