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And so, the Oscar nominations have been released, unleashing waves of frustration across the Internet that [Your Selection Here] was unfairly snubbed, or that the Academy seems to believe that [Your Other Selection Here] is worth the time of day, never mind an award. But looking at the nominations as they stand, who and what actually manages to make the cliche “Just being nominated is an award in itself” come true …? Here are three contenders.
Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva), Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, Amour is one of the most visible movies on the nominations list – which, let’s face it, is pretty impressive for a movie that not a lot of people had probably heard of before the nominations were released. One of the best-reviewed movies of last year, Amour is an Austrian feature about an elderly couple, one of whom – Riva – suffers a stroke. The movie won the Palme d’Or in Cannes last year, and New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott named it his favorite movie of the year, saying that it “shows, almost as if for the first time, how the saddest and most intractable facts of life can be transformed into art.” The movie was only released in the U.S. on limited release in New York and Los Angeles on December 19, but that will almost inevitably change in light of the number of nominations it’s received.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Unlike Amour, at least Beasts got a wide release across the U.S., but it’s still a somewhat dark horse contender for the number of nominations it received (Four: Best Picture, Best Actress (Quvenzhane Wallis), Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay). Adapted from Lucy Alibar’s play Juicy and Delicious by Alibar and director Benh Zeitlin, Beasts follows Hushpuppy (Wallis) as she and her father prepare for a storm heading towards their Louisiana island, nicknamed “Bathtub.” The movie won the Camera d’Or at Cannes as well as the Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival last year.
Silver Linings Playbook
Admittedly, when it was released, many sarcastically called this movie about the romance between a man with bipolar disorder (Bradley Cooper) and a recently widowed woman (Jennifer Lawrence) “Oscar bait,” but they were apparently more correct than they thought at the time: The movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), Best Actress (Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Robert DeNiro), Best Supporting Actress (Jacki Weaver), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing – A pretty impressive haul by anyone’s measure. Who would’ve expected that little Will Tippin from Alias could’ve done so well?