Oscar nominations have many of us scratching our heads this morning…

HOLLYWOOD NEWS: What a crazy morning. As Oscar tends to do, they delivered their annual “WTF?” but instead of them inserting their nominees, they took out the nominees. Insane. Simply insane.

My reactions to the nominees are below:

Best Picture
• Amour
• Argo
• Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Django Unchained
• Les Miserables
• Life of Pi
• Lincoln
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Zero Dark Thirty

I’m so happy I was wrong about Amour getting trumped by all the loud December openings. It’s well deserved. The only surprise (and to some it isn’t a surprise) is Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained making the cut here over Moonrise Kingdom, who many thought would make the cut. As we trickle down through every category, and if you already saw the Best Director lineup, this looks like a race between Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook at this point.
Prediction – 7 for 9 (missed Amour and Django for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise, and The Master at #10)

Predicted Winner – Lincoln
Snub – Moonrise Kingdom, The Master, The Impossible

Best Achievement in Directing
• Michael Haneke – Amour
• Ang Lee – Life of Pi
• David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook
• Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
• Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

I spoke about the possibility of Benh Zeitlin sneaking in for Best Director when DGA was announced and his film is a director’s type of film. What’s more insane is it came at the expense of three big Oscar favorites, Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, and David O. Russell. When it comes to Affleck, I discussed back in November that Oscar may not have fully forgiven him or take him seriously yet as a director to be taken seriously here. It’s sad because he’s delivered three solid films under his directorial belt that are worthy of citation. I’m glad Argo managed the Picture nom though but George Clooney as a Producer probably had something to do with that more than Affleck.

I can’t explain why Bigelow missed. Is it the woman card? The controversy surrounding the film at the moment? Not sure at all. Tom Hooper directing a musical and missing makes sense. They Academy at large doesn’t go all the way for musicals unless the Weinstein Company is pushing it or its 40 years ago. Congratulations Ang Lee, you are officially in the running to win your second Directing Oscar. Russell is in the heat of the race too. Can’t believe what we ended up with. Love years like this.

Prediction – 2 for 5 (only named Lee and Spielberg in favor of Affleck, Bigelow, and Hooper)
Predicted Winner – Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Snub – Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
• Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
• Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
• Hugh Jackman – Les Miserables
• Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
• Denzel Washington – Flight

I don’t hate John Hawkes in The Sessions. I like him very much actually and in any of the year, he might have been a lock to be nominated and even win. This year was just WAY too strong for a performance like this to make it through. The SAG snub might have really helped Phoenix and propel him forward ahead of him. We now have a serious Best Actor race with anyone winning except for Denzel Washington. It’s going to be interesting to see who The Weinstein Company decides to put all their money behind for Phase 2 of the season, Bradley Cooper or Joaquin Phoenix. Both would make deserving Oscar winners but both have hurdles to jump.

Silver Linings Playbook has some good momentum and Day-Lewis’ film has the most nominations and the most critics’ awards. Hugh Jackman’s winning chances seem to have disappeared with Hooper’s snub and Phoenix’s entry.

Prediction – 5/5 – YAY!
Predicted Winner – Joaquin Phoenix
Snub – I like the 5 but Logan Lerman and Jean-Louis Tringnant would be amazing additions.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
• Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
• Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
• Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
• Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
• Naomi Watts – The Impossible

At 22, Jennifer Lawrence is the youngest Actress to be nominated twice in Lead Actress. With SLP making a strong showing today and Zero Dark Thirty making a poor one, Lawrence may be able edge Chastain out in the end. Critics Choice Movie Awards tonight and SAG will be very telling for both of them but will not make anything final as we saw last year with Viola Davis and Meryl Streep. Riva, Watts, and Wallis are wildcards here who can benefit from a split between the two frontrunners if it occurs.

I’m so glad Oscar passed on Hitchcock and Helen Mirren. She should have never been in the conversation anyway. In terms of Cotillard, who doesn’t deliver the best performance in her film, unlikable character and early peaking could have caused her omission. Riva is the oldest nominee ever in this category while Wallis is the youngest. Talk about making history.

Prediction – 3 for 5 (missing Riva and Wallis for Mirren and Cotillard)
Predicted Winner – Jennifer Lawrence
Snub – No chance in the world but Michelle Williams in Take this Waltz

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
• Alan Arkin – Argo
• Robert DeNiro – Silver Linings Playbook
• Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
• Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
• Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

All previous Oscar winners take up this category but not with Javier Bardem in the final slot, it was Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained. I guess the switch-aroo by the Weinsteins was a smart move. The company has three of their own in this category. Any of these men could win but the edge has to be in Tommy Lee Jones’ favor since his film has the most nominations and he fills the “definition” of a supporting player. Hoffman and Waltz could easily be shifted lead, there are many who think Arkin’s nom is so-so. Perhaps it’s DeNiro vs. Jones but the former has two Oscars, more than anyone in the category.

I’m sad they went for Beasts of the Southern Wild as much as they did and still couldn’t find it in their hearts to place Dwight Henry in the lineup.

Prediction – 4 for 5 (missing Waltz for McConaughey)
Predicted Winner – Tommy Lee Jones
Snub – Dwight Henry and Eddie Redmayne

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
• Amy Adams – The Master
• Sally Field – Lincoln
• Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables
• Helen Hunt – The Sessions
• Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook
Weaver did it. I knew she would but I didn’t have the balls to predict it. Poor Ann Dowd! Hathaway should and will win this in a walk unless the fact that Adams has nomination #4 under her belt with no win will trigger some sympathy votes.

Prediction – 3 for 5 (missing Adams and Weaver for Dowd and Smith)
Predicted Winner – Anne Hathaway
Snub – Doona Bae

Best Original Screenplay
• Amour – Michael Haneke
• Django Unchained – Quentin Tarantino
• Flight – John Latins
• Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola
• Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal

I thought the Weinstein power on The Intouchables would push it in this category but the film was completely shut out. Flight cracking the five over The Master is a slap in the face to Harvey. This is yet another category completely wide open. The fact that ZDT performed poorly tells me Boal could lose, plus he’s won before. Could Haneke pull a Pedro Almodovar and win his first Oscar here. His film is the only film nominated for Best Picture with a Director attached in this category.

Prediction – 2 for 5 OUCH!
Predicted Winner – Amour
Snub – The Master and Arbitrage

Best Adapted Screenplay
• Chris Terrio – Argo
• Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild
• David Magee – Life of Pi
• Tony Kushner – Lincoln
• David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook

Many predicted this five but I wish Stephen Chbosky could have made it through in place of David Magee. I think whoever wins Picture, will win this category too unless they want to throw Benh Zeitlin a bone somewhere which could present an opportunity to do it here.
Prediction – 4 for 5 (missed Pi for Perks)
Predicted Winner – Silver Linings Playbook
Snub – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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