2011 Oscar Nominations: Let the Campaigning Begin

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I just got around to checking out this morning's Oscar nominees, here are my initial reactions:

Best Picture - I'm already tired of ten nominees, can't we just go back to five? We all know only five are actually award-worthy anyway. For the rest, enjoy using your Best Picture Nomination in your future marketing materials. Full disclosure: I've only seen a few of these so far, but it's still abundantly clear who the contenders really are based on reviews, talent, and marketing campaigns.

Black Swan - top 5

The Fighter - top 5, but on the borderline

Inception - top 5 and my winner, but probably because I haven't seen any of the other top 5

The Kids Are All Right - bottom 5

The King's Speech - top 5

127 Hours - bottom 5

The Social Network - top 5

Toy Story 3 - bottom 5

True Grit - bottom 5, but close. Losing steam

Winter's Bone - bottom 5

Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Biutiful - probably great, but nobody has seen it

Jeff Bridges, True Grit - already got his career achievement nod last year, so no need to repeat

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network - nope

Colin Firth, The King's Speech - the winner

James Franco, 127 Hours - enjoy your nomination

Best Actress

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right - all right, but so was Julianne Moore

Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole - has anybody seen this? Does anybody want to?

Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone - well-deserved, but try again

Natalie Portman, Black Swan - the winner, it's her turn

Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine - more cred for future win

Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter - probably. Tight race between Bale and Rush.

John Hawkes, Winter's Bone - great performance, but not enough career achievement sympathy to carry him to the top

Jeremy Renner, The Town - good, but not worth the top prize

Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right - wherein Mark Ruffalo plays Mark Ruffalo. Again.

Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech - maybe

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, The Fighter - nope, Adams and Leo cancel each other out

Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech - too crazy to be allowed near the podium

Melissa Leo, The Fighter - nope, see Adams

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit - the winner, Oscar can't pass up this Cinderella story

Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom - fulfilling this year's quota of unknown you'll never hear of again. Decent performance though

Director - ouch, this category is as close as any in my memory, very hard to handicap

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan - good shot

David O. Russell, The Fighter - history of prickliness diminishes odds

Tom Hooper, The King's Speech - outside shot

David Fincher, The Social Network - good shot

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit - not likely, film seems to be losing steam

Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon - not a chance

The Illusionist - dark horse

Toy Story 3 - winner. Duh.

I don't care about or have any opinions on the other categories, except for:

Animated Short Film - usually goes to something nobody has seen, but two great nominees this year

"Day & Night" - a strong contender due to its originality and charm, plus everybody has seen it with Toy Story 3

"The Gruffalo" - how did this get in here? Originally broadcast on BBC on Christmas Day 2009 and on ABC Family in December 2010, it's simply awesome and my most pleasant surprise nominee of all

"Let's Pollute" - no clue

"The Lost Thing" - no clue

"Madagascar, carnet de voyage" ("Madagascar, a Journey Diary") - no clue

The rest of the field:

Foreign Language Film

Biutiful, Mexico

Dogtooth, Greece

In a Better World, Denmark

Incendies, Canada

Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi), Algeria.

Adapted Screenplay

Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours

Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich, Toy Story 3

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit

Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, Winter's Bone

Original Screenplay

Mike Leigh, Another Year

Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington, The Fighter

Christopher Nolan, Inception

Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right

David Seidler, The King's Speech

Art Direction

Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara, Alice in Wonderland

Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat, Inception

Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr, The King's Speech

Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh, True Grit

Cinematography

Matthew Libatique, Black Swan

Wally Pfister, Inception

Danny Cohen, The King's Speech

Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network

Roger Deakins, True Grit

Sound Mixing

Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo & Ed Novick, Inception

Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen & John Midgley, The King's Speech

Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan & William Sarokin, Salt

Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick & Mark Weingarten, The Social Network

Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff & Peter F. Kurland, True Grit

Sound Editing

Richard King, Inception

Tom Myers & Michael Silvers, Toy Story 3

Gwendolyn Yates Whittle & Addison Teague, TRON: Legacy

Skip Lievsay & Craig Berkey, True Grit

Mark P. Stoeckinger, Unstoppable

Original Score

John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon

Hans Zimmer, Inception

Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech

A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network

Original Song

"Coming Home" from Country Strong, Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey

"I See the Light" from Tangled, Alan Menken and Glenn Slater

"If I Rise" from 127 Hours, A.R. Rahman, Dido and Rollo Armstrong

"We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3, Randy Newman.

Costume

Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland

Antonella Cannarozzi, I Am Love

Jenny Beavan, The King's Speech

Sandy Powell, The Tempest

Mary Zophres, True Grit

Documentary Feature

Exit through the Gift Shop

Gasland

Inside Job

Restrepo

Waste Land

Documentary (short subject)

"Killing in the Name"

"Poster Girl"

"Strangers No More"

"Sun Come Up"

"The Warriors of Qiugang."

Film Editing

Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan

Pamela Martin, The Fighter

Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech

Jon Harris, 127 Hours

Angus Wall & Kirk Baxter, The Social Network

Makeup

Adrien Morot, Barney's Version

Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk & Yolanda Toussieng, The Way Back

Rick Baker & Dave Elsey, The Wolfman

Live Action Short Film

"The Confession"

"The Crush"

"God of Love"

"Na Wewe"

"Wish 143"

Visual Effects

Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas & Sean Phillips, Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz & Nicolas Aithadi, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski & Joe Farrell, Hereafter

Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley & Peter Bebb, Inception

Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright & Daniel Sudick, Iron Man 2

The 83rd Academy Awards will be broadcast on ABC on Sunday, February 27th. Pick up an official Oscar ballot and good luck in your office pools!

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