The 84th Academy Award Nominations Have Been Announced

Before the envelope is opened, let us know your thoughts.
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Paige MacGregor, who makes her debut at Cinema Sentries, joins me in reflecting upon this year's Academy Award nominations, which are handed out Sunday February 26th on ABC.

84th Academy Awards, Nomination Announcements

PM: Where is Ides of March for Best Picture, and why - why - are The Help and The Descendants on this list? The Help looks like the most painful movie released in 2011, and while The Descendants was entertaining, it was very poorly acted and not very well written, either. Not to mention... nine movies?

GM: After paying attention over the past year to some of the self-appointed movie observers from the chattering classes, there didn't seem too much surprise in the Best Picture nominees except the poorly received Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close but then a good number of Academy voters can be a soft touch.  I didn't have the problem you did with The Descendants, but I agree The Help looks a bit obvious as it reminds us that racism is bad.

PM: As far as Best Actor in Leading Role, I'm again confused why George Clooney is nominated for The Descendants. That movie just isn't Oscar-worthy, nor is his performance in it. Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, however, is phenomenal, as always. In fact, I'd like to see several of the actors from that film take home an Oscar this year.

GM: A predictable bunch except for Demian Bichir in A Better Life.  I can't imagine more than a small few of general public are even aware of the film let alone seen it.  I am very disappointed that Andy Serkis didn't receive the recognition he deserved for his work in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".  His motion-capture character was better realized than all the humans.  Also surprised Michael Fassbender, who seemingly appeared in every movie last year, didn't get a nomination as well

PM: With regard to Best Actress in Leading Role has Albert Nobbs even been released yet? I haven't seen any of the movies that these women are nominated for, but I'm guessing that Glenn Close or Meryl Streep should win this one.

GM: Albert Nobbs played enough to be eligible, and although everyone is talking about Meryl Streep's performance, as they always do and deservedly so, when I saw it at the Toronto International Film Festival, I thought Glenn's performance was outstanding.

PM: I thought it was sad that Tomas Alfredson wasn't nominated for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film is really very well done - subtle, complicated, and intriguing - and unfortunately I think that may be the very reason why it's overlooked. 

GM: While the directing selections are fine by me, I am surprised Spielberg didn't get included because War Horse seems like such a bigger undertaking for a director than The Descendants or Midnight in Paris.  Just don't call it a snub.  Makes it sound like he was entitled.  I'm rooting for Woody, but think Scorsese's ode to movies will trump Michel Hazanavicius' ode, even though he seems to be the favorite with all the awards The Artist has already won.  

PM: In the Writing (Adapted Screenplay) category, I'm torn between The Ides of March, which is phenomenal, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but I'm leaning towards the former because I think it's a very underrated movie this year.

GM: I am surprised The Artist is in the Original Screenplay category considering all the movies it appears adapted from just from its trailer.

PM: Granted I haven't watched Transformers: Dark of the Moon (my own special form of protest for replacing Megan Fox - and yes, I know she's a terrible actress, but I do love her... I hope that doesn't affect my credibility), but I think I'll puke if Michael Bay wins an award for Visual Effects for that movie. It's Transformers, for Christ's sake.

GM: Billy Crystal returning as host has me a little nauseous.

Below is the complete list of nominees with links to reviews covered by Cinema Sentries.  Who do you think should go home with Oscar?  Who deserved a chance?  Who doesn't? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Actor in a Leading Role
Demian Bichir in A Better Life
George Clooney in The Descendants
Jean Dujardin in The Artist
Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt in Moneyball

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill in Moneyball
Nick Nolte in Warrior
Christopher Plummer in Beginners
Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis in The Help
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn

Actress in a Supporting Role
Berenice Bejo in The Artist
Jessica Chastain in The Help
Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer in The Help

Animated Feature Film
A Cat in Paris - Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita - Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2 - Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Puss in Boots - Chris Miller
Rango - Gore Verbinski

Art Direction
The Artist - Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
Hugo - Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
Midnight in Paris - Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Helene Dubreuil
War Horse - Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

The Artist - Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo - Robert Richardson
The Tree of Life - Emmanuel Lubezki
War Horse - Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design
Anonymous - Lisy Christl
The Artist - Mark Bridges
Hugo - Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre - Michael O'Connor
W.E. - Arianne Phillips

The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants - Alexander Payne
Hugo - Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen
The Tree of Life - Terrence Malick

Documentary (Feature)
Hell and Back Again - Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front - Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory - Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Pina - Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
Undefeated - TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement - Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
God Is the Bigger Elvis - Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
Incident in New Baghdad - James Spione
Saving Face - Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom - Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing
The Artist - Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants - Kevin Tent
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
Hugo - Thelma Schoonmaker
Moneyball - Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film
Bullhead - Belgium
Footnote - Israel
In Darkness - Poland
Monsieur Lazhar - Canada
A Separation - Iran

Albert Nobbs - Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
The Iron Lady - Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)
The Adventures of Tintin - John Williams
The Artist - Ludovic Bource
Hugo - Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Alberto Iglesias
War Horse - John Williams

Music (Original Song)
"Man or Muppet" from The Muppets - Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio" from Rio - Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Short Film (Animated)
Dimanche/Sunday - Patrick Doyon
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore - William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
La Luna - Enrico Casarosa
A Morning Stroll - Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
Wild Life - Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)
Pentecost - Peter McDonald and Eimear O'Kane
Raju - Max Zahle and Stefan Gieren
The Shore Terry George and Oorlagh George
Time Freak - Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
Tuba Atlantic - Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing
Drive - Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Ren Klyce
Hugo - Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
War Horse - Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
Hugo - Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
Moneyball - Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
War Horse - Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
Hugo - Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
Real Steel - Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
The Descendants - Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Hugo - Screenplay by John Logan
The Ides of March - Screenplay by George Clooney and Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Moneyball - Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)
The Artist - Written by Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids - Written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig
Margin Call - Written by J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris - Written by Woody Allen
A Separation - Written by Asghar Farhadi

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