Oscar nominations 2012: Surprises? Getting naked doesn't guarantee nod
What's the take-away from the Oscar nominations? Keep your clothes on, and your mouth shut. Make an uplifting film. And don't think just because you've won many times before that you're a lock. (Steven Spielberg and Pixar Animation, we're looking at you.)
The Oscar nominations brought "both the expected and the unexpected," says L.A. Times film critic Betsy Sharkey. She and The Times' film writer Nicole Sperling analyze the 84th Academy Award nominees and point to front-runners among films and actors -- it looks like Meryl Streep and Viola Davis in a race for best actress, for starters.
Among best picture nominees, "what we did not see was any animation," Sharkey says. "It's been a really tough year for animation. Pixar couldn't even get in animation category, much less best picture.” And “Cars 2”? It “drove right into a wall."
"Rango," they note is the front-runner in that race. Meanwhile, DreamWorks is likely popping open the before-noon Champagne with the nominations of "Puss in Boots" and "Kung Fu Panda 2."
Rooney Mara is a surprising best actress nod for "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Sperling says. But many women were snubbed, including Kirsten Dunst for "Melancholia."
In the best actor category, Sharkey says, "apparently taking all your clothes off will not work because Michael Fassbender -- completely shut out," Sharkey says. "I think it's frankly a shame."
The race will culminate Feb. 26 when the Oscars are handed out at the Kodak Theatre.