Oscar nominations 2012: Who was snubbed? Who surprised?
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pulled some surprises Tuesday morning in its Oscar nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards, with the 5,783 voting members highlighting specific performances while snubbing the directors behind the films, and in other cases choosing a film and ignoring its stars.
Each of the four acting categories left at least one likely contender off the list in favor of a surprise choice. Rooney Mara scored a best actress nomination for her role in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," but her director, David Fincher, was ignored, as was the film in the best picture category. Mara's inclusion meant "We Need to Talk About Kevin's" lead actress Tilda Swinton was left off the list.
In the actor category, it seems taking it all off gets you nowhere, whereas saying nothing at all makes you a shoo-in. Michael Fassbender was ignored by the academy for his role as a sex addict in Steve McQueen's "Shame," a performance many thought was a lock in the best actor category. Meanwhile, Demian Bichir was nominated for his role as an undocumented gardener living in Los Angeles in the little-seen Chris Weitz-directed drama "A Better Life," and both Jean Dujardin (best actor, "The Artist") and Max von Sydow (best supporting actor, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close") were nominated for roles where few, if any, words are spoken.
Along with the surprising addition of Von Sydow, Jonah Hill, best known for being one of Judd Apatow's gang of comedic actors, was recognized for his dramatic work playing opposite Brad Pitt in "Moneyball." Nick Nolte likewise scored a best supporting actor nomination for his performance in "Warrior" and Kenneth Branagh got one for "My Week With Marilyn" -- leaving no room for Albert Brooks and his role as the violent gangster in "Drive."
For supporting actress, Melissa McCarthy received recognition for her memorable role in "Bridesmaids," a choice that was a bit of a surprise considering the film didn't land in the best picture category. McCarthy's performance, which has sent her star quotient through the roof, pushed out Shailene Woodley, the young actress who co-starred opposite George Clooney in "The Descendants" and received a slew of positive accolades for her performance.
The biggest question going into Tuesday's nominations was how many films would be nominated for best picture. With the new rule requiring each nominee for best picture to receive 5% of the votes, many thought the field would be narrower than the nine movies that ultimately were chosen. The most surprising inclusions in the top nine were "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" and "The Tree of Life," two films that proved divisive with critics. Left off that best picture list was "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "Bridesmaids," a film with an unlikely pedigree but one that was beloved by both audiences and critics. The only comedy that landed on the list was Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris."
In the best animated film category, Pixar animation's "Cars 2" was left off the nominee list, a stunner for an outfit that has been dominant in that category in recent years.
While "War Horse" and "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" were nominated for best picture, their directors -- Steven Spielberg and Stephen Daldry, respectively -- weren't acknowledged for their individual efforts. David Fincher was also shut out of the director's race.
It may be, though, that the song category -- with just two nominations -- contains the most number of snubs. Bret McKenzie's song "Man or Muppet" will go head-to-head with Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown's "Real in Rio" from the "Rio" movie. But Madonna ("W.E."), Sinead O'Connor ("Albert Nobbs"), Mary J. Blige ("The Help") and Elton John ("Gnomeo and Juliet") were all left off the list.
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: Merrick Morton / Associated Press