And now the really serious campaigning starts! The Oscar nominations are out and, for those on the short list, the pressure setting is on full from now until 22 February.
This year’s announcement contained the customary mix of the usual suspects and wet fish in the face – plus a cluster of rather interesting stats. For example, Meryl Streep’s appearance in the Best Supporting Actress category for Into The Woods is her 19th nomination, including her three wins, which makes her the record holder. Britain’s master of the camera, Roger Deakins, received his 12th nomination, this time for Unbroken. It’s about the taking part, not the winning. He’s yet to get his hands on a trophy and, as he’s up against Ida and Mr Turner in the Cinematography category, his chances this year are, at best, evens. And if Robert Duvall wins Best Supporting Actor for The Judge – which I think is unlikely – he’ll be the oldest recipient of an Oscar for acting at the age of 84. Christopher Plummer was a mere 82 when he won for Beginners.
Away from the trivia stats, Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel tops the list with nine nominations, but this time it’s tied with Birdman. The Imitation Game received eight, Boyhood six and Whiplash, Intersteller, Foxcatcher and The Theory Of Everything all on five each.
British acting talent was very much to the fore. Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game goes head to head with The Theory of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne in the Best Actor category. Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl is up against Felicity Jones, again in The Theory of Everything, for Best Actress. And Keira Knightley has a nod for The Imitation Game as Best Supporting Actress. And Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner was recognised in four categories, including a nod for Dick Pope (Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, please note the pronunciation!) in Cinematography.
There were, of course, the inevitable surprises. Marion Cotillard’s performance in Two Days, One Night found its way onto the Best Actress list, probably at the expense of Jennifer Aniston in Cake. Yet the French drama didn’t make the cut for Best Foreign Language Film. But Nightcrawler lost out big time, with neither Jake Gyllenhaal or Renee Russo in contention. In fact, the film only scored an Original Screenplay nomination. Selma’s showing was nearly as disappointing. True, it’s on the shortlist for Best Picture, but there’s nothing for its much-praised leading man, David Oyelowo, or its director Ava DuVernay. In fact, the nominations list overall has a decidedly pale hue. And, despite its popular and critical acclaim, The Lego Movie is noticeable by its absence in the Animated Feature category.
Steve Carell’s performance in Foxcatcher was recognised – and in the Best Actor category this time – but the film doesn’t feature on the Best Picture list, even though Bennett Miller is up for Best Director. Yet the Best Picture can have a total of ten nominations …….
Probably the happiest nominee is composer Alexandre Desplat, who doubled his chances of a little gold man by netting two nominations for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game.
Check out The Coops Review next month when I’ll be predicting who’s going to walk away with the trophies and covering the awards ceremony on Sunday, 22 February.