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10 Big Surprises of Nomination Morning: From Batman to Ben

Before you can ever delve deep into the nominated fields, you have do the requisite double takes to process the surprises. Herewith the most shocking turns of events this morning. If I haven't included something you found truly eyebrow-raising and faith-shaking ('how can I ever turst the pundits again?!') make sure to share it in the comments. 



10 The Supporting Actor List is All Previous Winners
In the entire history of the Oscars, I can't recall any acting category having been composed entirely of men or women who already had Oscars. At least one newbie always manages to join the celebrated. Other than that it's not a surprising list really given that all five of the men had precursor support (typical) and two are leads masquerading as supporting (typical) and all are veterans (typical). This is the kindest category to acting veterans and the most impervious to actual excitement. Year in and year out, it's the dullest major Oscar category even when the field to choose from is brimming with electricity. And to think we could have had a rising star playing an android, a rising star singing and crying his heart out, a rising star shaking what his mama gave him while stoned in Mexico, an A list reaching a career peak with nothing but a G string and a great great performance, and a baker turned actor among the dozens of possibly more thrilling choices.

The Legend Ends... and so do Batman Oscar Dreams09 The Dark Knight Rises with Zero Nominations
It's a beautiful symmetry. Batman f***ed Oscar over by sending them into a tizzy of low-confidence voting rule changes after the infamous 2008 snub (presumably to include more populist choices in Best Picture) and now Oscar has f***ed Batman over by ignoring The Dark Knight Rises altogether -- this despite the series being very popular with voters since long before Chris Nolan took over.  

Eight more increasingly startling morning alarms after the jump.

08 The Pirates! A Band of Misfits in Animated Feature
Many pundits assumed that this was a locked up studio quintet of Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians and that if anything could squeeze one of them out, it'd be a foreign film like The Painting. But nope. It was Aardman's mild comic adventure about a useless pirate captain and his prized dodo bird that most armchair pundits had totally forgotten about.

07 Lincoln snubbed for makeup and hair
I can't wrap my head around this one. It had everything: old age makeup, prosthetics, wigs galore... and it all looked realistic and of a piece. What went wrong?

06 Benh Zeitlin in for Best Director
...Not that I'm complaining! For the longest time at Oscar functions I would get blank looks if I brought up this beautiful movie so I assumed it was too outsider an option to really hope for. Zeitlin, who is only 30 years old, joins an esteemed list of 15 men nominated for their feature debut that includes powerhouse legends like Orson Welles, Sidney Lumet, and Mike Nichols and contemporary lauded filmmakers like Sam Mendes (Skyfall, who won for American Beauty). He's also now the 8th youngest director ever nominated! John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood, 1991) who was also nominated for his debut, remains the youngest. He was nominated at only 24 years of age.

05 Flight in for Best Screenplay
Sure, I had it just outside the prediction list at #6 but those top five looked set in stone and there are plenty of people who groused about Flight's lack of focus which traces back to the screenplay 

04 The Intouchables out of the Foreign Film Competition
We might have called this given that France's crowd-pleaser never really took off in the States (where the bulk of AMPAS voters are from) like it did in virtually every other country it played in. But many people thought it might be the feel good through entertainment alternative to Amour's feel brutalized by truth once it came time to vote for a Foreign Film winner. 

03 The Master only loved for its Actors
At first glance this isn't a shocker at all since one might well consider The Master's three principle roles to have plenty of scenery chewing hooks. But when you remember that SAG (made entirely of actors) snubbed both Joaquin Phoenix in lead and Amy Adams in supporting (and it was hardly a late year release they didn't have an opportunity to see) it's strange that the trend was totally reversed come Oscar time with The Master scoring ONLY in acting... and for all three of them no less!

02 Jacki Weaver nominated for Best Supporting Actress
Though Jacki Weaver had zero precursor support during the whole process of Oscar balloting she managed her second nomination in three years (her first was for Animal Kingdom for which she totally deserved the Oscar). While she's wonderful as the concerned mother, the film gives her very little to do other than try to calm her highly excitable husband and son down. To win the nomination she beat Ann Dowd in Compliance (who some were calling the Jacki Weaver of this year ironically), and Globe & SAG nominees Nicole Kidman in Paperboy and Maggie Smith in Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Weaver's nomination makes Silver Linings Playbook the first film since Warren Beatty's classic Reds (1981) to win acting nominations in all categories. How about that? This has to equal Playbook being the real threat to Lincoln's presumed "ensemble" win at SAG on the 27th.

Inarguably the biggest shock this morning. Two frontrunners weren't nominated!

01 Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow both snubbed in Best Director.
Many people thought one or both of them was in the fight for the actual win and not vulnerable at all really to the darkhorses. But neither managed a nomination which makes Directing Oscar #3 a super easy get for Steven Spielberg now.  It's hard to know what happened with Ben Affleck since so the director's branch is hardly averse to nominated actors who make that crossover. With Bigelow was it the torture controversy, her much-discussed partnership with Mark Boal. One wonders...

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Reader Comments (74)

I would add 11 nominations for Life of Pi, including the song category. Who would have predicting that, except those who loved the fil?. For weeks, people were writing off Ang Lee and the film itself. And as it has been pointed out elsewhere, Ang Lee has gotten DGA, the Globes, and BAFTA nominations, unlike any of the other four directors nominated.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabriel Oak

Hurray for the shorter voting period - it produced worthy winners, surprising nominees and less precursor reliance.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

let me try that again and correctly this time :
Hurray for the shorter voting period - it produced worthy nominees, many surprises and less precursor reliance.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

"The Intouchables... never really took off in the States." Huh? It was the highest grossing foreign film here last year.

Steve Pond had actually mentioned this possibility yesterday, saying that perhaps the NY/LA Foreign Language committees would try to keep the juggernaut out of the final list as a means of preventing massive criticism should it win.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Bigelow was totally on my list although every day I like Zero Dark Thirty a little less. It's brilliantly directed, we expected that of her, but the movie left me with too many questions about the hunt and killing.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Am I the only one thinking that Bigelow got snubbed only because she's a woman, and voters thinking how can they nominate a woman a 2nd time????

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Evan -- i guess i should haves stated that more clearly... in comparsion to the rest of the world i meant where it was HUGE. I mean it never went even Amelie big here in the states.

January 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

For me one of the big surprises was "Chasing Ice" getting a Best Song nomination. Also surprising is how happy that made me. I remember retaking my seat (which was a folding chair) to have a listen. Really gave me a grin.
P.S. I was pretty sure despite all the signs otherwise that the Academy would give a big screw you to Adele for "Skyfall". Also supper happy about her nod.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ'sDiner

This is the best and most honest Oscar nomination wrap up I have read thus far. I do appreciate the gentle nod in regards to that android actor .

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimone

Jacki Weaver and Christoph Waltz' nominations bring me back to that post you made about the most unlikely returning nominees way back then. To be honest, I never thought both of them will ever be nominated again. But wow color me surprised. Here's hoping Lowlife gives Marion Cotillard a nomination next year. Fingers crossed!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClarence

I think the whole country just went WTF about the best director category, but maybe in a very good way.

I think people would be less shocked if they were told that Affleck, Bigelow, Tarantino, Hooper, and one of the Andersons' were nominated instead.

Great year of that category!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRic

The best director field once again reallllyyyyyyy makes me wish that vote totals were published. Would love to see how much Bigelow, Affleck and Tarantino missed by. I suspect it was not by very much.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

@Nathaniel: My Christmas isn't complete until your Film Bitch Awards are complete. Please Nathaniel, finish 'em up, I'm dying LOL

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

I am really surprised and disappointed that John Hawkes didn't get nominated. I know it's kind of a cliche that if you play disabled, you get nominated, and maybe his non-nomination was a collective reaction against that cliche. But putting all that aside, his performance really moved me, and I think he deserved it. As for Jackie Weaver, I agree that the part was underwritten, but there was one moment that actually made me think in the theater, "Wow. She deserves an Oscar nomination." It was during the dance competition and she had a smile on her face and tears in her eyes, and it looked so real. It really reminded me of my mother, actually; it resonated as a moment where a mother would really feel proud about a son whom she usually worried about. That one moment kind of summed up the performance for me; she is a great actor and made the most of her underwritten role. I am glad she is nominated.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertimothy

I am so happy Benh Zeitlin got in, but equally sad Ben Affleck didn't make it. 'Argo' is such a well-directed film, and Affleck should have been a candidate for 'The Town' already.

As bad as the Supporting Actor line-up always tends to be, has it ever been this much of a letdown?

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris P.

As a fan, if not an enthusiast of "Silver Linings" I had to said two things:
One- Yeah Jacki! You gave the best performance in the film (reminded me so much of my own mom)
Two- Boo Bradley Cooper! While I won't malign his serviceable performance, he had no business preventing John Hawke's third nomination (I've decided he was in fact nominated for "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and the envelope saying so just got lost somewhere)

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZtH

Anyone think Jacki is the new Judi Dench and can Cooper take Day Lewis's expected 3rd oscar and is Amy Adams the new Glenn Close.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermark

Has there ever been another year such as this in which there were this many previous nominees in the acting categories, or am I just in a haze that precludes me from remembering? It's so peculiar. And am I the only one who thinks that Amy Adams is this generation's Thelma Ritter with respect to the supporting actress category? If she doesn't win within then next two nominations (if there are any more), my hunch is that she will be forever a bridesmaid.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

the Critics Choice Awards just turned into must-see tv. Hopefully Affleck or Bigelow wins :p

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLR

I think Amy Adams is on her way to joining the "Always the bridesmaid never the bride" club. She will lose to Hathaway this year, it will be her fourth nomination wasted. 0-4. Next time she will be 40, perhaps, then the roles will be harder to get and fewer and fewer as times passes........ I´d be worried if I were her.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I know I am going out on a limb here - a very long limb, but is it out of the realm to think that we could be looking at a Silver Linings Playbook - Actor and Actress win??? Could we have a Nicholson/Hunt "As Good As It Gets" rehash with Cooper/Lawrence "SLP"? It might not be that far fetched! Will the Academy be ready to hand over a 3rd Best Actor trophy to DDL or to anyone for that matter? SLP got LOTS of love this morning and is obviously beloved by the acting branch!!! Never say never!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I am sick, sick, SICK that Bigelow was snubbed. Blatant sexism. How else to explain how the first Oscar-winning woman director would not get a nom for her followup that has won even more acclaim than her Best Picture winner. And this is also an important film for our times. This will go down as one of the worst snubs since Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. What an ironic title.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

PS. "I Am Woman" is a good song.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Spielberg winning a third, before Lee wins his second or Russell his first? I really doubt it.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

Another big surprise is Lead Actress nominees (SLP, ZD30, Amour, BOTSW) in more Best Picture nominees than Lead Actor nominees (Linc, SLP, Les Mis) in a "weak" year for actresses

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLR

It's nonsensical to call Bigelow's not getting nominated sexism, when Affleck was also left out, and his nomination seemed equally assured. Clearly the directors branch voting was highly splintered.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

Surprise: Not only is Silver Linings Playbook the first movie since Reds to score acting nominations in all four categories, but it also could be the first film since Silence of the Lambs to win the Big Five. I mean, I liked the film, but... wow. If any film was gonna have the opportunity to do that this year, I thought it would have been Amour.

Biggest Surprise-That-Kind-Of-Wasn't-A-Surprise: Anna Karenina's 4 nominations, especially Cinematography and Score. I mean, anyone with eyes expected costumes and production design, but those other two were surprises. At least, until I remembered that the precursors also lined up with this.

That TDKR got ZERO nominations makes me unspeakably happy.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Nat: I'm not exactly surprised. Unlike The Dark Knight, TDKR didn't change things as wildly and didn't work nearly as well overall. Sloppier script writing, the series sudden massively increased distance from being plausibly publishable mainline Batman stories (which, more than simple "realism", is the biggest strength of Nolan's first two movies) and the lack of truly flashy VFX or makeup work resulted in a natural decrease of noms. However, the editing snub, at least, is a big surprise.
Everyone: So...on that ground, what's the next step for a Batman film? Here's a weird one but, I think, a good one. Batman, gadgets currently destroyed, locked in Wayne Manor having to survive an invading giant monster (Man-Bat or Killer Croc) either until he can come up with a solution or help arrives. If anyone thinks that's a good idea or not, speak up.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

TDKR is by far my biggest surprise of the morning-that it didn't score anywhere (the Sound categories, Visual Effects, Editing, Score) is just stunning, and probably not exactly accurate (Visual Effects it should have earned).

That said, Sasha's inevitable freak-out will make for good reading, so...silver lining.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeoffrey

Yes, Geoffrey, sasha´s nervous breakdown will be a lot of fun. She will probably end up on suicide watch. She will have a mental collapse that will last for at least until the end of february. Get ready for the very bitter endless rants.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I kind of understand why The Master didn't get nominated in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Original Screenplay categories, but am very surprised not to see nominations in the Original Score and Cinematography. I saw the film in 70 mm and was blown away at how amazing it looked. And I figured they'd nominate Jonny Greenwood after snubbing him last time...I'm pissed.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

So, we only have four people to pick from for guesses on who will be the first-timer to receive a second nomination this year? Jackman, Cooper, Wallis, and Riva-my guess is Cooper.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Sean, it's not nonsensical. Zero Dark Thirty has won many more Best Director prizes than Argo, so it IS sexism. Period.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Most. Surprising. Nomination. List. Ever.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdan.

I dont think it comes down to sexism. I dont think that´s what iit´s about. At least not all about it. She WON not long ago. I think it had more to do with the torture controversy. Maybe they just didnt love the movie that much. It kinda underperformed. Maybe they liked what the others did best. Ang Lee did what many considered impossible-and did it brilliantly. They nominated a thirty year old unknown (or barely known) rookie for his first film. They nominated Haneke, as controversial, bold, unconventional, "cold", complicated and european as he is, for a movie that, while marvelous, is deeply sad and profoundly depressing and very hard to watch.

Maybe they were just more impressed with what these people did than by what Bigelow did. She will be more than ok, I´m sure of that.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

The Affleck snub makes me wonder if Argo would have gotten a nomination if there were only five best picture nominees...same with Zero Dark Thirty. Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings would be a sure bet, with Beasts coming fourth I think...would that mean that Argo, Zero and Les Mis would be fighting for the fifth spot...? And as much as I love the movie, I think with the old 'big five' Les Mis would be this years Dreamgirls, the eternal frontrunner that gets halfway there with the Academy...

I also predicted Redmayne for Supporting Nathaniel, so you weren't the only one spicing things up a little. If they had gone for Les Mis big time, he would be in (like Jackie Weaver in Silver Linings, her nomination I think is more for the love of the film than for the performance itself).

Also puzzled about Marion Cotillard...she's well liked, she's a great actress, she plays the circuit like hell, yet here she got the shaft...Oh well, very happy about Naomi and Chastain eitherway...

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJavier

The supporting actor category is just wrong. Waltz, is not supporting at all. The snub of DiCaprio is just ridiculous as he was the scene stealer of the movie.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVincent

Dan-City of God getting nominated for Best Director will always make 2003 the most surprising list ever.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

The director category just proves there was a lot of passion this year and a lot of rich films. People LOVE Amour and Beasts and they were more underdogs. Voters probably made those choices a higher priority. I wouldn't blame anything. Affleck and Bigelow were probably just 100-200 votes short.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Who's Sasha???

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLevi

I understand Hawkes being left out, he's the one with probably the least amount of Academy and Hollywood friends/clout, and since everyone of the 6 gave great performances, it probably came down to that. I'm so excited about Phoenix, dark horse all the way to the win!
For not having a lot of precursor support, Beasts did smashing. I might be being unrealistic, but maybe it has a good shot at Picture, logic being that many over-voted for it to get in..

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDino

Re: Supporting Actor - "a rising star shaking what his mama gave him while stoned in Mexico..." who is this referring to?

So sad for Hawkes, somehow overlooked AGAIN, but I'm happy for Cooper. He had a really tough challenge - be threateneing and unhinged enough to justify everyone else's scared reactions to him, but be also sweet and vulnerable and appealing enough that you root for him. All this in a dramedy with a big, comedic dance sequence as the climax. Not easy, but he did it.

I was also REALLY hoping they'd finally nom Ewan McGregor. It's not surprising that he didn't make it, but after Jolie's endorsement, I was hoping for it. Plus, the voters obviously watched the film (since Watts was nominated) and yet he still didn't make the cut. Everyone else has already said it, but as much as I liked Arkin, he should not be there. Hell, even De Niro is a stretch and Waltz is category fraud.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

DJ-I believe that Nat was referring to Garrett Hedlund there, but I could be mistaken, as that film has proved highly elusive in my part of the country.

Levi-Sasha Stone, the editor of Awards Daily, who tends to be very...passionate about her particular favorite films, and some would argue may indulge in hyperbole occasionally.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Good riddance to The Intouchables.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJan

@John T - thank you!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

No one? I'd think the future of the Batman film series would incite a bit more discussion than none or are we just sick of it again and need eight years?

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Who is the baker turned actor??

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

@Steve - Dwight Henry in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Baker turned actor = Dwight Henry from BOTSW

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDino

Batman never f***ed Oscar over. The Oscars f***ed Batman over first, and then they f***ed themselves over in response. It's not The Dark Knight's fault it didn't get nominated in 2008.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterN8

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