By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 10, 2013 at 2:28PM
We're starting to come to the close of Oscar nominations day, and we don't know about you, but we're regretting our decision to give up drinking for January; it's a day full of hysteria, overreaction, and inexplicable anger, and it's pretty tiring, especially for those who have to get up at 4.30 in the morning to cover it (luckily, not ourselves).
But now the dust is settling, and we can start to look at the nominations with a slightly clearer head, and work out what it all means for the six weeks or so left of the awards season. And the good news is that what's been the most interesting Oscar time in a few years looks set to continue in the coming weeks. Below, we've picked out five things that today's nominations have taught us; you can also read our snubs and surprises piece from earlier today, and keep your eyes peeled for more Oscar coverage between now and February 24th.
Things could, of course, change over the next few weeks, but despite picking up Best Picture nominations, three of the hopefuls seemed to take a fairly major knock today. Famously, the last time a film won Best Picture without at least a nomination for Best Director was "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989, which means that, by missing out in the latter category, "Zero Dark Thirty," "Argo" and "Les Miserables" all have an uphill battle to fight. It may be that the snub energizes their supporters (some have suggested that issues with voting may have caused the films to miss out, though it's based on no real evidence), but it puts them on the outs, particularly as "Zero Dark Thirty" also missed out in other categories, though "Argo" and "Les Miserables" did well elsewhere.
In contrast, "Lincoln" has twelve nominations, showing strength across the board as many expected it would, while "Life Of Pi" exceeded expectations in a major way (including nominations for Best Song, both sound categories and Production Design), and "Silver Linings Playbook" also showed strength with an editing nomination in addition its strong share of four acting nods. In all three cases, it shows that these movies have widespread support (even if 'Pi' missed out on acting nominations, that wasn't a problem with "Slumdog Millionaire" a few years back). "Lincoln" is probably the front-runner, but it feels like a three-horse race to us at this stage for Best Picture.
Of the acting races, it definitely feels like it was Best Actress that got the biggest shake-up. Common wisdom was that Jessica Chastain was the front-runner, with Jennifer Lawrence not far behind, and that Riva and Wallis were on the bubble in terms of nomination. But with Riva now inside the final five, we think she could actually make a play for the win. Like we said, with "Zero Dark Thirty" looking weaker, Chastain may not be as far ahead as was generally thought, and while "Silver Linings Playbook" is strong across the acting categories, Lawrence is still so young that she may not be seen as having paid her dues, especially against someone like Riva. She is, of course, the oldest nominee ever in the lead actress category, and what's more, she celebrates her 86th birthday on the day of the Oscar ceremony, on February 24th. How could the Academy turn down a narrative like that, particularly with five nominations for "Amour" to encourage those who haven't yet seen the film to check it out?