Surprises & Snubs Of The 2013 Oscar Nominations: Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, 'Dark Knight Rises' & More

Awards
by Oliver Lyttelton
January 10, 2013 11:47 AM
42 Comments
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The Surprises

"Amour"

Ok, so we were super, super wrong about "Amour." Many had been tipping it for major prizes since Cannes, but given the way it failed to connect with the guilds, we didn't think it would figure in beyond the foreign language categories -- we thought it would be too close to the bone for the elderly Academy membership, and that it would struggle to get viewership from voters against higher-profile competition. Well, that was far from the case, as Michael Haneke's film picked up a Best Picture nomination, as well as nods for Haneke in Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, and a best Actress nod for Emmanuelle Riva, making her the oldest actress ever nominated in the category. It's an impressive feat, and one that we're glad we were so wrong about.

Joaquin Phoenix & co.
Some might read the performance of "The Master" as a snub; it missed out entirely in technical and writing/directing categories, with Paul Thomas Anderson failing to get even so much as a screenplay nomination. But while it's clear that the Academy weren't that taken with the film itself, they were certainly enamored of its performers in a way that the Screen Actors Guild weren't, nominating Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams alongside the SAG-approved Philip Seymour Hoffman. Given the challenging nature of the film, we'd probably count that as a triumph, even if we'd have liked the cinematography and editing to have been recognized as well.

Benh Zeitlin

Don't let its relatively minor four nominations fool you; the Academy were clearly very struck by "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and by its youthful debut director Benh Zeitlin in particular. He might have missed out on a nomination for the score he co-wrote (and given that we can't imagine that are that many Beirut fans in the Academy, we're not wildly surprised that they went for John Williams & co instead), Zeitlin managed a screenplay nomination alongside co-writer Lucy Alibar, and far more surprisingly, a directing nod over Affleck and Bigelow, a possibility that few had considered. Zeitlin was already a hot prospect, but as the eighth-youngest nominee in the category ever (younger than Jason Reitman, Spike Jonze and Steven Spielberg, older than John Singleton, Orson Welles, Kenneth Branagh and M Night Shyamalan when they got the same honor), expect him to be a force to reckoned with for a long time. Some had thought his young leading lady Quvenzhane Wallis was slipping out of the category, but happily, she made the cut, becoming the youngest ever acting nominee in the category in the process.

Jacki Weaver
We have to say, this one's a bit of a head-scratcher for us. Don't get us wrong, we're huge fans of the Australian actress, and we were doing cartwheels over her nomination for "Animal Kingdom" two years ago. But most had counted her out of the category; she's very good in the film, but it's a small role, without the big moment or speech that's usually a requirement. Still, we don't begrudge her the nomination, and David O. Russell cements his reputation as an actor's director by making "Silver Linings Playbook" the first film since (we think) "Reds" to win nominations in all four acting categories.

"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Silver Linings Playbook" For Editing

Speaking of "Silver Linings Playbook," some had started to count the film out. It hadn't yet caught fire on the box office, and with Russell missing out at the DGA, and De Niro with BAFTA and the SAG, some were wondering if the film was starting to slip. But with eight nominations in total (putting it in third place alongside "Les Miserables"), it's certainly roaring back into the hunt. Alongside the four nominations for its actors, it also took nods for Picture, Director, Screenplay and, crucially, Editing. The latter's particularly important -- few films have won Best Picture without a nomination in the category, and it's a sign that the film could still surprise in February.

The Strength Of "Life Of Pi"
"Silver Linings Playbook" wasn't the only one that performed above expectations. Most had figured that "Life Of Pi" would do well, but outside of Best Picture, Cinematography, Score and Visual Effects, it didn't necessarily have that much locked up. But to go with Ang Lee's Best Director nomination (and one for David Magee's screenplay), the film took eleven nominations in total. The crucial ones here are production design and the two sound categories: not natural fits for a film that mostly takes place on a raft in the middle of the ocean, but a sign that the Academy are really, really keen on it, and perhaps an indicator that it's in it to win it.

"The Pirates!"

Another one that no one had called. Aardman Animation haven't been nominated for Animated Feature since winning for "Wallace & Gromit," and their return to stop-motion with the wacky, underperforming "The Pirates!" wasn't expected to fit into the category. But if this year proves anything, it's that the Academy loves stop-motion (three of the five nominees were done in the format, including "Frankenweenie" and "ParaNorman") and despite not even scoring a BAFTA nomination yesterday, Peter Lord's enjoyably silly film gets an Oscar nomination here.

"Snow White & The Huntsman" in effects and costume, "Skyfall" & "Argo" in score
Not the showiest of nominations, but still somewhat surprising, were the pair for "Snow White & The Huntsman," for visual effects and costume design. Not many people liked the film much, but it's hard to disagree with the craft on show in those categories, even if most underestimated its potential with the Academy. Similarly surprising were two picks in the score category, where Thomas Newman's music for "Skyfall," and Alexandre Desplat's "Argo" soundtrack both turned up. Given that the latter seemingly scored every other film in theaters this year, we suppose he had to turn up somewhere, while Newman's nomination is, we believe, only the second for a Bond score, after Marvin Hamlisch's nod for "The Spy Who Loved Me."

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42 Comments

  • Paul K | January 14, 2013 9:57 PMReply

    I was surprised that Cloud Atlas didn't get nominated for Best Editing. I can't think of any films where the editing was a clear strength to the film since Memento.

  • Jackl | January 13, 2013 10:13 PMReply

    Heartshrine, you're a total tool!!! Go back to reading the Sunday Times and shut the hell up!!! You wanker!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Travis D. | January 12, 2013 2:56 PMReply

    I love how everyone has now come together and decided to hate all over TDKR, considering most of you haters watched it more than once in theaters. Nothing more pathetic than a bunch of wannabe film elitists trying to do the hip and fashionable thing by bashing a perfectly fine film...with all the anonymity the Internet can provide.

  • HeartShine | January 12, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    The Dark Knight Rises was rubbish. It deserves awards alright, they are called: RAZZIES.

    RAZZIES for Rises.

  • MNC | January 11, 2013 5:40 PMReply

    Most critics love to think of themselves as "rebels", this is why they supported ZDT. Zero Dark Thirty was probably snubbed because it was a. just not as good as these critics would love to think or b. because it was a morally reprehensible film. I think it was a little of both. Not that the Oscars or any awards shows matter that much.
    ZDT was blatant propaganda and jingoistic pro U.S. military revenge porn. Imagine if someone made a brilliantly made film showing pedophiles as victims of evil and seductive children, or Nazis as victims of Jewish terrorism. Would critics praise that movie, no matter how fantastic it was?
    In this case critics made choices that were dubious at best. At times, the makers and critics of the film stated as to how factual and accurate it was, how methodical and precise itś recount of a supposed factual event from real CIA contacts etc etc. And then whenever someone criticized the makers or the critics, all of a sudden "well.. y'know it was just a movie!"

    The line of domination and wanting to be dominated throughout the movie is the key here, either by a powerful government, a powerful idea, a powerful lie, a powerful man, a powerful woman, an empire or a U.S. torturer is comforting and a relief for supporters of Imperialism of any kind.

    It is security in a perceived insecure world. And this was it's ultimate propaganda model.

  • John | January 11, 2013 9:48 PM

    lol

  • Miles | January 11, 2013 4:07 PMReply

    Is no one championing THE IMPOSSIBLE? I thought that movie was amazing.

  • JD | January 11, 2013 10:02 AMReply

    Of the films I have seen that have been nominated & I have yet to see Lincoln, Zero DArk Thirty, Les Mes & Django Unchained, I'm glad that Life of Pi & Silver Linings Playbook did so well. Didnt like The Master & while I'm happy to see Philip Seymour Hoffman being nominated, I dont think Pheonix or Adams should have gotten nominated, the former being hard to understand in it with the latter coming into a scene, sprouting boring platitudes & then leaving a scene. Beasts shouldnt be nominated for anything. Terribly overrated. The young girl just screamed throughout that whole movie. The main guy in life of Pi should have been nominated for best actor. While I liked Naomi Watts in The Impossible, does anyone not agree that her role is more of a supporting role & not the main role? Tom Holland, who plays her eldest son, has the main role, was great in it & should have been nominated. Due to Silver Linings Playbook been nominated in all 4 acting categories as well as best film, director & script, I'm going to place all my bets on it walking away with everything.

  • hank | January 10, 2013 4:17 PMReply

    Seriously guys, were surprised The Dark Knight Rises got "snubbed"?

  • Jarrod | January 11, 2013 5:17 AM

    YOD says: "Batman suck, and ... umm, anyone that disagrees with me is a killer. Yeah, that'll make me sound informed."

  • Northern Star | January 10, 2013 10:47 PM

    I'm not surprised at 'TDKR' being snubbed, they snubbed 'The Dark Knight' in 2009 and that was a game-changing masterpiece of modern mainstream cinema... but by clearly and overtly snubbing Kathryn Bigelow for purely political reasons, the Academy once again shows itself an outdated and nakedly partisan body made up of out-of-touch old white liberals, last time I even take notice of the Oscars...

  • Yod | January 10, 2013 9:58 PM

    Playlist probably just put that in there to keep the death threats at bay.

  • Grego | January 10, 2013 4:55 PM

    Um....yeah, considering that as stated above Nolan films always are nominated for something. Notably, this is the first year Wally Pfister hasn't been nominated in I don't know how long, and the film featured the most groundbreaking use of IMAX camera yet, or at least the most use of it. Plus, Hans Zimmer's score, at the very least, stands out from the pack by virtue of being clangy rather than melodic. And the editing down the stretch is rather remarkable.

    Re: cinematography, it amazes me that both films that shot in 65 or 70 mm this year were shut out of that category. DKR and The Master.

  • Kyle | January 10, 2013 3:56 PMReply

    De Niro missed out on the Golden Globes, not SAG

  • Dix | January 10, 2013 3:51 PMReply

    It´s become a cliché question, but What the hell does Leonardo DiCaprio have to do to get even a nomination? Seriously. His acting is second to none, he challenges himself, shows his range, works hard, he even puts butts in their goddam seats and brings home the bacon. But, no, they had to nominate five old farts who have already won. And two of those were lead actors, not supporting. It´s fucking depressing.

  • sobeit | January 13, 2013 3:21 PM

    You are so right. DiCaprio is totally being robbed, AGAIN!

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • JD | January 11, 2013 9:56 AM

    I couldnt agree more. Beasts of the Southern Wild is an incredibly overrated movie. I nearly fell asleep so many times through out it. The little girl isnt even that good. She screams quite a lot & that is it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:33 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:31 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:28 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • Bauggs | January 10, 2013 10:17 PM

    I hadn't heard that you were disappointed, tell me more. Seriously though, I agree.

  • Sayithowitis | January 10, 2013 2:20 PMReply

    I would say the other surprises were (personal ones though as I am now fully aware about how political these award seasons can be by now): Alan Arkin - who was good in Argo but wouldn't go as far to say his performance stood out against all the other supporting actors in the film (not to mention every single supporting performance in Killing Them Softly was far more interesting and challenging); Jennifer Lawrence - she was really good in Silver Linings but don't feel the role was particularly difficult and no where near the same league as Cotillard's in Rust & Bone (I also think that the film was the most overrated film this year - it was simply just better than the average romantic comedy, but a brilliant cinematic achievement??).

  • And | January 13, 2013 11:26 AM

    And i would add to that The Master not getting nominated for cinematography? Wtf??

  • Carl | January 10, 2013 2:13 PMReply

    Affleck, Biglow, Hawks & Cotillard are some of the biggest snub I've seen in years! Cotillard really deserved it, WTF a 9 years old girl what a shame to even consider her.

  • Jim | January 10, 2013 2:10 PMReply

    I am shocked and very disappointed for Marion Cotillard! Nine, Inception, Midnight in Paris and now Rust & Bone! Unbelievable! Chastain & Lawrence became double nominees before her, THAT'S CRAZY!

  • Edward | January 10, 2013 1:52 PMReply

    Great piece, but holy crap there are a lot of crybabies out there. You'd think they woulda made the film themselves or something. It's just a (kinda shallow) awards show. Chill, children (and funny to watch some of the Oscar-bloggers who you thought might be impartial by now hyper-ventilate on Twitter).

  • cirkusfolk | January 10, 2013 12:47 PMReply

    Other than the directing category, I am pleased with these nominations. So glad Dark Knight Rises got nothing. Maybe this will make Nolan take notice, as that film was soooo lazy. Also glad Skyfall and Bardem weren't nomed as well. That filmed lacked too. I like that Deakins got his 10th nom for it but hope he doesn't win. Needs to be for a better film. Also glad Tom Hooper didn't get a nod for director as I swear he was going to become the Academy's new Stephen Daldry. Sad that Leo didn't get a nom though.

  • Jill | January 10, 2013 12:46 PMReply

    Lots of disappointed people today. Here's a great rant from a disgruntled movie mogul...

    http://mankabros.com/blogs/chairman/2013/01/10/again-the-academy-of-motion-picture-arts-and-sciences-can-f-itself/

  • Marko | January 10, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was snubbed. It seemed like it be a shoo-in what withthe Academy being filled with a bunch of out of touch old people.

  • Sean | January 10, 2013 12:09 PMReply

    another major patch of snubs: anything technical for the Master.
    Greenwood and Malaimare both deserved awards, or at least nominations.

  • Kari | January 10, 2013 2:43 PM

    I agree, Sean! The Master is not PTA's best but goddammit, Greenwood's and Malaimare's work is brilliant...

  • RJNEB2 | January 10, 2013 12:07 PMReply

    Another correction: Thomas Newman isn't the first composer to score a nod for a Bond film. Marvin Hamlisch managed the feat in 1977 for "The Spy Who Loved Me". Sadly, John Barry never did.

  • Joe | January 10, 2013 12:02 PMReply

    A couple of quick corrections, if you don't mind. Riva is not the oldest acting nominee - she's the oldest-ever nominee for Best Actress (or maybe for any lead nominee). But Gloria Stuart is still the oldest nominee overall (supporting).

    Also, I think you may have the younger than/older than list reversed regarding Zeitlin. I know he's certainly NOT younger than John Singleton, who remains the youngest person ever to be nominated for Best Director.

  • Jess | January 10, 2013 12:29 PM

    Thanks Joe, James and RJNEB2, we've corrected the text.

  • James | January 10, 2013 12:04 PM

    Also Pete Lord/The Pirates! didn't receive a BAFTA nomination... bizarrely. Seems the Yanks have better taste when it comes to animation.

  • Tania | January 10, 2013 11:51 AMReply

    Marion Cotillard deserved more the nomination than Wallis and Lawrence

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