A Look at the Oscar Nominations

by Melissa Silverstein
January 25, 2011 7:13 AM
7 Comments
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I held my breath this morning as the best picture nominations were read. It wasn't until I heard the 10th, the one that named Winter's Bone as a nominee that I was finally able to exhale.

If I was that excited and nervous I can only imagine how people associated with the film feel today when they secured 4 Oscar nominations for their film. Many pundits had that film on the outside looking in but what these nominations mean - especially the one for John Hawkes - is that people not only watched Winter's Bone, but liked it too.

Both Winter's Bone and The Kids Are All Right scored 4 nominations each. Winter's Bone broke ground because it was such a small film, not widely distributed that was loved by everyone who saw it. It has great word of mouth. It also proves again the grit and moxie of women directors. Kathryn Bigelow proved her grit in the desert, and Granik proved her grit in the Ozarks.

The Kids Are All Right's story is even more exciting because here is a film that takes a story that is pretty radical (one of a gay family) and makes it seem like the most normal story in the world. That's the beauty and the intelligence behind this script. Every advocate of gay marriage in this country should be planting a big wet kiss on Lisa Cholodenko's cheeks because she has pushed the movement forward in a big way.

More thoughts:

Best Picture - Two films directed by women are nominated for best picture. Winter's Bone directed by Debra Granik and The Kids Are All Right directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Two other films -- Black Swan and True Grit -- are about women/girls. I also want to note that only one film -- Toy Story 3 -- had a single producer and that was Darla K. Anderson. Every other film has multiple people on the producing credit line.

Best Director - We pretty much knew that a woman did not have a chance to get a best directing nomination this year, but I can't help but wonder at why everyone is freaking out that Christopher Nolan didn't get nominated. There are four other movies including two directed by women mentioned earlier where the directors were left out. That's going to happen every time there are ten best film nominations. Maybe Nolan deserved a nod but my perspective is that Granik and Cholodenko's work is just as good. Maybe they didn't have 100 million dollars but that doesn't mean that their work should have any less value.

Writing Categories - Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini were nominated in the adapted screenplay category and Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg were nominated in the original screenplay category.

Best Doc- Lucy Walker made it to the final five with Wasteland.

Best Doc short- at least four of the five nominees have a female associated with it.
“Poster Girl”, A Portrayal Films Production, Nominees to be determined - (Sara Nesson directed this film)
“Strangers No More”, A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up”, A Sun Come Up Production, Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang”, A Thomas Lennon Films Production, Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Best Foreign Film - Susanne Bier is the only female nominee for In a Better World.

Other things to note:
• The costume design category is all women and that is the category where The Tempest got its nomination.
• One woman - Pamela Martin got a nomination for editing The Fighter.
• No women were nominated for original score.
• Four out of five nominees in art direction include women.
• No women were nominated in cinematography (and a woman has never been nominated in this category)
• Only one woman is nominated in the short live action or animated category
• One woman - Gwendolyn Yates Whittle - is nominated in sound effects editing for Tron: The Legacy.
• One woman - Lora Hirschberg - is nominated for sound mixing for Inception.
• No women were nominated for visual effects.

Full list of nominations


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7 Comments

  • Allison | January 27, 2011 1:53 AMReply

    Here is an interesting article about how black actors were shut out this year. The article also mentions black actresses like Viola Davis, Kimberly Elise, & Halle Berry:

    http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/01/26/black-oscar-nominees-2011/?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl2|sec1_lnk3|197500

  • James | January 26, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    The Kathryn Bigelow Effect is a farce media construct used to bolster the narrative of Bigelow's win by adding a feminist angle to it without addressing the greater problems at hand:

    http://thecanonball.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/should-women-even-care-about-the-best-director-oscar/

  • Kathleen | January 26, 2011 2:05 AMReply

    "I know it is a disappointment that Cholodenko and Granik weren’t nominees but it is nice to see that everyone is not condemning the other nominees and screaming about how blatantly sexist the academy is. (Like some other feminists would probably do.) "

    Feminists have gotten too "nice" in the past few years and it hasn't gotten us anywhere. The academy, like all other institutions, is still subconsciously sexist and it's not going to change unless we keep challenging it.

  • Catherine Campbell | January 26, 2011 12:14 AMReply

    So happy about Winter's Bone, such a fine film and with a social message of how the new jobless American sinks into the hoplessness of drug making and taking. An excellent cultural film. I was stunned by Jennifer Laurence's performnce, and Granick's direction and script.

    Your new column is terrific , congrats. Love your dedication.

  • Anonymous | January 25, 2011 11:25 AMReply

    I must say I am pleased with this post's attitude. As well as the one concerning the DGA nominations. I know it is a disappointment that Cholodenko and Granik weren't nominees but it is nice to see that everyone is not condemning the other nominees and screaming about how blatantly sexist the academy is. (Like some other feminists would probably do.) The academy has its issues and biases, but I don't know which situations are necessarily sexist. They love big name stars and biopics and other certain politics. There were a lot of good directors this year, unfortunately only five of them (well, actually six) can be nominated. I am just pleased that people are taking joy in the fact that women didn't do that bad this year. And hey, Cholodenko will probably win originally screenplay.

    As for the reaction to Nolan's snub, I think that people are still just displeased that he's never gotten a directing nod before. A lot of people were rooting for the Dark Knight, and even Memento. But what is even more evil is the failure to nominate Inception for film editing.

  • Jane | January 25, 2011 10:09 AMReply

    I'm so thrilled that "Winter's Bone" was nominated for Best Picture! It was a wonderful film. Women did ok this year, not bad at all...Thank you Kathryn Bigelow!

  • AV | January 25, 2011 8:18 AMReply

    winter's bone was a directorial feat
    at least it's in best feature
    sundance is definitely a pathway for women

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