Oscar Head-Scratchers and Reactions: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" Gets Best Picture Nom

Yesterday, when I decided to take a day off because of the cold/flu, nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were announced. I knew it was coming and was planning on covering it the instant it appears online, but sickness will make you forget.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The movie that pops out at me for Best Picture noms is “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” a 9/11 drama about a kid dealing with the loss of his father. Film critics didn’t think much of it. The film’s Tomatometer is 47%. There are lots of other deserving movies that the Academy could have chosen for this list. Ten slots are available for this category, but this year the Academy decided that they would only nominate a deserving film and if the total doesn’t add up to 10, then so be it. And then they go and nominate a mediocre film. It does have two Oscar-winning actors: Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Maybe that helped, but what a Golden Globes move.

Good to see “A Separation” in the Foreign Film category. As long as it’s there, I have no qualms with the list.

Let’s move on to the Animation category. I haven’t heard of “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico & Rita,” but am glad they’re there. In terms story and type of animation, this list has more variety than the Golden Globes's. It’s not just 3D features. The trailers for both look great too. I like the look and feel of both, especially “A Cat in Paris” which looks like a children’s book coming to life. I kinda hope one of them would win just so more 2D features would get made in the future. Reviews, although kinda sparse, have been great for both films.

"A Cat in Paris:"

"Chico & Rita:"

I wrote about films in 2011 that scored a perfect 100% on the Tomatometer last week. Seven of them were documentaries. One of them received a nomination for Best Documentary: “Hell and Back Again,” which is about an Afghan soldier who returns home after being seriously injured in the war.

I’m surprised to see Gary Oldman get nominated for the spy-thriller “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” which is also Cerfied Fresh by Rotten Tomatoes. Good to see it getting a couple other nods too. It was nowhere to be found in the Golden Globes.

Why is Meryl Streep nominated again for Best Actress for “The Iron Lady.” She might be deserving, but the film is not. If her performance by itself isn’t enough to elevate the film to better reviews, then I don’t think she deserves the nomination.

Melissa McCarthy got the Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Bridesmaids.” Nice. Hey, if they can give Streep a nomination, they can certainly give McCarthy one from a much better movie. She was hilarious in her role.

The second biggest surprise to me is Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” getting 11 nominations, even though most of it’s in technical categories. I didn’t see it much in other awards list and was surprised that Scorsese won Best Director in the Golden Globes. With 94% on the Tomatometer after nearly 200 reviews, it is one of the best-reviewed films of the year. For 2011 wide releases, it ranked #5 on Rotten Tomatoes.

As for the number one film on that list “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II,” it got just a few technical nominations. You’d think they’ll at least nominate it for Best Picture just to award it for being a consistently good series. There are eight of them, and each has scored in the 80’s and 90’s on the Tomatometer. I guess the Academy just doesn’t have the same love for it as Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

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