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'Hugo' scores big with 11 Oscar nominations

Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 7:49 AM Central
Last updated Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM Central

by John Couture

When the 84th Academy Awards nominations were announced this morning we knew that there were going to be some snubs and surprises, but we just didn't realize how "huge-o" the surprises were going to be.

I would wager that the biggest surprise came in the form of Hugo's 11 nominations that bested Golden Globes darling The Artist's 10 nominations and sets up a wide open race in which there are very few Oscar locks. It should be noted that the film with the most nominations usually wins the Best Picture Oscar about 70% of the time, but I would be shocked if Hugo took home the night's top prize.

Every year there is a list of snubs and more often than not the list amounts to sour grapes, but this year's snub list might just turn out to be fine wine. In the Best Actor category, many people were sizing it up to be a three horse race between best bros George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Oscar fixture Leonardo DiCaprio, but Leo's horse never left the gate.

On the actress side of things, the newcomers were the ones who got the shaft. Both Elizabeth Olsen and Carey Mulligan stormed onto the scene with fierce performances, but they will both be watching the awards show from home. It seems that the Academy still has a thing against hardcore sex as Shame and Michael Fassbender's performance were both given the big snub.

Personally though, I think the biggest snub was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sure, it got five nominations, but they were mostly in the technical categories save for Rooney Mara's well-deserved nom for Best Actress. While a nomination for Best Picture could certainly be argued, I think it's borderline outrageous that David Fincher didn't get a Best Director nod or that Steven Zaillian didn't get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination.

But it wasn't all about the snubs. No, there were quite a few surprises thrown in as well, both good and bad. It was refreshing to see Melissa McCarthy and Max Von Sydow get Best Supporting nods for Bridesmaids and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close respectively.

On the flip side, I cringe at the thought of the upcoming ads for 21 Jump Street that now features Academy Award nominee Jonah Hill. I mean really?

Although the most surprising elements of the nominations may have been the bizarre moves to limit the nominations in a couple of categories. First, in the Best Picture category, the number of nominees is allowed to vary between 5 and 10. For some unknown reasons, the Academy only nominated 9 films for Best Picture. Looking at the films nominated, I think a case can certainly be made that Bridesmaids should have been the tenth film nominated.

So, does this snub represent a blatant attack against comedies and show a glaring need for their own Best Picture - Comedy category? Or am I just screwing on my tin foil hat too tight and seeing a conspiracy where one doesn't exist?

Speaking of conspiracies, if you were hoping for a round two between Madonna and Elton John after their very public spat at the Golden Globes over the results of the Best Original Song category, don't get your hopes up. In perhaps the biggest head-scratcher of them all, the Academy only announced two nominees in the Best Original Song category.

By the way, if you're looking for a certifiable lock, that's the category to go with. "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets is my lead-pipe lock of the week.

The Academy Awards isn't all doom and gloom and snubs though. The Academy did get a lot of things right and continued to do what it does best, recognize those people who deserve to be recognized. Aside from Max Von Sydow's nomination, the Academy bestowed a nomination for Best Actor on Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

He doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning (sadly), but it was a long overdue first nomination for the talented Oldman. And the Academy made sure that stalwarts like Spielberg, Scorsese and Allen were recognized with multiple nominations for all three.

One thing is certain. When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reveals their winners on February 26, there will be more surprises than in recent memory.

Will The Artist continue to be the awards circuit darling? Or will late-comer Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close spoil the party? They say timing is everything. Well, Jason Reitman says it at least. But I think that Young Adult's zero nominations proves that having the goods is a bit more important that "peaking" at the right or wrong time.

The full list of nominations:

Best Picture

Actor In A Leading Role

Actress In A Leading Role

Actor In A Supporting Role

Actress In A Supporting Role


Original Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

Animated Feature Film

Art Direction


Costume Design

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short Subject

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
  • God is the Bigger Elvis
  • Incident in New Baghdad
  • Saving Face
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Film Editing

Foreign Language Film


Music (Original Score)

Music (Original Song)

  • 'Man or Muppet' by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets
  • 'Real in Rio' by Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown, Siedah Garrett, Rio

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • La Luna
  • A Morning Stroll
  • Wild Life

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost
  • Raju
  • The Shore
  • Time Freak
  • Tuba Atlantic

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

Visual Effects

The 84th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 26. The ceremony will be telecast on ABC starting at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and 4:00 p.m. Pacific.

Source: Oscar.com