Nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and while many nominees were not surprises (at this point in the awards season), we at The Cafe Phenomenon believe a few noteworthy films and performances should have been recognized instead of a few less notable ones. A full list of the nominations can be found here

The Year of the Gos
Named the coolest person of the year by Joel Stein in Time, starring in three of the best films of 2011 and nominated for two Golden Globes, one man who will be missing from this year’s Oscar celebration is Ryan Gosling. The 31-year-old actor did not join fellow Canadians Christopher Plummer and Philippe Falardeau on the nominations list, who were nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Beginners) and Best Foreign Language Film (Monsieur Lazhar) respectively. In my opinion, part of the reason for this snub is due to his success and popularity last year. Yes, he was in three great films in 2011, but they were also produced and/or distributed by three different companies. This means each of those companies was competing to get Ryan Gosling nominated for their own film and getting that coveted golden man on the cover of the film’s DVD artwork. In other words, Ryan Gosling was competing against Ryan Gosling for a nomination. Still, if one of his performances deserves a Best Actor nod, it would have been his Driver in Drive, also one of the coolest and most original movies of the year. – Chris Hanna

Best Picture
War Horse? Really? Is Steven Spielberg’s weep-fest about a horse this year’s Avatar? Does the Academy really think it’s a better film than, say, Drive? Drive had everything a movie should have: great cast, snappy writing, a love story, mob involvement, electrifying soundtrack and absolutely gorgeous cinematography.  It was the best, most original, film I saw all year, and Ryan Gosling’s best performance of all three excellent movies he starred in.  So in “Radina’s dream Oscars” Drive bumps out War Horse, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is replaced by David Cronenberg’s disturbingly thrilling A Dangerous Method. Two perfect contenders for the Best Picture Award which were snubbed and replaced by two weepers. – Radina Papukchieva

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Michael Fassbender in Shame. Period. I knew the Academy was too faint-hearted for that one, but a small part of me had hope. Fassbender delivered a performance that was as physical as it was emotional, and most of all, it was brave. Like Gosling, he owned 2011, appearing in a variety of roles that showcased his capability to transform into any character handed his way –  Magneto, smoldering Mr. Rochester, father of analytical psychology Carl Jung, and sex addict Brandon Sullivan. Talk about acting flair. – Radina Papukchieva

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
As much as I enjoyed Bridesmaids and can appreciate the fact that it became an instant classic, as well as it showed a new direction for the chick flick, I don’t think women pooping in a sink qualifies as an Oscar kind of comedy. I don’t understand why Keira Knightley was left out of this category.  Her role as the hysterical jaw-clenching Sabina Spielrein in A Dangerous Method was awe-inspiring and extremely disturbing, all the more reason why it’s the best female performance in a supporting role this year. It is also Knightley’s best yet. But 2012 holds a lot of promise for her as she takes on the role of Anna Karenina, based on the Tolstoy novel and directed by Joe Wright, with whom she worked on Atonement and Pride and Prejudice. – Radina Papukchieva

Song and dance for Original Song
The Academy has a lot of rules, but none are more complicated than the hoops an original song has to jump through to get a nod. This year, only two made it to the final nominations round, “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets and “Real in Rio” from Rio. In 1944, 14 songs were nominated. The following year, the Academy instated a rule in which a maximum of five songs could be nominated in the Best Original Song category. Each member of the Academy’s music branch listens to all eligible songs. This year, there were 39 contenders before the final two songs were chosen. So why were there only two nominees in the category this year?
The Academy limits each film to a maximum of two nominations in the category*, but that wasn’t the issue this year. No film was nominated twice for Original Song.
Academy members give every song in contention a rating ranging from 6 to 10 at 0.5 increments. Only songs receiving a score of 8.5 or higher can be nominated. If no song receives at least an 8.5, no award is given in the Original Song category. This year, only one song received at least an 8.5, which meant that song would go up against the highest scoring song from the rest of the pool. My pick for the win is Bret McKenzie’s “Man or Muppet.”
Give both a listen and let us know what you think. – Chris Hanna
*The decision came after Dreamgirls and Enchanted were nominated three times in the Best Original Song category and lost to other songs (Melissa Ethridge’s “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth and “Falling Slowly” from Once, respectively.)
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About The Cafe Phenomenon

"The Cafe Phenomenon" refers to a situation, specifically in a cafe, where you are sitting with a friend and engaging in conversation with them, but you suddenly find yourself unable to listen because the background noise of the cafe distracts you from what they are saying (the background noise could be any thing: the gossip at the next table for example). It happens that, from time to time, in certain contexts the background noise is stronger and more defined than our personal and private one on one conversations. Our blog, made up of a group of friends from Concordia's journalism program, can serve as the background noise penetrating the intimate discussions of our virtual cafe dwellers (hopefully adding insight, relevant coverage, and interesting ideas). Or it can be the friend with whom you are deep in conversation. This, our dear readers, we leave to you.

2 responses »

  1. Tamara says:

    It’s as if I wrote this! I too think that Drive (and therefore Ryan Gosling) have been overlooked, but I am shocked that Michael Fassbender didn’t get the Oscar nod for Shame. Are you kidding me?! Spielberg could make a movie about a turd that talks and it would still get nominated. RIDICULOUS! It’s so refreshing to have a group of people agree with me about these things.

  2. […] can read more about my confusion re: the best song category here, but ‘Man or Muppet’ has this in the bag. The Muppets was one of the most fun films of […]

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