It seems like the immediate reaction to Oscar nominations is always to talk about who got snubbed or how it is ridiculous that X movie got in even though you hated it or it didn’t win any precursors or how it is inconceivable that Y movie you loved was completely ignored by the Academy.  But let’s stay positive and look at some of the good things from the announcement.

John:

With Nick Nolte’s Supporting Actor nod maybe more people will seek out Warrior, which is AWESOME. I can’t even claim to be head over heels for Nolte as Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy wowed me more. But I don’t mind at all as long as it got some recognition. Even though it doesn’t stray far from the usual sports film formula it is still thrilling and it’s pretty much the film I recommend to almost everyone. That it bombed at the box office was a tragedy and I love it has a second chance.

On a much less magnanimous note, I do find the love for War Horse, The Tree of Life, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close exciting because I know how much the other Grouches will hate all these movies. Suffer, bitches!

Brian:

Ok, John has asked us all to be positive about these Oscar nominations, which goes against everything this blog believes in. I mean, look at the damn URL above. It’s the golden GROUCHES. Not the Golden Elmos or Golden Bert and Ernies (though I am totally Ernie). Grouches. But now that I’ve grouched about being positive — some high notes:

  • Jared has to go see Tree of Life now. Hahahaha, sucker. (not positive enough?)
  • I don’t have to see J. Edgar (still? FINE!)
  • Pleasantly surprised that Rooney Mara got recognized for her turn as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I’m surprised that the Fincher film didn’t get more traction — perhaps it was just too gritty or redundant for the academy, but writing as someone who never read the books, I was entranced by Mara’s character.
  • I AM A VERY MANLY MUPPET! Even though just two songs were nominated — which I have to think was just the Academy’s contribution to keeping the telecast shorter — I think the voters chose wisely in picking their song from The Muppet Movie
  • Hugo, my favorite movie of the year, garnered the most nominations. You’d think I’d be over the moon about this, but…
  • 2011 was a crappy year at the movies. (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

Jared:

Watching the nominations was so much fun.  Granted, I’m an Oscar nerd.  But nearly every category had at least one surprise.  I think my gchat conversation with Brian during the broadcast was basically just “wow” repeated over and over.  And the same goes for all the other categories not announced.  I can’t fathom how anyone could call the nominations predictable.  I mean, yes, in the sense that it wasn’t like Fast Five got any surprise nominations.  But check out the predictions of any and all Oscar experts.  Fewer than 1% called nine films for Best Picture.  I can’t imagine anyone called Bichir and Oldman except if they were trying to be ornery.  The Animated category features two films no one has ever heard of, much less considered.  I’m confident no one in the world called Original Song correctly.  The point is, after months of speculation and precursors, it was fantastic to have all sorts of surprises breathe new life into this thing.

I’m not going to suggest the Academy recognized the full gamut of movies and performances.  But it is neat to see a nearly unknown Demian Bichir get in playing an illegal immigrant in a movie released earlier in the year that was the first screener delivered to voters, while the soon to be 83 year old Max von Sydow surprises with a silent role in a film that just went wide last week.  It is hard to say Oscar doesn’t like comedy when Bridesmaids gets a writing and acting nomination, and there’s so much love for Midnight in Paris.  Reel Steel can say it is Oscar-nominated, getting a nod in the spot where many thought Tree of Life would be honored.  A movie about MMA (Warrior) received an acting nomination, while a foreign film received a screenplay nomination.  Again, not suggesting Oscar is completely representative of cinema, but there’s a lot more here than you might expect at first.

Finally, I’m really excited to talk Oscar over the next month and during the liveblog.  The four of us disagree over quite a few movies this year and it is going to be great fun having arguments over any number of films, scripts, and performances.  Case in point: “Man or Muppet” is at most the third-best original song in the movie, so I’ll get to rag on Brian’s taste in music.  And I’m going into, say, Tree of Life with an open mind (Even if Netflix’s rating prediction for me was: “Seriously, do not get this movie.”).  Even if I loathe it, that just means I’ll get to have a good time making fun of Oscar voters.  So the nominations has really made me look forward to these next few weeks.

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