The 85th Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad and the WTF


It’s a big morning in Hollywood… and it’s a life-changing moment for some filmmakers and actors alike. Take Bradley Cooper, he’s now going to have ‘Oscar nominee’ before his name is spoken in his movie trailers. Being nominated for the same film as Robert DeNiro’s got to be extra sweet!

Now, as I did last year, now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s time to scrutinize analyze it to death, ahah. Before I get to that, I’m glad to report that my Oscar predictions is not too far off. I predicted 10 noms, but there are only nine and I didn’t have Amour on my list. I also predicted Moonrise Kingdom and The Master would make the list.


  1. Amour
  2. Argo
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  4. Django Unchained
  5. Lincoln
  6. Les Miserables
  7. Life of Pi
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. Zero Dark Thirty

Anyway, you can see the full nominations here. Below’s my thoughts on most of the major nominations:

The Good

  • Nice to see David O. Russell got a nod for Silver Linings Playbook, his first film after The Fighter, which he also got directing nomination. It’s one of my favorite 2012 films and I do think it deserves the kudos. He captures the bizarre family dynamics brilliantly, and the film is both entertaining and deeply moving at the same time.
  • While we’re on the subject, I think it’s cool that Silver Linings Playbook get four-for-four noms.
    That is nominations in all FOUR acting categories: Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Robert DeNiro), and Best Supporting Actress (Jackie Weaver). It’s perhaps the first time in Oscar history that three actors portraying members of one family all got nominated!
  • I’ve always been a fan of Jessica Chastain, so even though I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet (will do VERY soon), I’ll go out of a limb to say that the nom was well-deserved.
  • Hunt_TheSessionsWoo hoo! Helen Hunt for Best Supporting Actress in The Sessions. She was tremendously brave in that role, I can’t say I’m too surprised to see her here. It wasn’t that she was brave to be fully nude, but it’s the emotional part of her role that I found really affecting. That scene on her last day of the session when she cried in her car, that was heartbreaking.
  • I think this is the first time I actually agree with pretty much ALL of the Best Actor nominations (and no overrated actor this time, yay!), even though I’ve only seen one of the performances. I just think all five of those talented actors have either been overlooked previously and based on what I’ve been reading, have amazing dedication to their roles (especially Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln).
  • YES for Brave in the Best Animated Feature category! You know I adore that movie!
  • YES for Mr. Roger Deakins for Skyfall!
    That’s the best looking movie I’ve seen in a long time, surely! I do hope he takes home the Oscar this time, I mean he’s the Susan Lucci of cinematographers, being nominated 9 times previously but never won once!
  • YES for The Hobbit for the Best Makeup and Visual Effects nods, very well-deserved I’d say. I’d love to see Richard Armitage and his band of dwarves make an appearance at the ceremony 😀

The Bad

  • As much as I like Joaquin Phoenix and that I think it’s good that the Academy voters disregard how he feels about award season, I’m still bummed that John Hawkes didn’t get an Oscar nod. I mean it was a tremendous performance to act just with your face alone!
    In case you didn’t know about Phoenix, he called Oscar campaigning utter and total bullsh*t in last year’s Interview Magazine, saying this about Award season: “I don’t want to be part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. I don’t want this carrot.” (per THR)
  • I guess there’s really room for TWO supporting actors in one film is there? I was really rooting for John Goodman to get a nod for ARGO, I think he was as excellent and memorable as Alan Arkin. He does it so effortlessly. I think he should’ve gotten a best supporting actor nod for The Artist as well.
  • None of my three favorite British Dames got nominated. I was hoping that Maggie Smith might get a nod for either Quartet or The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Judi Dench for Marigold Hotel or Skyfall, and Helen Mirren for Hitchcock. The last one especially bummed me out, Mirren was truly the best thing about Hitchcock.


Time for the most-uttered four-letter-word-during-award-season to make an appearance once again. Snub this, snub that… so who gets the dishonor this year? Well look no further than the Directing category… which brings me to the burning question I’ve always had during award season… perhaps one of you could enlighten me??

How could a movie get a Best Picture nomination but its director is NOT??
I mean, wasn’t the director the one who called the shots to make the film work the way it did?

  • Both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow are both snubbed for ARGO and Zero Dark Thirty respectively.
    I think a lot of people are very surprised since both are nominated by Directors Guild Awards! According to THR, the DGA has historically been the single best predictor of the nominees for and winners of the best director Oscar — and the best picture Oscar. It’s curious that both are political thrillers, and has their shares of controversies. Heh, I’m really rooting for ARGO for the win this year 😦
  • WOW, not a single nomination for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises?? I’m not expecting it to nab a Best Picture nod (not that it deserved it), but at the very least in the Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography for Wally Pfister, or Hanz Zimmer for Best Score?
  • The Intouchables absent from the Best Foreign Language category. WOW, all of the reviews I’ve read so far suggests that this is a shoo-in in this category. The story sounds really heartwarming and uplifting, plus since Amour has made it to the Best Picture category, shouldn’t this film replace that one in the Foreign Language category?? [scratch head]

Some 2013 Oscar Trivia:

This seems to be the nomination of ALL ages, from 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (good luck to those who have to present the Best Actress category on pronouncing THAT!) for Beast of the Southern Wild to 85-year-old Amour‘s lead actress Emmanuelle Riva.

Thomas Newman earns his 11th nomination with his score for the James Bond film Skyfall. The Newman family — Alfred, Lionel, Emil, Thomas, David and Randy — now have 87 nominations altogether.

Michael Kahn is the most nominated film editor; he receives his eighth nomination this year for Lincoln.

Similarly, Roman Coppola, who was nominated with Wes Anderson for their original screenplay for Moonrise Kingdom, is the sixth member of the Coppola clan to receive a nomination — he joins Carmine Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, Talia Shire, Nicolas Cage and Sofia Coppola — bringing the family total to 24 nominations.

[Source: LA Times]

Well, that’s my reaction to the 2013 nominations. What are your Oscar delights and gripes?

80 thoughts on “The 85th Oscar Nominations: The Good, the Bad and the WTF

  1. Yes, shocking that ‘The Intouchables’ was snubbed for Best Foreign Language. Seriously? Of course I haven’t seen any of the other nominated films but if they’re better – than I better go check them out pronto.

    1. I haven’t even seen it and I noticed that right away as I expected it to be there. Seems like it’s so beloved by critics and moviegoers alike.

  2. bdgill12

    Pretty much had the same reactions across the board. Also, the fact that Lincoln didn’t get a nod for Makeup and Hair is unfathomable to me. Right up there with Affleck and Bigelow (and Tarantino) getting rejected.

    1. Hmmm, Lincoln got so many awards but not one for makeup?? I just assumed it was included, that is quite mind-boggling! So which nomination you think should be swapped out for Best Makeup nod?

      1. bdgill12

        I didn’t see Hitchcock so that would be the easiest to replace for me. But even Les Mis should take a backseat to Lincoln IMO, not that the hair and makeup was bad in Les Mis but not nearly as impressive as Lincoln.

    1. I know, right? How is his performance lesser than Hunt’s?? Having seen both films, for sure Hawkes was so much more compelling than Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook!

  3. I think I’m gonna pee myself when my beloved Jean will attempt to say Wallis’s first name. I’m gonna record it and rewatch it 100 times.

    I CANNOT believe TDKR got nothing. This is just ridiculous.

    1. Oh right, it’ll be Jean to present Best Actress! Well I think he’d do fine then, it’s a French name so it’s perfect!! I know Americans would totally butcher the pronunciation, ahah.

      Does the Academy have something against Nolan or something? Ridiculous is right!

  4. Great analysis Ruth!

    I may be able to help with your “burning question” about best picture and best director. One of the things that isn’t known by a lot of people is that the best director nominations are chosen by the Director’s Branch, while the best picture nominations are chosen by the entire academy. So in a sense it is two completely different voting bodies at the nomination stage, one that is fairly small (about 370 member), and a second that is fairly large (close to 6,000).

    Still, they usually match up pretty well — and for the record, this year all 5 of the Directors also got their films nominated for best picture! But I suspect what really happened this year is that people just assumed that Bigelow & Affleck would get in, and voted strategically to try to get the others one of the remaining five spots. Only it worked too well and the front-runners got outvoted! (I suspect something similar might have happened with The Intouchables, by the way).

    1. Hello David! Thanks so much for enlightening me about that. I know as Fogs pointed out that it should be expected that some directors of the Best Picture list won’t get nominated. Having two different voting bodies certainly explains it, though you’d think that a movie is good largely because of the director, no?

      That’s interesting that the voters ‘assumed’ Bigelow and Affleck have already been a shoo-in, that is entirely possible but man, what a bummer! Affleck especially, he’s done such a tremendous job with all his three films, I was hoping this’d be his year!

      1. nevertooearlymp

        Yeah, I was totally expecting to see both of their names this morning! Really happy for Zeitlin & Haneke though!

        1. Yes I’m well aware of that but I’m just pointing out that more often than not, a film garner BEST Picture nom because it was well-directed. I mean it could have the greatest script but if the direction is lousy the film might still not be good. I think the number of Best Director noms should correspond with those of Best Picture.

          1. So why is it that there are nine films up for best picture and only 5 for every other category? I don’t think it has to do with the size of the eligible to nominate bodies – I think it is television talking. For example if we had to deal with 10 actors x 4, 10 directors, 10 Best films, 10 Art direction Set Design , Costumes, make up etc – the show would begin on Sunday night and end with Monday morning breakfast. They don’t want that, heaven forbid the show runs long…

            1. Ahah, interesting theory. I’m ok with just 5 of every other categories, just the Best Picture and Best Director that should correspond. Ah maybe I’m just overthinking it, there’s always gonna be snubs no matter how many categories there are anyway.

            2. nevertooearlymp

              Yeah, the larger Best Picture race is all about the tv audience, and doing their best to make sure that something the public has seen will be in the running. It is a calculated gamble. Film lovers like us may know who ten directors or ten costume designers are, but the general public just isn’t drawn to them in quite the same way.

              And in a strange way, this year’s best director race shows why the expanded field of best picture nominees is important. If best picture matched up perfectly with best director this year, then we can’t ignore the possibility that you might have Lincoln, Pi, SLP, Beasts and Amour, with no best picture nod for Django, Les Mis, Argo or ZDT — all 4 of which are fan favorites that help pull in the ratings! We’re all assuming that it was the directors that were “off” from the rest of the Academy, but we have to keep in mind the possibility that a smaller best picture field MIGHT have come up with the same results. I’m not saying that it for sure was this way, but stranger things have been known to happen.

  5. “Looper” needed a nomination for Best Score. Composer Nathan Johnson used natural on-location sounds as musical instruments. It was simply brilliant and innovative, and no one in Hollywood even noticed because it was a little science fiction film. Check out this YouTube video (part 1) that shows Johnson talking about how he made the music:

  6. The best thing from this morning announcement is the three actors from The Master got nominated and I truly think they deserve it.

    I agree the most surprising thing in a bad way is the omission of Affleck and especially Bigelow. I mean she really directed the hell out of that movie.

    The most surprising thing in a good way is Jacki Weaver in SLP. She had no precursor awards during this season and she got in.

    Other than that I feel bad for both Marion Cotillard and Leonardo DiCaprio who nailed their roles and still got passed over.

    1. Haven’t seen The Master but yeah, that’s a trifecta of really good actors! I think Bigelow is one of those workaholics, which explains her dedication to her films. I’m gonna see ZDT tonight so I’ll have more idea how big of a snub this is.

      I’m glad Weaver got in, she’s really good in SLP, and quite funny, too! I think all four actors deserve the noms.

      Haven’t seen Marion’s and Leo’s performances but they do look excellent from the trailers.

  7. I do know what you’re saying, but the whole “How could a movie get a Best Picture nomination but its director is NOT??” question is kind of invalid on its face seeing as there’s (potentiallY) 10 Best Picture slots and only 5 Best Director spots…. so, just saying. Most year at least half the pictures wont see their directors nominated. 😦 I mean, that IS the case this year, all of the Best Director noms do come from nominated pictures…

    Super pissed that Skyfall didnt get a best picture nod, in spite of only 9 films being nominated. 😦

    1. Thanks for calling me invalid Fogs 😀 Thankfully David kindly enlightened me on it. Yeah at least this year all of the directors of the Best Pics categories got nods.

      Not really upset about Skyfall though, I knew it’d be a wildcard anyway. But Deakins HAS to win!

  8. impsndcnma

    Thanks so very much for linking to my page for the full list. Means a lot to me. I think this is a fantastic look at the actual story behind the story.

      1. impsndcnma

        I didn’t really have a gripe. I mean I was surprised about Bigelow and Affleck, but other than that, I’m not so sure. One of my biggest gripes might be that Amour never played in my area so I’ve not had a chance to see it yet.

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  10. Easy for me since I have not seen all of the films nominated (of course). The one thing to come out of it for me is a ticket to see Silver Linings Playbook tomorrow after work.

  11. Good stuff Ruth! Today I posted a review of a movie the Oscars missed out on and then posted a few random thoughts about the nominees myself. For me it’s the director category that has the most serious offenses!

    1. I just read your post, too funny about ‘Huntman.’ As you know I don’t care for that film. It robbed TDKR in the visual effects category!

  12. Can’t really say much about the nominations since I have some catching up to do when it comes to a lot of these films. I’m still trying to recover from the many months I was mostly focused on finishing my masters.
    In any case, I’m happy to see some familiar people come back to the ceremony after many years absent. Such is the case for Robert De Niro and Alan Arkin. I’m also glad to see a foreign film make it into the Best Picture category which doesn’t happen very often.
    I’m a bit surprised Silver Linings and Life of Pi received so many nominations. However, I don’t think they’ll win many of those.
    Also, I’m taken aback by the Ben Affleck, Tarantino and Bigelow snubs in directing. Then again, there’s only room for five.

    1. I think the idea that the noms are so early is to get people to check ’em out before the ceremony. I have a few to catch up on, too, hoping to see Life of Pi this weekend. I have a feeling SLP might not get a single acting nom, I don’t know, just a hunch.

  13. Ted S.

    I didn’t know that Phoenix totally dissed the Oscars and I totally agree with him. I just hope he won’t attend the ceremony if he did, he’d be a hypocrite.

    1. Ahah yeah, we shall see. I have a feeling he might skip it. He doesn’t strike me as being a hypocrite. He may be nuts but I think he marches to the beat of his own drums.

  14. I have VERY similar reactions, especially for Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck being snubbed for Best Director. Also, it’s nice to not see anything on here about Les Miserables. Hate to sound like a downer, but I wasn’t as impressed by it as it seems many others have been!

    1. Hi Kris, long time no ‘see’… how’ve you been girl? I think those two directors are two of the most glaring omissions this year. Like nevertooearlymp said though, it could be that the voters assumed they’d get in so they didn’t bother to vote!

      I haven’t seen Les Miz yet, but you’re not impressed eh? Did you review it yet?

      1. I know, right? Work has been insane . . . no time to blog hardly :(. Other than that, life is grand! Yeah, I can imagine it could have been one of those situations where they didn’t bother to vote because they assumed everyone else would.

        I haven’t reviewed it (I think Jenn is working on a post for it!), but I wasn’t as impressed, no. There were parts that were great and other parts where I was just like, “Man, this could have been so much better.”

        Been enjoying reading your site, girl! Hope you are doing well too 😀

  15. The Oscars were pretty surprising this year. I was really disappointed The Master didn’t get a Best Picture nomination or Best Director one but was thrilled to see Amour get some award attention. I hope it wins.

    1. Yeah, PT is another director that was absent from the list. As for Amour, I don’t know why it’s got nominated both in Best Picture and Foreign Language, you’d think that the Best Picture one would suffice?? Again, the voting system must not be working properly.

  16. Overall, I’m happy with some of the surprises the Academy gave us. The snubs that bothered me the most were Affleck’s (deserved to be there, even if the film has slipped out of my top 10) and DiCaprio’s (seriously, 2 years in a row?). Also disappointed that TDKR and Cloud Atlas didn’t get nominated.

    1. What performance did DiCaprio was robbed of last year? I can’t remember, not sure if I saw it. He looked very good in Django judging from the trailer [yeah I know probably not a good judge for it but still!] Sorry about Cloud Atlas, I thought it’d get one in Best Makeup or Visual Effects.

      1. Well, DiCaprio was very close to a nomination for J. Edgar in 2011. He was nominated by SAG, the Golden Globes, and the Critics Choice Awards, but missed at the Oscars. I think he deserved a nomination, but not over Fassbender.

  17. Great summary! Loved those bits of trivia, they’re fantastic. About some films getting nominated for BP but not for Director, the Best Picture category allows up to 10 nominees and the Director category only 5 so naturally some have to go out. Besides, some movies are considered feats of writing or acting more than directing.

    1. I’ve always loved movie trivia, so I thought it’d be fun to include 🙂 As for feats of writing and acting, well isn’t that what the acting and screenplay categories are for? I guess to me, the director is the one most responsible for how a film turns out.

  18. Personally i haven’t seen to many of the nominated films so i can’t really comment on this, but i’m wondering how many times Phoenix has to complain about getting nominated before the Academy gets the message

  19. Great write up Ruth, I too found it odd about Affleck and Bigelow, I thought they were dead certs. I thought Bigelow had a good chance of winning it! I also feel quite sorry for DiCaprio not getting a mention as I’ve heard he’s excellent in Django.
    I’m quite surprised Skyfall didn’t get a Best Picture nom. Apparently the category was expanded to have more nominations to accept bigger budget, more mainstream films as the Academy was getting some stick for not doing so, but Skyfall still doesn’t get a look in. Still, I think Deakins is very worthy of his nomination.

    1. Hi Terry! Yeah, poor DiCaprio, but he’s still young and he’s got plenty of other roles that might get him noticed. As for Skyfall, I had a feeling it’d be a wildcard pick, but I think the only consolation is if they give the statuette to Deakins!

  20. I think they got prejudiced about Ben Affleck lol… “Ben Affleck, best director?” – “it does not even sits well on your tongue”. And I am really disappointed about ‘Skyfall’, I think everyone there did a brilliant job from Sam Mendes to Dench and Bardem, I would have nominated them all!

    1. That’s just a silly judgmental thinking if that’s the case. I mean so he’s not the most talented actors, but it doesn’t mean he can’t DIRECT. I was hoping Dench would get a Supporting nom, not sure about Bardem though.

  21. Nice summary there Ruth. I don’t pay much attention to the Oscars really, but I’m so happy to see my idol De Niro get nominated again after over 20 years in the Oscar wilderness. 🙂

  22. Fogs already pointed out the 10/5 thing, so I’ll just add that sometimes a film’s quality isn’t directly attributable to the director. Sometimes a film is better than its directing, and sometimes it’s worse. Not often. But once in a while.

    I’m not too concerned about TDKR being left out… while I liked the film, I don’t feel as if it was award material in any category. Even in visual effects, it didn’t feel like it stood out to me.

    Glad they actually got “Best Original Song” out to five nominations this time.

    1. I suppose once in a while a film is good because of its writing but to me, an award-worthy film is one that is well-directed, so I still think it’s the director’s effort to bring all those talents together that makes the film work as a whole.

      1. I understand that reasoning, but I think if that were the Academy’s view, there probably wouldn’t be a separate award for director at all. As it is, “Best Picture” is usually considered to be awarded to the producer — who brings all the talent, including the director, into the film.

  23. Hi, Ruth and company:

    It looks like a very safe year for the Oscars. Nothing overly controversial or coming out of left field. I enjoyed your comment on make-up and ‘The Hobbit’ It reminds me of the 1968 Oscars for Special Effects. Where Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ easily beat out ‘Ice Station Zebra’.

    Also pleased to see ‘Brave’ make the cut.

  24. Nothing for Nolan this year. That’s a shame. I’m looking forward to Seth MacFarlane’s presentation of the event – should be amusing!

    1. I haven’t seen it yet but I knew ppl would be disappointed by Intouchible’s absent. I hope to see Life of Pi this weekend. Silver Linings is a good one to check out Andina.

  25. I really don’t think Quvenzhané Wallis was deserving of the Oscar. I absolutely loved Beasts of the Southern Wild and she was adorable in it but that wasn’t really that much of an acting performance.

  26. Hah, I like your headline for this post. You know, I can’t complain too much about the nominations this year, at least when compared to the last few. I think the biggest surprise for me was that TDKR didn’t get a single nomination. I also agree with you on The Intouchables — that seemed like a ‘gimme’ for Best Foreign Language Film. At least the Best Picture group doesn’t have any puzzling inclusions this year, though I am confused as to why they didn’t just add a tenth nomination (surely The Master or Moonrise Kingdom deserved one!).

    1. Thanks! That’s the same headline I used last year so I thought I’d recycle it 🙂 Yeah, I think the Intouchables’ absent seems glaring to me even though I haven’t seen it yet. I really thought the Best Picture noms would be 10, so in my prediction I included The Master. Might as well just make it even y’know.

  27. I’m happy with most of the nominations actually. I’ve still yet to see Django and ZDT, but I’m already a little annoyed Leo got snubbed. I like Amy Adams, but I’m pretty pissed she got a nomination, it was such a nothing performance. Obviously I’m rooting for Life of Pi.

    1. After having seen Life of Pi, I am glad it’s got so many noms. It’s really a tremendous film. I haven’t seen The Master so can’t comment on Amy. She seems to be the critics’ favorites.

  28. ilovethatfilm

    Great round-up! Shocking The Master didn’t get a best pic nom and nothing for TDKR! Reckon there’s any chance of Argo stealing best pic from Lincoln at the Oscars?

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