Academy Awards Telecast February 26, 2012
by Joyce Kulhawik
And to the Academy: “You don’t like me. You really don’t like me.”
LOL! This is what Albert Brooks tweeted shortly after the “Academy” snubbed him when they announced their Oscar nominations. If I were the entire Academy, Brooks would have been a nominee in the BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR category for his creepily menacing performance in DRIVE alongside: Jonah Hill in MONEYBALL (I was thrilled this young comic actor earned a nod for his uptight Ivy League numbers cruncher.), Nick Nolte in WARRIOR, Christopher Plummer in BEGINNERS, and Max Von Sydow in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE. I would have ditched Kenneth Branagh’s saunter through MY WEEK WITH MARILYN.
In the BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS category I would have included newcomer Shailene Woodley for her deeply believable performance as George Clooney’s teenage daughter in THE DESCENDANTS. I’d have omitted Janet McTeer’s phony baloney turn in ALBERT NOBBS, and left in the rest: Berenice Bejo in THE ARTIST, the ubiquitously and consistently wonderful Jessica Chastain in THE HELP, Octavia Spencer in THE HELP, and finally – YES! – the outrageously funny Melissa McCarthy in BRIDESMAIDS!
In the BEST ACTOR category, the oversight of Michael Fassbender’s performance in SHAME is nothing short of criminal. Fassbender who spends much of the film naked, gives an emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically raw, utterly committed performance as a sex addict. And if anyone thinks that sounds titillating, see the film. The condition is absolutely corrosive. Fassbender’s performance is one of a kind, and not the kind with which the “Academy” usually likes to associate. Clooney – good as he is in THE DESCENDANTS – might have been omitted; I have yet to see Demian Bichir in A BETTER LIFE, leaving Jean Dujardin in THE ARTIST, Gary Oldman in TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, and Brad Pitt in MONEYBALL – who was even better in THE TREE OF LIFE.
The most contentious category as I see it is BEST ACTRESS; in fact the roles for women this year were so strong, I wish there was room for one more: Tilda Swinton as the distraught mother of a teenage boy who commits a “Columbine” style shooting in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN. Swinton absolutely belongs right up there with Glenn Close in ALBERT NOBBS, Viola Davis in THE HELP, Rooney Mara in THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Meryl Streep in THE IRON LADY, and Michelle Williams in MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. This is THE category to watch.
Which gets me to BEST PICTURE. There were 9 nominees this year, instead of 10, because of a new voting formula. HUGO received the most nominations – 11, while THE ARTIST received 10, followed by MONEYBALL and WAR HORSE each with 6, THE DESCENDANTS with 5, THE HELP and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with 4. That leaves EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE and THE TREE OF LIFE. I would have left out EXTREMELY and WAR HORSE, and nominated THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (along with its director David Fincher) and the under-appreciated MARGIN CALL about the collapse of a major financial institution on that fateful day in 2008.
Finally, I would have created a special “super human” category for that clever, charismatic canine who co-starred in THE ARTIST: the little Jack Russell Terrier known as “Uggie.” Despite an ugly behind the scenes cat fight brewing between the talented pooch and Oscar nominee Christopher Plummer, I’m hoping to spot Uggie on the red carpet at the Oscars – I can’t wait to see what collar he’s wearing! We’ll find out Sunday February 26 when the 84th annual Oscars are telecast on ABC!
Boston, MA, USA