Oscars 2012: Why ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ Deserved A Best Picture Nod

Nine films are nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year, begging the question: who deserved a tenth spot on that list? “Oscars 2012: 10 Spot” answers that question, as the MTV Movies team highlights some of 2011’s greatest films and argues why they deserved a nod as the tenth Best Picture nominee.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” specifically points out what’s wrong with the Best Picture race this year. Of the films in the conversation, David Fincher’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel did deserve a nomination for the Oscar top prize in 2011, but in almost any other year, I think the snub would have been justified.

That is because “Dragon Tattoo” has one thing that all of the Best Picture nominees, with the exception of “Tree of Life,” severely lack: an edge.

With the field almost entirely filled with nostalgia movies (“Hugo,” “The Artist,” “Midnight in Paris,” “War Horse,” “The Help”), a lack of variety bogs down the race, leaving it without a real sense of drama. The films, while enjoyable, don’t represent the gamut of subjects the medium can touch and result in a fairly one-note race.

“Dragon Tattoo” went dark and stayed dark, and did so without apologizing. With an essentially incompetent male protagonist, a female rape-victim has to use her intellect to serve justice, and when the murderer is cornered, he dies because of his inability to drive with a shattered jaw. Though its formulaic thriller plot ultimately lessens the story’s impact, a nomination for “Dragon Tattoo” would have added spice to the race and shown some daring on the part of the Academy.

Even ignoring the subject matter and the story, Fincher made a technically masterful film, as he tends to do, and reaffirmed his place as one of the genre’s best directors, always ready to innovate. At this level, the snub seems particularly insulting when you consider that Tate Taylor’s by-the-numbers “The Help” earned a spot on the list. Also consider that Fincher’s loss to the undeserving Tom Hooper at last year’s ceremony should have qualified for the Academy’s love of payback.

Then again, my whole argument comes with a caveat: I don’t think “Dragon Tattoo” is all that great, and it wouldn’t deserve a nomination if the other nominees had been of a higher caliber. The snub exists based on the merits of comparison and not solely on the film itself. That being the case, however, adding “Dragon Tattoo” to the tenth spot would have lent a little more respect to a category that I think sorely needs it.

The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and on Sunday, February 25, tune into MTV.com at 5:30 p.m. ET for our three-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night’s big winners.