The Act of Shilling: Some Completely Unfiltered Reactions to the Oscar Nominations

Amy Adams

Good morning, everyone!

Well, this is fun. It’s a tie at the top! 10 nominations for both “Gravity” and “American Hustle,” and for mostly very different things. “12 Years a Slave” misses out by just one, grabbing nine nods. It’s a three-way race! We really have no idea what’s going to happen in a bunch of these high profile categories, and that’s probably the best news of the morning.

Best Picture:

Those new rules actually seemed sort of exciting when they were announced a few years ago, but now it looks like we’re just going to get nine nominees every year whether we like it or not. As for the movies themselves, it’s an interesting bunch. “Philomena” making it in will make Weinstein happy, especially with all the noise that he might miss out on Best Picture entirely. The nods for “Her” and “Dallas Buyers Club” are also a bit surprising, but represent a well of support for both films that is apparently a lot deeper than many of us thought. The rest of the list is as expected, of course, and the race remains between “American Hustle,” “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave.”

Best Actor:

No Robert Redford! It seems strange to me that “All Is Lost” almost got completely shut out, except for a lone Sound Editing nomination, but there you have it. This remains a very interesting race and the nomination tallies for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club” means that basically any one of these guys (well not you, Christian Bale) could end up winning in March.

Best Actress:

The big story of the morning is Amy Adams, though let’s all take a second and share a moment of Disney™ silence in memory of Emma Thompson’s Oscar nomination. Amy Adams broke in and I was very doubtful that Judi Dench or Meryl Streep would be the one to get out of her way. As for those getting very excited about the surprise and already predicting an upset win for Adams, don’t get ahead of yourselves. This morning is the last thrilling moment you’re getting in this race, unless you ADORED “Blue Jasmine” and still find yourself elated every time Cate Blanchett wins for it. Like me.

Best Supporting Actor:

I don’t have to watch “Rush,” everyone! Neither do you! I’m not sure how fully you understand the victory we all just stumbled into. Bradley Cooper knocking Daniel Brühl (who is a fine actor, mind you) out of the category puts “American Hustle” in every acting category, which I think has more of an impact on its Best Picture prospects than its chances actually within the acting races. Besides, Jared Leto will be riding his film’s six (SIX!) nominations to victory.

Best Supporting Actress: 

Oh dear. Sally Hawkins and Julia Roberts over Octavia Spencer and Oprah will make for an interesting Twitter fight this morning, but I think said argument will be making a mountain out of a molehill. Anyway, this is still a Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o race and I would not be surprised if at the end of the day “American Hustle” missed here as well.

Best Director:

It’s interesting that “Her” did so well in the craft categories, but Spike Jonze missed here. Martin Scorsese grabbed the open slot instead, alongside the four more predictable choices. I have to think this is a more competitive race than we’re allowing, but maybe not. Alfonso Cuarón has had a good week.

Best Original Screenplay:

I do not understand the love for “Dallas Buyers Club,” but then again I probably wouldn’t. It and “Her” are probably the big stories in this category, though there’s nothing too surprising here. Perhaps I’m getting too carried away, but given that Sally Hawkins nomination I wouldn’t be shocked if this award ended up in Woody Allen’s hands in a gesture of love and affection for a man who won just a few years ago for a lesser script.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Steve Coogan, Oscar nominee. Four of these nominees are also Best Picture nominees, which I suppose would be more interesting if there weren’t nine of those again. That makes “Gravity” the only Best Picture nominee to miss a screenplay nomination, which means absolutely nothing. It is, however, a subtler reason to be irked by the trickle-down influence of too many films at the top. The screenplay lists aren’t particularly thrilling.

Best Animated Feature:

In future years I think we’ll look back on this and find ourselves very surprised by the lack of “Monsters University,” but as it is the Pixar omission makes perfect sense. This is still a race between Disney and Miyazaki.

Best Foreign Language Film:

“THE MISSING PICTURE!” This looked for a while as if it was going to be a very European category, especially after the shortlist was announced. Yet here we are, with only three European films. This is a good thing. It is especially a good thing because “The Missing Picture” is extraordinary, and only the second documentary to ever make an appearance in this category. Well done, Rithy Panh. (“The Great Beauty” still wins this.)

Best Cinematography:

And for those saddened by “The Grandmaster” dropping from Foreign Language Film, here’s your consolation prize! A fascinating set of films, especially when you realize only two of them are up for Best Picture. I’d argue that “Nebraska” is here almost entirely for being in black and white, and that its images aren’t very interesting, but I’m too happy about “Prisoners.”

Best Editing:

They really, really love “Dallas Buyers Club.” Yeesh.

Best Production Design:

“Her”! What if it actually wins? It won’t, but what if? Interestingly enough, there are at least seven first-time nominees in this category. Is that a record?

Best Costumes:

Another moment for “The Grandmaster,” which always had more of a shot in the crafts than in the actual Foreign Language Film race. I love how the costume designers are always interested in the less-covered stuff, and am eager to see “The Invisible Woman.”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Looks like this branch wasn’t actually impressed by all of the hair in “American Hustle.” It also seems as if they were extra-impressed by the transformations of Johnny Depp and Jared Leto, which is a little bit uncomfortable for a whole bunch of reasons. I am now rooting for “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” to win this, which is very surprising for me.

Best Original Score:

Every year this category sees four esteemed members of the “club” and one new face. Steven Price may not have been nominated before, but his “Gravity” score seems to tell everyone that he’ll be in said club before we know it. But the nomination for “Her”? That’s exciting, unexpected stuff. And four out of the last five years the Oscar has actually gone to the most exciting, outsider composer. Who knows what might happen? (A moment of silence for Alex Ebert, his great “All Is Lost” score and his magnificent hair.)

Best Original Song:

Every year, this bonkers little category. Mazel tov to Karen O and “Her,” especially if we get to actually see these performed on Oscar night. Maybe “Frozen” will win, maybe it will lose again to Bono, who knows. And for those wondering, “Alone Yet Not Alone” is an adaptation of an 18th century survival narrative. From its website it looks profoundly religious and potentially racist. We will let you know more as things develop.

Best Sound Mixing:


Best Sound Editing:

Smaug! Interesting that in these two categories the outsider, not-double-nominated films are “All Is Lost” and “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which did not do well at all otherwise.

Best Visual Effects:

Smaug! Hopefully this means more dragons in more movies. You paying attention, Richard Linklater?

Best Documentary Feature:

Whoa! “Blackfish” down! I’m a bit bummed about “Stories We Tell,” but this is a fascinating and really quite thrilling list anyway. In fact, this is probably the strongest batch of films this category has seen in a long time. Do your best to see all of them. “The Square” hits Netflix tomorrow!

Best Documentary, Short Subject:

No idea, but we’ll cover this one as soon as we can.

Best Short Film, Animated:

Same here. You can watch “Feral” nominee Daniel Sousa’s beautiful prior short, “Drift,” here:

Best Short Film, Live Action:

“Just Before Losing Everything” is a fantastic, gripping realist thriller. As for the rest, watch this space.