If you’re online much, you’re already aware this year’s Academy Awards nominations were announced today. If you follow either The Hollywood Reporter or The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Twitter, you had the opportunity to see the categories live-tweeted one at a time early this morning. If you shared my mistake of following both entities, you were treated to a double-barrel Oscar-nom redundancy blast that turned Twitter to sludge for fifteen minutes. Homework question: how many live-tweeters does any given event really need?
I’ll not waste your bandwidth copying-‘n’-pasting the full list of nominees that’s readily available on a million other news sites. Several thoughts popped into my head throughout the day while mulling over the results:
* As discussed in the past, since 1997 I’ve made a point every year of seeing every Best Picture nominee as soon as possible. This year I’m facing quite the obstacle course, as I’ve only seen one of the nine nominees so far (hint: the one with the spaceship). In my defense, six of the nine only opened here in Indianapolis within the last month, a few of which were packed exclusively into the single art-house theater on the other side of the city. Late December and early January are never the best time of year for leisure travel. Unless they’re each gifted with a wider re-release in the nearer gen-pop theaters, I’m seeing a lot of mileage in my immediate future.
* My favorite film of 2013, Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, was absent from the entire list. Consider my disappointment registered. Somewhere in that scenario is a comparative essay between its fortunes and those of 12 Years a Slave that should perhaps never be written.
* I was also hoping for Oscar-based excuses to see Lee Daniels’ The Butler or Short Term 12 this month. Now I’ll have to see them for the pedestrian reason of being curious about them on their own merits.
* For the first time since 1995’s “Runaway Brain”, Mickey Mouse returns to the Kodak Theatre with his ninth nominated short, “Get a Horse!”, a marvelous 2-D/3-D hybrid that opened in front of Frozen. Mickey’s lone Oscar win was for 1942’s “Lend a Paw”, so this second win will be crucial to him, lest he end up in the same future punchlines as Martin Scorsese.
* For those just joining us: the obligatory sequel product Despicable Me 2 merited two nominations; Fruitvale Station earned none. Seems fair.
* The Best Song nominees rank in order from Most Awesome to Most Obligatory:
1. Tony Award Winner Idina Menzel’s Broadwaytastic “Let It Go” from Frozen. Already raved about this one. Either it wins or the system is a sham.
2. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” from Despicable Me 2. Positivist, all-ages frivolity that’s funkier than “Get Lucky”.
3. “Alone Yet Not Alone” by quadriplegic Christian singer and breast cancer survivor Joni Eareckson Tada, taken from the Christian film of the same name that received an extremely limited release last fall. I’d love to rank this higher for faith-based reasons alone, but the short version of the sad truth is that modern Christian music and I don’t mingle well, and a manipulative string section is a manipulative string section. This lyrically lovely hymn would resonate more with me if it were a cappella.
4. Karen O’s acoustic “The Moon Song” from Her. Pleasant but ethereal. Needs more Nick Zinner.
5. U2, “Ordinary Love”, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Because to Academy voters my age, “U2” plus “civil rights” equals “nostalgia FTW”. I miss those halcyon days when U2 were a rock band.
* For those keeping score at home: Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa received one nomination for Best Makeup, while Fruitvale Station received no nominations for anything. The obvious conclusion: the Academy majority secretly hates movies.
* If you’re into the obscure categories, two contestants are available On Demand: Foreign Language Film nominee The Hunt (starring Hannibal‘s Mads Mikkelsen) and the Documentary Feature 20 Feet from Stardom, about pop-music backup singers. Both are tempting, if time permits.
* I was really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really hoping the voters would leave The Wolf of Wall Street off the table. A three-hour bacchanalia about evil finance junkies? Golly, THANKS, ACADEMY. I wonder if the ushers would mind if I brought a book along to pass the time.
* I’m not seeing nearly enough Browncoats expressing excitement that the Operative, whose screen presence elevated Serenity from an A+ flick to an A++, is now an Academy Award Nominee™ and strong contender for the “Winner” status upgrade. Is Firefly fever over at last, or am I lurking at all the wrong sites?
* Final tally: even The Lone Ranger wins over Fruitvale Station, 2-0. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.