Oscar Talk: Power Rankings, Snubs, Big Winners & Big Losers

My Power Rankings, Post-Nominations...

Best Picture
  1. The Social Network
  2. The King's Speech
  3. True Grit
  4. The Fighter
  5. 127 Hours
  6. Black Swan
  7. Inception
  8. Winter's Bone
  9. The Kids Are All Right
  10. Toy Story 3
Best Achievement in Direction
  1. David Fincher, The Social Network
  2. Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
  3. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
  4. David O. Russell, The Fighter
  5. Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Best Actor
  1. Colin Firth, The King's Speech
  2. Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  3. James Franco, 127 Hours
  4. Javier Bardem, Biutiful
  5. Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Best Actress
  1. Natalie Portman, Black Swan
  2. Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  3. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
  4. Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
  5. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Best Supporting Actor
  1. Christian Bale, The Fighter
  2. Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech
  3. Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  4. John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
  5. Jeremy Renner, The Town
Best Supporting Actress
  1. Melissa Leo, The Fighter
  2. Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
  3. Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
  4. Amy Adams, The Fighter
  5. Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Best Original Screenplay
  1. David Seidler, The King's Speech
  2. Stuart Blumberg & Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
  3. Paul Tamasy, Paul Silver & Eric Johnson, The Fighter
  4. Mike Leigh, Another Year
  5. Christopher Nolan, Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay
  1. Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
  2. Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
  3. Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
  4. Debra Granik & Anne Rossellini, Winter's Bone
  5. Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3
Achievement in Art Direction
  1. The King's Speech
  2. Inception
  3. True Grit
  4. Alice in Wonderland
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One
Achievement in Cinematography
  1. Roger Deakins, True Grit
  2. Danny Cohen, The King's Speech
  3. Wally Pfister, Inception
  4. Jeff Cronenweth, The Social Network
  5. Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
Achievement in Costume Design
  1. Jenny Beaven, The King's Speech
  2. Colleen Atwood, Alice in Wonderland
  3. Mary Zophres, True Grit
  4. Sandy Powell, The Tempest
  5. Antonella Cannarozzi, I Am Love
Achievement in Film Editing
  1. Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, The Social Network
  2. Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech
  3. Jon Harris, 127 Hours
  4. Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan
  5. Pamela Martin, The Fighter
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures
  1. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network
  2. Hans Zimmer, Inception
  3. Alexandre Desplat, The King's Speech
  4. A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours
  5. John Powell, How To Train Your Dragon
I'm too unfamiliar with the other categories to be able to do any rankings, but if you'd like to see all of the nominees in every category, follow the link. More on the Oscars after the jump...

It's pretty shocking to me that Christopher Nolan again got snubbed of a Best Director nod. After all, the sole reason that the Best Picture field was expanded to ten films in 2010 was because of Nolan's The Dark Knight. Now, of course Inception was warmly welcomed by the Academy with its eight nominations, but the fact that it was snubbed in two key categories indicates that it's probably not one of the elite five in the Best Picture race.

The two categories that I refer to are, of course, Best Achievement in Direction and also Best Achievement in Editing -- the latter of which is probably the more surprising snub, as Inception editor Lee Smith was not only seen as a virtual lock for a nomination, but also a likely candidate to win it. The editing category is arguably the second most indicative of what five films are the real frontrunners, with the directing category obviously being the most telling, so these omissions are pretty big considering that many pundits had Inception in their top five going in.

So who came in and stole these nominations from Inception? Well, in the directing category, it was likely the Coen brothers (True Grit) who took it. True Grit also scored nine other nominations, which clearly puts it in the top five for Best Picture, bumping Inception out. The other directorial nominees -- Fincher, Russell, Aronofsky & Hooper -- were all nominated by the DGA, as was Inception, so more than likely it was the Coen brothers who came in and took Nolan's spot.

For the editing category, however, it appears that Jon Harris (127 Hours) took over that fifth slot. The other films nominated here were Black Swan, The Fighter, The Social Network & The King's Speech -- all of which were also nominated by the A.C.E. (American Cinema Editors). Inception also recieved a guild nomination, leaving True Grit as the odd man out -- confused yet?

The significance here is that 127 Hours beat out two powerhouses in an important category, which could indicate that it's also slightly ahead of Inception in the pecking order for Best Picture. And having also scored five other nominations, I'd say the film exceeded many Oscar pundits' expectations, as they mostly believed it to be a Best Picture bubble film at best.

Something to ponder: Christopher Nolan has three DGA nominations under his belt, yet he lacks a single Oscar nomination as director. What gives?

Other Noteworthy Snubs:
  • Sam Rockwell (Conviction), for Best Supporting Actor: What does this guy have to do to get noticed by the Academy? Sure, it was an otherwise mediocre film, but a great performance is a great performance. He was also deserving of an acting nod in 2009's Moon AND 2008's Frost/Nixon.
  • Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), for Best Actor: His co-star Michelle Williams got in, as many thought she would, but Gosling loses out to Jeff Bridges (not deserving) and Javier Bardem (very much deserving). I'm sure it was close, as many who voted for Williams probably also wanted Gosling to make the cut on the other side.
  • Waiting for Superman, Best Documentary Film: I haven't seen it, but it's weird because many pundits had it winning this award.
  • Black Swan for Best Adapted Screenplay: A loaded field but a noteworthy omission nonetheless. The divisive nature of the film likely took its toll to some degree, as five nominations seems a little modest for this powerhouse.
  • The Town for Best Picture: The odd-man-out in the Best Picture race, and a big loser overall as it scored only one nomination.
  • Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), for Best Supporting Actor: Generally speaking, the films with several acting nominations are usually the ones that have the best shot at winning Best Picture. Out of the five perceived frontrunners, only The Social Network and Black Swan failed to score more than one. Garfield even seemed like a lock, so that definitely makes me wonder if Academy members aren't as dazzled by The Social Network as much as, well, everyone else is.

Big Winners
  1. The King's Speech: 12 nominations to lead the pack. Clearly loved by the Academy, and it really might have a shot at taking Best Picture from The Social Network.
  2. True Grit: 10 nominations, good for second most.
  3. Winter's Bone: 4 BIG nominations: Picture, Screenplay & two acting nods. Not bad for a little indie film, and certainly indicative of a higher status in the Best Picture echelon.
  4. Javier Bardem: A Best Actor nomination for his work in a foreign film. Definitely a progressive move by the Academy.
  5. 127 Hours: 6 big-time nominations (with the exception of maybe Best Song -- does anyone really care about this category?)
Big Losers
  1. Inception: 8 nominations, but a lot of these are in technical categories, which hold much less weight. And again, two HUGE snubs.
  2. The Town: Solid buzz and ample guild love going in to Oscar nominations made me believe it would sneak in to that last Best Picture slot, but it doesn't, and it receives only a Best Supporting Actor nod for Jeremy Renner. Maybe next time, Affleck. The Academy will warm up to you sooner or later.
  3. Shutter Island: 0 noms for a Scorsese/Dicaprio vehicle -- wow. February release dates clearly do not fare well for Oscar hopefuls.
  4. The Ghost Writer: 0 noms for this Polanski/McGregor vehicle. This one probably never had much of a chance due to its early release date and Polanski's smeared image, though it has been racking up some big awards in Europe, so maybe it just doesn't work as well for American audiences... certainly plausible.
  5. Another Year: Not a total failure, as Mike Leigh did recieve an Original Screenplay nomination, but bad campaigning really hindered its chances.

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