The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is like a group of guys at a bar. You want them to recognize all the hard work and success of your performance for the evening, but if they don’t — who needs them! The latter situation applies to this year, a shocking cast of awards overlooking many gems in what seemed like a year of Oscar heavy hitters.
Though recent years have shown an increase in obvious Oscar-grabbing blockbusters and “indie” toting artsy pieces, this year’s slew of films included many unrecognized jewels that those in the critical crowd feel were snubbed. In a year where many actors and actresses gave what were widely considered the best performances of their careers, those billed for awards were mostly of the pleasantly adequate grouping, sprinkled with nuggets of brilliance, like Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”) and Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”). But the eerie performances of Kirsten Dunst (“Melancholia”), Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”) and Ryan Gosling (“Drive,” “The Ides of March”), which ranged from winding depression to psychologically obscure, went completely unnoticed. Even Clint Eastwood and Leonardo Dicaprio’s “J. Edgar” fell completely off the Oscar grid and failed to earn a single nomination, which, if not deserved, was at least expected.
And could somebody please give David Fincher an Oscar already? Fincher (“The Social Network,” “Benjamin Button”) released the critically acclaimed and audience-appreciated adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” but to no avail in the categories for Achievement in Directing or Best Picture. Instead, the Best Picture category is filled with a motley batch of duds from sparkling directors (“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen; “War Horse,” Steven Spielberg; “Hugo,” Martin Scorsese), evenly sentimental pieces (“The Help,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”), and a few genuine pieces of artistry (“The Artist,” “The Tree of Life”). Despite the crop of dazzling works to chose from this year, the batch of films in the Best Picture category represent the lot of the 2012 Academy Awards nominees: ranging from exceptional to blasé, and wholly incomplete.