The Cavalcade review of the 2011 Oscar Nominees

Oscars Wild!

Well, the academy released the Oscar nominations for this year’s Academy Awards.  Again, some surprises, some not so surprising.  I usually like to take a look at the most popular categories and give you some of my thoughts on the decisions.  Looking back, I see I’ve done this recap since 2007 (for the 2006 movie year).  Here are those articles:


Normally, by now, I’ve posted my Movie Board articles telling you guys what my favorite/least favorite movies of the year are.  However, I’m still catching up on Oscar eligible movies, so I’ll have those up in a few weeks.  I have my preliminary list, but there are some good ones I need to see just to be sure.

Anyway, back to the Oscar nominees for this year.  You can find the full list of nominees at  Now, let’s take a look at the “money” categories and judge how the Academy did this year.

Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir in “A Better Life” – What?  Who?
George Clooney in “The Descendants” – Man, Clooney no longer does the “one for you, one for me” formula.  He pretty much just does whatever the hell he wants to do.  How else do you explain The American or Men Who Stare At Goats?  I miss the Clooney from Ocean’s 11, Goodnight and Good Luck and Intolerable Cruelty.  I’m not having as much fun with the current version.
Jean Dujardin in “The Artist” – This movie actually doesn’t sound that bad, but I have yet to see it.
Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – Looks amazing.  Really want to see this movie.  Oldman is great in pretty much everything.
Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” – Again, I really want to see this but have not yet had the opportunity.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn” – This movie doesn’t look great.
Jonah Hill in “Moneyball” – Props to Jonah for dipping his toes into the dramatic pool.
Nick Nolte in “Warrior” – I hear this movie is great, but I can’t support a Nolte nomination.  For anything.
Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” – Meh.
Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” – This movie looks amazing.  But I’m reluctant to see it because as a new dad, I feel the heavy father-son relationship at the center of this plot will completely undo the macho-man hold on my emotions and cause me to bawl like my wife at cheesy cell phone commercials.

Dragon Tattoo
Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs” – Close may be fantastic in this, but it just “feels” tailor made for the Oscars.  Like they were trying to get Close a nomination.  Julie Andrews did gender bending first in Victor/Victoria.  Close’s makeup in this just looks like posturing for an Oscar. See also Nicole Kidman’s makeup in The Hours and Charlize Theron’s in Monster.
Viola Davis in “The Help” – Better movie than I expected and Viola was great in it.
Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – Really, really good movie.  Hard to watch, but very good.  Rooney Mara is also great in it.
Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” – I imagine this is good.  I want to see it.
Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn” – Not a fan of Michelle Williams.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist” – Looks good. I will see it when I get the chance.
Jessica Chastain in “The Help” – Jessica is deliciously bad in this movie. The perfect antagonist.
Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids” – Wow. I’m very surprised by this. Don’t get me wrong, Melissa completely deserves this nomination, but the Academy rarely recognizes these types of movies (ie, straight up comedies). Mark this down.
Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs” – No.
Octavia Spencer in “The Help” – I love Octavia. She is hilarious and was great in The Help.

“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius – Okay, I’ll see it.
“The Descendants” Alexander Payne – Meh.
“Hugo” Martin Scorsese – I really want to see this movie. I love Scorcese and I love that this is such a departure for him. I’ve been surprised how many “end of the year” lists this tops.
“Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen – Ditto for this. This movie has topped many year end lists. So much so that I actually finally watched it this past weekend. I’m not a fan of Woody Allen, at all, but this movie is really good. It’s sweet, funny and charming. I really liked it. I especially like that Allen no longer puts himself in the middle of his movies.
“The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick – I don’t get Malick. At all.

Midnight in Paris
Best Picture
“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer – I’m becoming more and more interested in this the more awards it gets.
“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers – I continue to say, “Meh”.
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer – Crying or not, I’ll eventually have to watch this.
“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers – Really good. But best of the year?
“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers – I really must see this ASAP.
“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers – Really good. I can support this nom.
“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers – Watching this very soon.
“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined – *shakes head*
“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers – I’m baffled by this movie. War Horse? Seriously? Why wasn’t Spielberg nominated for Directing?

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash – No.
“Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan – Yes.
“The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon – This looks good.  I’m surprised it got no other noms.
“Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin – No wonder the movie looks good it was written by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.  More proof that I need to see it.
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan – Yes, this looks good as well.

Margin Call
Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius – This looks good. I can’t argue.
“Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig – Wow. Kristen Wiig is now Oscar nominated Kristen Wiig. I’m really surprised the Academy put this here. It’s just not traditionally a movie that gets nominated for its screenplay.
“Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor – Wow, really? I saw the trailer for this, and there’s a ton of well known actors, but it looked like a showier version of Boiler Room.  Or a more serious The Informant!
“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen – By all means. This was a very clever script that I enjoyed.
“A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi – Never heard of this.


7 Responses to “The Cavalcade review of the 2011 Oscar Nominees”

  1. I appreciated your comment about “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Since becoming a dad 6+ years ago, I simply can not watch a movie or TV show where kids get hurt or lose a parent. Normally, i’d watch any movie with Tom Hanks in it, but I really don’t think I could handle this one.

  2. Thanks, Brian.

    Yeah, it’s extremely tough lately to watch anything that involves a son-father relationship and one of them gets hurt or killed. It just tears me up.

  3. Yay! I’ve been anticipating this post. 😉 But before I get started…nice header.

    See Moneyball. Scott and I both really enjoyed it. Great story. But I was surprised to see it nominated in so many categories (even though I desperately love me some Brad Pitt).

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. You MUST know by now that it’s my favorite book. I can’t see the movie and it will probably rip your heart out Pax. Same reason why I’ve been avoiding reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. My mom and Grandma saw it last weekend and both said they SOBBED throughout. Sydow supposedly did a genius job, though.

    I don’t care who you are–Meryl Streep is a phenomenon. (As is Gary Oldham)

    REALLY? BRIDESMAIDS? Oh Academy…. *shakes head*

    I’m hoping Octavia Spencer gets Supporting. she also did the narration in the audiobook and it was FANTASTIC. Like you, though, I don’t see The Help in the Best of the Year category…

    My mom is watching Elle tomorrow. So tempted to head to the theaters to watch Hugo.

    Ok, I’ll withhold any further comments that I have (and there are others…).

    Will you provide us with projections??

    Ok really–the end.

    • Trish,

      Thank you for your kind words to my header. Even if they were laden with sarcasm. 😉 And especially if they weren’t.

      I do remember you mentioning ELAIC as one of your favs. The previews look great, but I do not relish the possible sad/happy sobbing that will commence when I do watch it.

      I will see Moneyball. Hopefully soon. You can take that to the bank.

      Meryl Streep is awesome in almost everything. I’ll forgive the horrifyingly terrible movie version of Mama Mia.

      If you see Hugo, please let me know how it is. I’m literally DYING to see it.

      And I welcome more of your comments. 🙂

      • Oh, totally sincere about the header. Though part of me thinks it’s TERRIBLY AWESOME.

        The Mamma Mia movie WAS terrible–seriously Pierce Brosnan? But I might love the music anyway… (hides from rotten tomatoes).

        OK..LUNCH IS OVER.

  4. I loved the broadway production I saw of Mama Mia a few years before the movie. And I love ABBA’s songs. Which made me extra horrified when I heard Pierce f**king Brosnan singing like a dying elephant. It’s a shame, because I love Meryl Streep and Colin Firth. They did not deserve to be in that disaster.

  5. Fantastic post Pax. I enjoy the Oscars. I do want to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Warrior. I did love The Help. I’m tempted to watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I don’t like that chick for some reason.
    I agree, My Week with Marilyn does not look good. I can’t imagine Michelle Williams pulling off the Marilyn role.

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