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oscarsWith the films nominated ranging from Marvel’s The Avengers to Michael Haneke’s Amour, and with Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane hosting, this years Academy Awards promises another star-studded celebration of a tremendous year in cinema.

When the nominee’s list (which can be found here: http://oscar.go.com/nominees) was announced a few weeks ago, many surprises followed. Small ‘find me someone who has seen it and I’ll give you my life earnings” film Beasts of the Southern Wild received huge praise, while Ben “What Pearl Harbour?” Affleck joined Tarantino and Bigelow in a group of directors snubbed for nods.

Tom Hooper’s lack of nomination is perhaps one of the more acceptable rejections, with Les Miserables’ overt direction left by the side of the road, by more powerful, reflective pieces from filmmakers like Haneke.

Other snubs reflected many of the disappointments of the year, with the lack of a Best Picture nomination for The Hobbit cementing Peter Jackson’s place in his own shadow. Despite this, nominations in some of the technical categories show some love for the prequel and I suspect Weta Workshop will provide redemption for the troubled trilogy, although there is fierce competition from films like Skyfall, Life of Pi and Lincoln.

It is easy to list further snubs (Django’s Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Supporting Actor, Amour’s Jean-Louis Trintignant for Best Actor, Battleship for Best Picture etc) but the bets are now on for who will take home the gold on the night.

Academy ‘experts’ (it’s a valid career path) are predicting successes for Lincoln based on statistics that show many Best Picture winners rely on wins in other key categories before their success. Amour seems certain for Best Foreign Language Film after becoming the first foreign film in years to be nominated for Best Picture, and performances from Daniel Day Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones seem certain to pick up awards. Though Tommy Lee Jones might have to watch his back from a hammer wielding DiCaprio, while Daniel Day Lewis will have to be wary of what The Master’s Joaquin Phoenix has put in his drink at the after party.

For me, Amour was a masterpiece of cinema, deserving every award it is nominated for. The reality of the Oscars however throws the field wide open, especially in the light of the Academy voters, who, despite many arguments to the contrary, are impossible to predict (see the Crash/Brokeback Mountain debate). What is certain however, is that Ben Affleck’s snub, whether right or wrong, has deprived us of a “How do you like them apples?” speech and it’s probably a wise idea for the Academy to at least get him a little something by way of apology.

Share your thoughts below and whether the Academy got it right or wrong.

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