It was one of those mornings for Leonardo DiCaprio.
And Ben Affleck.
And even Les Misérables.
A quick take on the surprise omissions and otherwise from Thursday’s nominations announcement for the 85th Annual Academy Awards:
• Christoph Waltz, not DiCaprio, turned out to be Django Unchained’s representative in Best Supporting Actor. This didn’t surprise us, but we imagine those nursing a grudge against the Academy on DiCaprio’s behalf are especially aggrieved.
• Affleck, who can win the Best Picture Oscar for Argo, was shut out of Best Director.
• Les Mis’ Tom Hooper likewise failed to make Best Director.
• Tritto for Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow. While Argo was viewed as having a more distant shot at Best Picture, Les Mis and Zero Dark Thirty were thought to be right up there. But now with the Hooper and Bigelow snubs, those films are seemingly out as legitimate candidates, leaving only Ang Lee’s Life of Pi and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook with viable shots at denying Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
• Bigelow’s Best Director omission even caught the Oscar publicity team off guard. An Academy-released rundown of factoids notes, incorrectly, the filmmaker is the “first woman to have more than one directing nomination,” and the “first woman to be nominated for directing and picture twice.” Annapurna Pictures founder and Zero Dark Thirty coproducer Megan Ellison tweeted afterward, “Kathryn Bigelow was robbed. So f–ked up.#recount.”
• Overall, the usually reliable Directors Guild of America Award did a lousy job at predicting the Best Director race. Of the DGA’s five contenders, only Spielberg and Lee are also up for the Academy Award.
• The Screen Actors Guild Awards weren’t so perfect, either. John Hawkes (The Sessions), Javier Bardem (Skyfall), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone), Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) and Maggie Smith (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) are all SAG Awards nominees who didn’t make the leap to the Oscars. The Hawkes omission arguably is the most glaring, although his buzz seemed to have peaked some weeks ago.
• The end of Christopher Nolan’s bedeviled Dark Knight trilogy was met with absolute silence. The Dark Knight Rises didn’t rate a single nomination, not anywhere, not for anything. Nolan’s previous two Batman movies combined for nine nominations, and two wins.
• Skyfall picked up the most-ever nominations (five) for a James Bond film, but, most surprisingly, was touted as being snubbed from Best Picture, even though it was never seriously given a shot at being included in Best Picture.
• The Avengers’ critical plaudits and box-office domination translated into a lone nomination for Visual Effects.
• The Hunger Games, 2012’s third-biggest box-office hit after The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, failed to hit a single target, even as star Jennifer Lawrence landed in the Best Actress race (though for Silver Linings Playbook). Taylor Swift might’ve been The Hunger Games’ best shot at a nod, but failed to make the cut in Original Song but she never got out of the gate—her Golden Globe-nominated cut, “Safe & Sound,” was not deigned an Academy-eligible track.
• Dark-horse candidacies that didn’t score surprise nominations included those mounted by Richard Gere (Arbitrage) and Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson) and Looper.
• Snow White and the Huntsman (Costume Design, Visual Effects) earned twice as many nominations as onetime Best Picture hopeful Moonrise Kingdom (Original Screenplay).
• The no-star Beasts of the Southern Wild, made for under $2 million, came up impossibly big, going four-for-four in the glamour categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.
• Beasts, which opened in theaters last June, was the only Best Picture nominee released before the fall and holiday movie seasons.