Hollywood A-listers George Clooney and Brad Pitt each received Best Actor nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards. Clooney’s nomination is for his performance in The Descendants, while Pitt’s role in true-to-life yarn about the Oakland A’s attempt to stitch together a winning baseball team (Moneyball) earned the Academy’s attention. Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Solider Spy), Demian Bichir (A Better Life) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist) complete the list for the five Best Actor nods.
In the Best Actress category, Meryl Streep received a nomination for her turn in the historical biopic Iron Lady (yes, the 70’s and 80’s are now considered history), where she portrays the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. According to the Internet Movie Database, aka IMDB, Streep has received 16 Academy Award nominations, having walked away twice with the golden little man. The demure Michelle Williams has been awarded a wink from AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts Sciences; governing body for the Academy Awards) for her turn as the blond bombshell, Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. Rooney Mara has been recognized for her talent in the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since Halle Berry accepted her Oscar in 2001, Viola Davis is only the second African-American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in 10 years; Gabourey Sidibe was nominated for Precious in 2009. Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) rounds out the top five for Best Actress category.
Two years ago, the AMPAS revised its rules for Best Picture nominees upping the category from five to ten, then altered the rules again allowing for a transitory between five and ten pictures. This year, nine features are vying for the title of Best Picture, though the list still feels excessively bloated. Anticipated nominee and critic-fave, The Artist is in the list, along with The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse. It just stands to reason that if the Best Picture category inflates at a whim, then at the very minimum the Best Director category should morph to match, and more practically the Best Actor and Best Actress should accommodate the change also; however, the show consistently runs long, so perhaps it is better left alone.
Though Moneyball has long since rolled out of the park, The Descendants, Extremely Loud Incredibly Close and War Horse are playing in cinemas around the KC Metro. All three can be seen at the AMC Theatres Independence Commons 20. The silent-film era homage, The Artist can be seen at Tivoli Theatres Manor Square Theatres.
Annually, the AMC Main Street runs a Best Picture marathon for cinephiles who can endure back-to-back Oscar contenders. With nine films vying for the award, this year’s event will truly be an endurance test not for the faint of heart.