Academy Award Noms Announced — A great year for movies about movies, and women

This year, Hollywood felt the nostalgia.

Oscar nominations were announced early Tuesday morning, with Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo leading the pack with 10 and 11 nods, respectively. Both films are, in some fashion, love letters to the ‘Glory Days’ of movies: The Artist is an homage to the silent film era, filmed entirely in black and white, while the central theme of Hugo speaks to the magic of movies and how they bring generations of people together.

Other best picture nominees include the late summer box-office smash The Help, for which stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain each received Oscar recognition for acting. Davis is up for Best Actress, while Spencer and Chastain compete for the Best Supporting Actress award. Should Spencer lose come Oscar night, members of the Academy should expect to receive one of her character Minny’s famous chocolate pies, which have a secret ingredient. And it isn’t love, that’s for sure.

Bridesmaids, which in my opinion is the most quotable and runaway hit of the year, made out with two nominations: Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy, the crass future sister-in-law of the bride, and Best Original Screenplay for star Kristen Wiig and screenwriter Annie Mumolo.

For McCarthy, 2011 was her breakout year. In addition to critical acclaim she received for Bridesmaids, McCarthy won the best comedy actress Emmy award for her role in the sitcom Mike & Molly. Even if McCarthy ultimately goes home empty-handed, it’s safe to say her year has been as explosive as Bridesmaids’ infamous bathroom scene.

Surprising absolutely no one, Meryl Streep secured her 17th Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. That woman could play a toaster in a live action film and move critics and audiences to tears. She’s unstoppable.

Major Oscar snubs included Ryan Gosling, who gave a trio of acclaimed performances in 2011 with turns in Crazy Stupid Love, Drive, and The Ides of March. In one of the sexiest moments in film this past year, Gosling off-ed his shirt in Crazy to display his perfectly sculpted and evenly tanned torso. For some ridiculous reason, his beautiful face was ignored by the Academy. What does this guy have to do to be recognized? It is doubtful that anyone would object to a full-frontal nude scene from Gosling in one of his next film projects. Maybe then he will finally land an Oscar.

By far the most outrageous error, however, was the exclusion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II among the Best Picture nominees. Instead, the film received three nods: all in technical categories. It would appear that the Academy plays for Team Jacob.

The 84th Academy Awards ceremony will air Sunday, February 26 at 8 p.m. where Billy Crystal is set to host the event for the ninth time.

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