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Oscar Nominations 2012: Surprises & Snubs

Huffington Post     First Posted: 01/24/2012 8:56 am   Updated: 01/24/2012 11:46 am

The 2012 Oscar nominees were announced on Tuesday morning, and while the front runners all got their nods, there a number of surprises and snubs, as well.

Perhaps the most surprising Best Picture nomination went to "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," the Stephen Daldry-directed adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel about a boy who goes on a search for a secret left by a father that died on 9/11. The film polarized both critics and audiences, and was shut out of the Golden Globes. Max von Sydow earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

"Take Shelter," the drama about a man having a breakdown starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, was shut out of the major awards; while it didn't generate much buzz, it was one of the best reviewed films of the year, with a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Chastain got a nomination for "The Help," though director Tate Taylor was left out of both the Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay race. Chastain also starred in "The Tree of Life," a polarizing film that nonetheless earned both a Best Picture nomination -- with producer credit yet to be settled -- and a Best Director bid for enigmatic helmer Terrence Malick.

If you're asking who Demián Bichir is today, you're not alone. He starred in the little seen Chris Weitz-directed drama "A Better Life," which involves the Mexican community in LA. He earned a Best Actor nod over stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Fassbender, who were both nominated for Golden Globes.

"Young Adult," the Diablo Cody-scripted, Jason Reitman scripted dark comedy, was shut out entirely. Star Charlize Theron was nominated for a Golden Globe, while co-star Patton Oswalt was favored to get an Oscar bid for Best Supporting Actor.

Fans were excited to see the Judd Apatow-produced comedy "Bridesmaids" earn a Best Original Screenplay nomination for star Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo, as well as a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Melissa McCarthy.

Tilda Swinton, heavily favored to get a Best Actress nomination, was snubbed of recognition for her haunting turn in "We Need To Talk About Kevin."

It was a big morning for first time writer/director JC Chandor, who got a Best Original Screenplay nod for his financial thriller "Margin Call," which has largely been seen on Video on Demand.

"Drive," the Nicolas Winding-Refn directed LA street noir film, was shut out of the big awards, with Best Supporting Actor favorite Albert Brooks getting snubbed. Meanwhile, Nick Nolte excelled enough in the little-seen MMA drama "Warrior," which was loved by critics but passed over by audiences, to get a nod for Best Supporting Actor.

"50/50," the cancer dramedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, was tipped to get a Best Original Screenplay nomination for writer Will Reiser, who loosely based the story on his own experiences, but the film was shut out of top line nominations.

Here's Moviefone's take on the biggest snubs:

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  • SNUBBED: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" for Best Picture

    "Lord of the Rings," this was not. Despite being well-reviewed, beloved and a bonafide box-office hit, "Harry Potter" was relegated to the blockbuster ghetto of below-the-line nods. The final Potter installment earned just three nominations, including Best Visual Effects. Accio, disappointing!

  • SNUBBED: Albert Brooks for Best Supporting Actor

    <a href="" target="_hplink">Maybe the Screen Actors Guild nominations should have been taken a little more seriously</a>. Though many believed Albert Brooks was the only other viable contender to <em>win</em> Best Supporting Actor besides Christopher Plummer (the favorite for "Beginners"), he was left standing at the altar on Tuesday morning with no nomination. Blasphemy! Whether that's because Film District didn't have any money to spend on a "Drive" campaign is certainly up for debate, but the Brooks snub is one of the most curious in recent memory.

  • SNUBBED: David Fincher for Best Director

    "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" did very well during the Oscar nominations, scoring nods for Best Actress (Rooney Mara), Best Cinematography and Best Editing. What it didn't grab? A Best Director nomination for David Fincher, in spite of Fincher's nomination from the Directors Guild of America. In the end, Fincher was probably squeezed out by Terrence Malick, a surprise entry into this category for "The Tree of Life." Sorry, Finch! Maybe if you were more of a recluse.

  • SURPRISE: "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" for Best Picture

    Where did this come from? Oh, right: Stephen Daldry and Scott Rudin, two Oscar titans, adapting a movie about 9/11. With a mere 48 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is not only the worst reviewed movie among the 2011 Best Picture nominees, but also the worst reviewed movie <em>in recent history</em> to earn a coveted BP nod. <a href="!/AwardsDaily/status/161840475538595840" target="_hplink">Only "The Blide Side" and "The Reader" were more poorly reviewed</a>. Congrats?

  • SNUBBED: Steven Spielberg for Best Director

    Not that Steven Spielberg had any right to expect a Best Director nomination on Tuesday morning -- after all, he was similarly left out by the Directors Guild of America in the same category -- but with "War Horse" earning Best Picture nod, it was somewhat surprising to see the two-time Best Director winner left home. Insult to injury: "The Adventures of Tintin," which won Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild of America award ceremonies, was left off the Best Animated Feature list at the Oscars. Hopefully, the Academy will favor Spielberg next year, with the release of "Lincoln."

  • SNUBBED: Ryan Gosling for Best Actor

    It's unfortunate to top off the Year of Gosling (i.e., 2011), the Academy Awards decided against nominating The Gos himself. Arguably the best actor of his generation (and a nominee once before for "Half Nelson"), Gosling turned in two strong Oscar-worthy performances in 2011: "Drive" and "The Ides of March." Unfortunately, "Ides" never caught steam as an Oscar contender, and "Drive" was apparently not the Academy's cup of tea. It's not all bad for Gosling, however: <a href="" target="_hplink">dude's a real hero</a>, after all.

  • SNUBBED: "Bridesmaids" for Best Picture

    With nine nominees for Best Picture, it seems a little far-fetched to think "Bridesmaids" didn't make the cut. Alas! The people's choice for Best Picture did earn nominations for Melissa McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay, so it's not like it was totally shut down. Still would have liked to see Kristen Wiig get some love as Best Actress, though. PHOTO: Universal

  • SNUBBED: Michael Fassbender for Best Actor

    Can you even believe this one? Michael Fassbender, who gives one of the best performances of any year in the indie sex-addiction drama "Shame," was left off the list for Best Actor. In his place, either upstart Demian Bichir or veteran Gary Oldman, two well-respected journeymen who saw their Oscar profile rise during the last two months, while Fassbender's festival heat faded. Here's guessing he was the sixth nominee for Best Actor, which is -- wait for it -- a real shame. (GROAN, but come on.)

  • SNUBBED: Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor

    One of the only pleasures of sitting through the laborious "J. Edgar"? The idea that you were at least seeing one of the five nominees for Best Actor ply his craft. About that: Leonardo DiCaprio was left off the final list for leading male, despite -- or perhaps because of -- the pounds of make-up and jowls he displayed as former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's misfire. Acting! Sometimes it doesn't work.

  • SURPRISE: Rooney Mara for Best Actress

    Many times, the best performances of the year aren't rewarded by the Academy Awards (cough, Albert Brooks). This time, at least one was: Rooney Mara in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" gives one of those searing and memorable performances that cause Internet writers to use words like "searing" and "memorable." It really is the best female work of 2011, and while she won't win, the nomination itself is more than enough.

  • SNUBBED: Tilda Swinton for Best Actress

    Everyone's favorite eccentric actress didn't make the cut at the Academy Awards for her performance in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" as a conflicted mother dealing with her awful son. Perhaps it was a matter of getting the indie film seen by enough voter eyeballs that kept Swinton out; or maybe it was the overwhelming Academy love for Glenn Close, who earned her sixth Oscar nomination for the middling "Albert Nobbs."

  • SNUBBED: Tate Taylor for Best Director

    Fun fact: Best Picture-nominated movies, with three Oscar-nominated stars, direct themselves! At least that's the takeaway from the snub of Tate Taylor who missed out on a Best Director nomination for "The Help." Not that Taylor belongs in the same class as Woody Allen, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese, Terrence Malick and Michel Hazanavicius, but let's give the guy some credit!

  • SURPRISE: "A Separation" for Best Original Screenplay

    The outstanding reviews for "A Separation" -- plus its Golden Globe win -- assured the Iranian import a slot in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Where it was a surprise nominee, however, was for Best Original Screenplay. Huzzahs to Asghar Farhadi, the writer/director of the foreign language film all your cool friends will see in the next month. PHOTO: Sony Classics

  • SNUBBED: "The Adventures of Tintin" for Best Animated Feature

    The Steven Spielberg-directed animated feature was good enough to win the Best Animated Feature award from the Producers Guild of America last weekend ... but not good enough to earn a Best Animated Feature <em>nomination</em> from the Oscars. Great snakes, indeed. PHOTO: Paramount

  • SNUBBED: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" for Best Picture

    Late in 2011, snubbed director David Fincher joked that "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" had too much rape to earn an Oscar nomination. Guess he was right. Despite the fact that nine (nine!) movies earned Best Picture nominations on Tuesday morning, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was left out. Somewhere, Scott Rudin -- who produced both "Tattoo" and the movie that might have bumped it off, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" -- both frowned and smiled, simultaneously. PHOTO: Sony

  • SNUBBED: "Drive" for Best Picture

    Needed more eyeball stabbing.

  • SNUBBED: Elizabeth Olsen for Best Actress

    Proof that any Oscar buzz you read about this week from the Sundance Film Festival should be laughed off. Elizabeth Olsen, the 2011 It-Girl from Sundance, missed the Best Actress shortlist despite earning plaudits for her work in "Martha Marcy May Marlene."

  • SNUBBED: Sandra Bullock for Best Supporting Actress

    Don't gasp! Sandra Bullock, a winner as Best Actress for "The Blind Side," gives the best performance in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," a movie that clearly resonated with Oscar voters thanks to its shocking Best Picture nomination. Are we to believe that Oscar voters watched "Extremely Loud" and didn't walk away totally floored by Bullock? Apparently.

  • SNUBBED: Shailene Woodley for Best Supporting Actress

    To be fair, Woodley wasn't <em>that</em> great in "The Descendants," but she was on the pundits's lists of choices for basically three months. What happened? Well, the rise of Jessica Chastain for "The Help," plus Melissa McCarthy and Janet McTeer having strong backing as well.

  • SURPRISE: Demian Bichir for Best Actor

    Who? The veteran Mexican actor -- who you might remember as Fidel Castro in "Che" or from "Weeds" -- earned a surprise SAG nomination for Best Actor for "A Better Life" and carried that momentum through to Tuesday morning. A great underdog story and one of only three minority actors nominated by the Academy.

  • SURPRISE: Gary Oldman for Best Actor

    Gary Oldman had never been nominated for an Academy Award. That crime has finally been rectified after his work in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Is anyone upset about this one?