As we all slowly come out of our post-holiday season stupor and look forward to all of the possibilities this New Year has to offer, we start out with my favorite season, award season. Recently, the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards were announced, and the live award show is set to air on Sunday, February 24, hosted by the funnyman behind Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane.
This year’s Best Picture category features nine films, and before everyone starts planning their viewing parties, I wanted to take a minute to go over the best of what cinema had to offer in 2012. This year’s Best Picture nominees are mostly still playing in theatres and haven’t yet been released on DVD or Blu-ray, so I’d encourage everyone to head out to their local theater to make sure to catch a few of these films before February 24th. If you can’t make it or if none of them particularly spark your interest, I’ve also listed several films tied to this year’s nominees that have previously won or been nominated for Academy Awards, and can also be picked up from your local Best Buy store or ordered on BestBuy.com
Life of Pi is right behindwith 11 nominations, including a Best Picture nod for producers Ang Lee and Gil Netter, as well as a Best Director nomination for Lee. Lee has previously been recognized with nominations for Best Picture and Best Director for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and also won the award for Best Director for Brokeback Mountain. Netter was previously nominated for Best Picture for The Blind Side.
Silver Linings Playbook received eight nominations, including Best Picture for producers Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, and Jonathan Gordon, Best Director for David O. Russell, Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro, and Best Supporting Actress for Jacki Weaver. This amazing cast is also no stranger to the magic of award night. Producer Donna Gigliotti previously won a Best Picture award for Shakespeare in Love, and was also nominated for a Best Picture award for The Reader, while producer Bruce Cohen has previously won a Best Picture award for American Beauty, and was nominated for the same for Milk. Director David O. Russell was nominated for his work on The Fighter, and actress Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for Best Actress for her role in Winter’s Bone. Robert De Niro’s work has certainly been praised throughout his long career with Academy Award nominations for his roles in Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Awakenings, and Cape Fear, and wins for his roles in The Godfather: Part II and Raging Bull. Jacki Weaver was also previously recognized with a nomination for her role in Animal Kingdom.
Les Misérables also received eight nominations, including Best Picture for producers Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh, Best Actor for Hugh Jackman, and Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway. Bevan and Fellner have previously been nominated together for Best Picture awards for Elizabeth and Atonement, while Fellner also received a Best Picture nomination for Frost/Nixon. Anne Hathaway was previously nominated for Best Actress for her role in Rachel Getting Married.
Argo received seven nominations, including one for Best Picture for producers Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney. Heslov and Clooney have previously been nominated together for Best Writing for the films Good Night, and Good Luck and The Ides of March, with Good Night, and Good Luck also receiving a Best Picture nomination, while Ben Affleck won the award for Best Writing for Good Will Hunting. Alan Arkin also received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Argo, and has previously seen nominations for Best Actor in The Russians are Coming the Russians are Coming and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, with a win for Best Supporting Actor in Little Miss Sunshine.
Django Unchained received five nominations, including Best Picture for producers Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone, Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz, and Best Writing in an Original Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino. Stacey Sher was previously nominated for a Best Picture award for Erin Brokovich, and Christoph Waltz has already won one award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Inglorious Basterds. Tarantino has previously been nominated for a Best Director award for Pulp Fiction, won a Best Writing award for the same film, and was nominated for Best Writing and Best Director awards forInglorious Basterds. For any Tarantino fan, there is a fantastic 8-Disc Collection that I would highly recommend.
Zero Dark Thirty also received five nominations, including Best Picture for producers Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, and Megan Ellison, as well as a nomination for Best Actress for Jessica Chastain. Boal and Bigelow have previously won a Best Picture award together for their work on The Hurt Locker, and Chastain was previously nominated for her role in The Help.
Amour has received five nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Michael Haneke, and Best Actress for Emmanuelle Riva. At age 85, Riva is the oldest nominee in her category in academy history.
Beasts of the Southern Wild has received four nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director for Benh Zeitlin, and Best Actress for nine year old Quvenzhané Wallis. This film has already been released on DVD and Blu-ray, and is also available to rent or buy through the online streaming service CinemaNow.