Movie nerds like myself wait all year to see what films will be nominated for the Academy Award, the prestigious gold statue awarded to “the best” in film for the previous year.

For those of us who love cinema and spend a couple hundred dollars (dinner, popcorn, soda included) going to the movies every year to see films that will not only entertain, but to inspire and dream.

Every year there are films that after one viewing you know will be nominated. Then there are those nominations that you raise an eye-brow at. And then, there are those movies that you just don’t get. 2011 was no different. I’ve compartmentalized some of the nominees this year into the general reactions they’ve evoked.


“Well duh, of course that was going to be nominated.”


Hugo – With 11 nominations, Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece has the opportunity to win more awards than any other films this year. You didn’t read that wrong, I said “masterpiece.” The 3D film (which you must see in 3D) not only is a story that inspires imagination but also is Marty’s love letter to cinema.

The Descendants – Alexander Payne gets another nomination for best picture & director, while George Clooney pulls in another chance to win a gold statute for best Actor, for their bitter-bittersweet comedy about a family dealing with trauma.


“I’m incredibly excited that Tree of Life got some love”


That’s actually my entire argument here. Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life is one of the most beautifully shot and fantastic films I saw all year. It didn’t always make linear sense, but it was a stunning piece of cinema. Although Brad Pitt was nominated for Moneyball instead of Life (which is a shame), the film was honored with nominations for picture, cinematography and directing.


“How the heck did that get nominated?”



Obligatory Brad Pitt pic.

Moneyball – I saw Moneyball. I enjoyed Moneyball. I thought it was very enjoyable movie. But Oscar worthy? I’m not sure about that. Evidently the Academy thought that it was a great film. They thought Brad Pitt played an intriguing character and Jonah Hill was spellbinding. Again, both of them were good, but I don’t think they will win it in the postseason (see what I did there…Oakland A’s fans, I’m looking at you).

Melissa McCarthyBridesmaids was funny and McCarthy (who is arguably one of the breakout stars of last year) was funny in it, but when I compare her against other comedic roles nominated for Oscars in the past, it doesn’t hold up.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – In full disclosure, I haven’t seen this yet. In full disclosure, I wasn’t going to. The film has received very critical reviews, and is currently rotten at 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, but received a best picture nomination. The question is…how?


“Wait…where is…”



“Up yours, Bamboo Harvester. And you too Wilbur. I had Spielberg backing me up. What’d you have?”

Spielberg – Is NOT NOMINATED for best director. War Horse grabs a best picture nomination, but evidently being able to direct a World War I movie as told through the eyes of a horse, and have it nominated for best picture does not mean you are nominated for best director.

Adventures of Tin-Tin – Although it was playful and creative and showcased cutting-edge animation, the academy didn’t think it was good enough to be nominated for best animated feature.

The other three songs for “Best Original Song” – because there are only two songs nominated and there were at least two other original songs that could have been nominated. I know it was a bad year for movies, evidently the year of original movie songs was even worse.

Drive or any of the bazillion movies Ryan Gosling was awesome in this year – Drive was an incredible film and should’ve been nominated for cinematography and screenplay at the very least. Instead it has a nomination for sound editing. That star of Drive, Gosling, was also pretty good in the Ides of March and Crazy, Stupid, Love, but received no love from the Academy.