BREAKING DOWN TODAY’S OSCAR NOMINATIONS

2 Feb

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  • “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” lead the field with 9 nominations each. “Inglourious Basterds” is close behind with 8, followed by “Precious” and “Up in the Air” with 6 each.
  • Noteworthy inclusions: “The Blind Side,” “District 9,” and “A Serious Man” for best picture; Penelope Cruz (“Nine”) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (“Crazy Heart”) for best supporting actress; “In the Loop” for best adapted screenplay; “The Messenger” for best original screenplay; “The Secret of Kells” for best animated feature; “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “The White Ribbon” for best cinematography; “Precious” for best film editing; “Il Divo” for best makeup; “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” for best original song.
  • Noteworthy exclusions: “The Hangover,” “Invictus,” “It’s Complicated,” “Julie & Julia,” “The Messenger,” “Nine,” “A Single Man,” “Star Trek,” and “This Is It” for best picture; Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”), Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (“A Serious Man”), Pete Docter and Bob Peterson (“Up”), Clint Eastwood (“Invictus”), Tom Ford (“A Single Man”), and Lone Scherfig (“An Education”) for best director; Matt Damon (“The Informant!”), Ben Foster (“The Messenger”), Tobey Maguire (“Brothers”), Viggo Mortensen (“The Road”), and Michael Stuhlbarg (“A Serious Man”) for best actor; Emily Blunt (“The Young Victoria”) and Abbie Cornish (“Bright Star”) for best actress; Alec Baldwin (“It’s Complicated”), Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”), Christian McKay (“Me and Orson Welles”), Alfred Molina (“An Education”), and Peter Sarsgaard (“An Education”) for best supporting actor; Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds”), Melanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”), Julianne Moore (“A Single Man”), and Samantha Morton (“The Messenger”) for best supporting actress; “Brothers,” “Crazy Heart,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Invictus,” “Julie & Julia,” “The Last Station,” “Nine,” “The Road,” “A Single Man,” and “Where the Wild Things Are” for best adapted screenplay; “500 Days of Summer,” “Avatar,” “The Hangover,” and “It’s Complicated” for best original screenplay; “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Mary and Max” for best animated feature; “The Beaches of Agnes” and “Valentino” for best documentary; “The Road,” “A Serious Man,” and “Up in the Air” for best cinematography; “Up in the Air” for best film editing.
  • Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) becomes only the fourth woman to be nominated for best director, joining Lina Wertmüller (“Seven Beauties, 1975), Jane Campion (“The Piano,” 1993), and Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” 2003).
  • The best picture nominations for Lone Scherfig‘s “An Education” and Kathryn Bigelow‘s “The Hurt Locker” increase the total number of best picture nominees directed or co-directed by women to 9. The 7 others: Randa Haines‘s “Children of a Lesser God” (1986), Penny Marshall‘s “Awakenings” (1990), Barbra Streisand‘s “The Prince of Tides” (1991), Jane Campion‘s “The Piano” (1993), Sofia Coppola‘s “Lost in Translation” (2003), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘s “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006), and Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan‘s “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008).
  • With her best actress nomination today, Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia”) extends her record number of acting nominations from 15 to 16. This is her 13th nomination for best actress — she also has garnered 3 for best supporting actress — which sets a new record for most best actress nominations, breaking a tie with Katharine Hepburn.
  • “Up” becomes only the second animated film to be nominated for best picture, joining “Beauty and the Beast” (1991), and the first animated film to be nominated for best picture since the introduction of the best animated feature category in 2001.
  • “Up in the Air” producers Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman become only the second father and son to be nominated together for best picture, joining Mario Cecchi Gori and Vittorio Cecchi Gori for “Il Postino” (1994). This is also the first nomination in Ivan Reitman’s long and illustrious career as a producer/director — he previously produced “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (1978), produced/directed “Ghost Busters” (1984), and produced/directed “Dave” (1993), among many other films.
  • Best supporting actress nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (“Crazy Heart”) follows in the footsteps of her brother, 2005 best supporting actor nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”), making them only the 9th example of siblings who have garnered acting nominations. The others: Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore; Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine; Vanessa Redgrave and Lynn Redgrave; Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty; Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda; Julia Roberts and Eric Roberts; Meg Tilly and Jennifer Tilly; and River Phoenix and Joaquin Phoenix.
  • “Precious” becomes only the fifth film with a cast composed entirely or predominately of black actors to earn a best picture nomination. The other four: “Sounder” (1972), “A Soldier’s Story” (1984), “The Color Purple” (1985, which then went on to tie “The Turning Point” (1977) as the biggest loser in the history of the Oscars by failing to win any of its 11 nominations), and “Ray” (2004).
  • Lee Daniels (“Precious”) becomes only the second black producer to be nominated for best picture, joining Quincy Jones for “The Color Purple” (1985), and only the second black director to be nominated for best director, joining John Singleton for “Boyz N the Hood” (1991). Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”), already one of only 12 black actors to be nominated for best actor, has given the 18th performance by a black actor to be nominated for best actor, and becomes one of only two black actors with three best actor nominations and five overall acting nominations, the other being Denzel Washington. Gabby Sidibe (“Precious”) becomes only the 8th black actress/8th performance by a black actress to be nominated for best actress. Mo’Nique (“Precious”) becomes only the 16th black actress/16th performance by a black actress to be nominated for best supporting actress. Geoffrey Fletcher (“Precious”) becomes only the 3rd black screenwriter to be nominated for best adapted screenplay, and the 6th black screenwriter to be nominated for any screenplay. And Roger Ross Williams (“Music by Prudence”) becomes only the 2nd black filmmaker to be nominated for best documentary short.
  • Matt Damon‘s performance in “Invictus” and Woody Harrelson‘s performance in “The Messenger” become only the 51st and 52nd performances by actors who have previously been nominated for best actor to receive nominations for best supporting actor, and Penelope Cruz‘s performance in “Nine” becomes only the 45th performance by an actress who was previously nominated for best actress to receive a nomination for best supporting actress. (This is the second time Cruz has received a best supporting actress nomination since her best actress nomination.)
  • Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, both best supporting actress nominees for “Up in the Air,” become the 65th case of 2 or more co-stars being nominated in the same category. Of the previous 64, only 19 have produced a winner (vote splitting is widely believed to have played a role in the 45 losses), the most recent being Catherine Zeta-Jones prevailing over her “Chicago” co-star Queen Latifah for best supporting actress in 2002.
  • Woody Harrelson‘s best supporting actor nomination for “The Messenger” comes 13 years after his best actor nomination for “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (1996).
  • Carey Mulligan‘s first Oscar nomination, in the category of best actress for “An Education”, comes 56 years after Audrey Hepburn’s first Oscar nomination, in the category of best actress for “Roman Holiday” (1953). Mulligan is — as Hepburn was — 24 years young; British; beautiful in a gamine way that allows her to appear both childlike and ladylike, and thereby come of age before the audience’s eyes; and nominated for a film in which she meets a man who helps her to escapes from the only life she has ever known and see the world anew before returning to where she came from. Hepburn won the Oscar. Can Mulligan?
  • Today’s best actor nomination for Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”) and best supporting actor nomination for Matt Damon (“Invictus”) bring the total number of nominations for performances in Clint Eastwood-directed movies to 12 — another of which was Freeman’s best actor nomination in “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), for which he won. Only five living directors have generated more Oscar-nominated performances: Martin Scorsese (20); Sidney Lumet and Mike Nichols (18); Woody Allen (16); and Francis Ford Coppola (14). 5 of Eastwood’s actors’ nominations have resulted in wins, a total that only Allen (6) can top.
  • Best supporting actor nominee Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”) — who speaks German, French, Italian, and English in his film — has given only the 33rd performance delivered largely or entirely in a foreign language to be nominated for an acting Oscar.
  • “Avatar” becomes only the 3rd film to gross over $1 billion worldwide and then go on to be nominated for best picture. The others were “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003).
  • “Avatar” and “District 9” become only the 3rd and 4th science-fiction films to be nominated for best picture and the first science-fiction film(s) to be nominated for best picture in 27 years. The others were “Star Wars” (1977) and “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982).
  • “Up,” which received a rating of PG from the MPAA, becomes the first best picture nominee with an MPAA rating of PG or lower in 4 years. The last was “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005).
  • Best adapted screenplay nominee “In the Loop” becomes the first day-and-date theatrical/Video-on-Demand release to receive a major Oscar nomination.
  • All of the people nominated for best director are also nominated for best picture except oneQuentin Tarantino is nominated for best director but Lawrence Bender is nominated for best producer of “Inglourious Basterds.”
  • The following are only the most recent actors to garner Oscar nominations for portraying real people on film: best actor nominee Morgan Freeman (South African leader Nelson Mandela in “Invictus”); best actress nominees Sandra Bullock (Ole Miss football booster Leigh Anne Tuohy in “The Blind Side”), Helen Mirren (author’s wife Sofya Tolstoy in “The Last Station”), and Meryl Streep (cooking master Julia Child in “Julie & Julia”); and best supporting actor nominees Matt Damon (rugby star Francois Pienaar in “Invictus”) and Christopher Plummer (author Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station”).
  • Today brought several noteworthy individuals the first nomination of their career: best director nominees Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) and Lee Daniels (“Precious”); best actor nominees Colin Firth (“A Single Man”) and Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”); best actress nominees Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education”), and Gabby Sidibe (“Precious”); best supporting actor nominees Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”), Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”), and Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”); best supporting actress nominee Mo’Nique (“Precious”), Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“Crazy Heart”), and Anna Kendrick.
  • Today’s 20 acting nominees, listed from youngest to oldest according to the age they will be on March 7: Anna Kendrick and Carey Mulligan (24); Gabby Sidibe (26); Maggie Gyllenhaal (32); Penelope Cruz (35); Vera Farmiga (36); Jeremy Renner and Matt Damon (39); Mo’Nique (42); Sandra Bullock (45); George Clooney and Woody Harrelson (48); Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci; Christoph Waltz (53); Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep (60); Helen Mirren (64); Morgan Freeman (72); and Christopher Plummer (80).
  • Today’s breakdown of nominations by studio, listed from most to least: The Weinstein Company (8 for “Inglourious Basterds” + 4 for “Nine” + 1 for “A Single Man” = 13); Sony Pictures Classics (3 for “An Education” + 2 for “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” + 2 for “The Last Station” + 1 for “A Prophet” + 2 for “The White Ribbon” + 1 for “Coco Before Chanel” +1 for “The Secret in Their Eyes” + 1 for “Paris 36″ = 13); Paramount (6 for “Up in the Air” + 4 for “Star Trek” + 1 for “The Lovely Bones” = 11); Summit (9 for “The Hurt Locker” = 9); 20th Century Fox (9 for “Avatar” = 9); Disney (5 for “Up” + 3 for “The Princess and the Frog” = 8); Warner Brothers (2 for “Invictus” + 2 for “The Blind Side” + 2 for “Sherlock Holmes” + 1 for “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” = 7); Lions Gate (6 for “Precious” = 6); Fox Searchlight (3 for “Crazy Heart” + 2 for “Fantastic Mr. Fox” = 5); TriStar (4 for “District 9” = 4); Oscilloscope (2 for “The Messenger” + 1 for “Burma VJ” = 3); Focus Features (2 for “A Serious Man” + 1 for “Coraline” = 3); Columbia (1 for “Julie & Julia” = 1)
  • In case you had any illusions that the world is fair: “Coco Before Chanel,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Il Divo,” “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” “The Lovely Bones,” “Paris 36,” “Sherlock Holmes,” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” are Oscar nominees, while “500 Days of Summer,” “Adventureland,” “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” “Bad Lieutenant,” “Big Fan,” “Broken Embraces,” “Brothers,” “The Hangover,” “The Informant!,” “Me and Orson Welles,” “Moon,” “Racing Dreams,” “The Road,” “This Is It,” and “Where the Wild Things Are” are not.

Photo: “Up in the Air” producers Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman become only the second father and son to be nominated together for best picture. Credit: Fred Prouser (Reuters).

14 Responses

  1. tesh 02. Feb, 2010 10:47 am #

    This is a VERY THOROUGH analysis by numbers, the best on
    the web, and just ONE HOUR after the announcement.

    I’ve been following your site for some time now; I wish
    more people knew about you.

    Congrats on your hard work!

  2. Cameron 02. Feb, 2010 11:27 am #

    Julie Christie waited 26 years between nominations, for “McCabe and Mrs. Miller” in 1971 and “Afterglow” in 1997.

    Also, you mentioned Matt Damon was nominated for portraying a real person twice, although he wasn’t actually nominated for “The Informant”.

  3. Editor 02. Feb, 2010 11:46 am #

    Cameron, Great catch re Christie! Thanks for reading so closely/writing in. That and the Damon typo have both been corrected.

  4. pda 02. Feb, 2010 12:09 pm #

    Hepburn had to wait 34 years between winning Oscars (1933 – 1968) not between nominations. The same is worth for all the people you list…it was between winning not getting nominations,

  5. Editor 02. Feb, 2010 12:13 pm #

    Thanks PDA — they’ve been removed.

  6. Matt 02. Feb, 2010 12:36 pm #

    Hey Scott – Another interesting tidbit: With Maggie’s nomination, she joins her brother with the “sibling” nomination for acting. Got me to thinking about the others: the Redgraves, the Barrymoores, the Fondas, Beatty/Maclaine, the Robertses, the Tillys, DeHavilland/Fontaine… are there others?

  7. Patrick 02. Feb, 2010 6:23 pm #

    Here’s another interesting fact: The double nominations for Up in the Air in Best Supporting Actress marks the 6th time in 10 years that a film received more than one nomination in that category (after Almost Famous, Gosford Park, Chicago, Babel, and Doubt).

    In fact, Best Supporting Actress seems to be the one acting category where a film can rely on to be nominated more than once nowadays, since if you look back at the previous nominees from years ago, the last time there was more than one Best Actor nominee in the same film was 1984 (Abraham and Hulce for Amadeus). 1991 was the last time a film had more than one nominee for Best Actress (Davis and Sarandon for Thelma & Louise) and Best Supporting Actor (Keitel & Kingsley for Bugsy).

    The last time a film received more than TWO acting nominees in the same category? You have to go all the way back to 1974 (DeNiro/Gazzo/Strasberg for The Godfather Part II)

  8. Beau 02. Feb, 2010 8:27 pm #

    First, your analysis is awesome. I have long been a follower of your Oscar observing. I just wanted to mention one small error. When you wrote about the studio nominations, you left out two nominations for The Princess and the Frog. The Princess and the Frog received 3 noms: Animated Feature and 2 Original Song. Thank you for your work. I don’t always agree with everything that is offered up here, but I always enjoy reading it and thinking about the thoughts offered up.

  9. Editor 02. Feb, 2010 11:24 pm #

    Haha — Herberto, thanks. And Beau, really appreciate your kind words and close reading — I’m correcting the nominations total for “Frog”/Disney right now. Best, Scott

  10. Editor 02. Feb, 2010 11:41 pm #

    Great point, Patrick! Last year, when I was writing for the LA Times, I spent more hours than I care to remember compiling a list of every instance in which co-stars have been nominated in the same category, and then calculating how often “splits” happen. As it turns out, this is the 65th example in 81 years of 2 or more co-stars competing in the same category as each other at the Oscars. (I’ve added this to the bullet points above.) In case the rest of the article is of any interest, you can see it here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/files/2009/01/when-the-enemy.html

  11. Perry 03. Feb, 2010 2:55 pm #

    I love your last paragraph – priceless and true…

  12. Andrew 04. Feb, 2010 8:36 pm #

    In the last bullet, are you implying that the first set of movies you listed arent worthy of the Oscars?

  13. Eduardo 05. Feb, 2010 4:19 pm #

    In the illustrious nominations note, you left out actor/director Tom McCarthy, who helmed the indie films “The Station Agent” and “He Visitor”, which a bet actor nod for Richard Jenkins last year. He received his first nomination as one of the screenwriters of Pixars”Up”.

  14. sohbet 23. Feb, 2010 6:46 pm #

    In the last bullet, are you implying that the first set of movies you listed arent

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