The Oscar Nominations: Who's In, Who's Out?

  • Publish Date: January 25, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 21 user comments

The King's Speech leads all nominees

Films with Most Nominations
1 The King's Speech 12 noms
2 True Grit 10 noms
3 Inception 8 noms
  The Social Network 8 noms

Tuesday morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards, recognizing the best films and filmmakers of 2010.

While The Social Network's status as Oscar frontrunner didn't require updating as the nominations were read -- the best-reviewed movie of the year received eight nominations, including one for best picture -- it was period drama The King's Speech that topped all films with 12 nominations. And, buoyed by nominations in multiple technical categories, the Coen brothers' western update True Grit finished in second place with 10 nods. Crowd-pleaser Inception collected eight nominations, while smaller films Winter's Bone and The Kids Are All Right also made impressive showings, with four nominations apiece.

Listed below are this year's nominees in all 24 categories.

And the nominees are...

Best Picture
Nominee Metascore   Nominee Metascore
127 Hours 82   The King's Speech 88
Black Swan 79   The Social Network 95
The Fighter 79   Toy Story 3 92
Inception 74   True Grit 80
The Kids Are All Right 86   Winter's Bone 90

The surprise here is that there isn't a single surprise among the ten nominees. If you go back and check our Film Awards Scorecard, these are the same ten films that have received the most honors throughout the never-ending awards season. While it also wouldn't have been shocking to see the Academy slip in a film like The Town, it appears that Oscar voters realized that the pickings were slim this year, and thus -- with few other options -- they stuck with the same group of films that everyone else has already recognized. It looks to be a two-film race between The Social Network and The King's Speech; will the Academy follow in the footsteps of so many other organizations this year and "like" the Facebook movie?

Darren Aronofsky
Black Swan
Joel & Ethan Coen
True Grit
David Fincher
The Social Network
Tom Hooper
The King's Speech
David O. Russell
The Fighter

While the director picks are mostly expected, if there are missing names here, they are Danny Boyle, helmer of best picture nominee 127 Hours, and Christopher Nolan, who was responsible for one of the year's most visually inventive films (Inception). Possibly working against both men was the fact that they also could be nominated in the screenplay categories, where in fact they were honored. It is likely that Russell and the Coen brothers took the final two director spots in their stead.

Original Screenplay
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
The Kids Are All Right
Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson)
The Fighter
Mike Leigh
Another Year
Christopher Nolan
David Seidler
The King's Speech
Adapted Screenplay
Michael Arndt, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, John Lasseter
Toy Story 3
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
127 Hours
Joel & Ethan Coen
True Grit
Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
Winter's Bone
Aaron Sorkin
The Social Network

Finally, we see a different movie -- Another Year -- make an appearance. And if there's an upset here, Mike Leigh's film is it, though the critically-acclaimed dramedy is certainly deserving of the nomination. But we would have been less surprised to see the trio of writers behind Black Swan taking that original screenplay spot instead. Otherwise, the story continues: no surprises. While Aaron Sorkin is an absolute lock to win the adapted screenplay award, the original screenplay category will probably be a two-man battle between Nolan and Seidler, with Nolan possibly getting the vote as compensation for Inception not winning any other major category.

Lead Actress
Annette Bening
The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman
Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence
Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman
Black Swan
Michelle Williams
Blue Valentine
Lead Actor
Javier Bardem
Jeff Bridges
True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg
The Social Network
Colin Firth
The King's Speech
James Franco
127 Hours
Supporting Actress
Amy Adams
The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter
The King's Speech
Melissa Leo
The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld
True Grit
Jacki Weaver
Animal Kingdom
Supporting Actor
Christian Bale
The Fighter
John Hawkes
Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner
The Town
Mark Ruffalo
The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush
The King's Speech

While the lead actress category could not have gone any other way without causing a major stir, the inclusion of Javier Bardem for Alejandro González Iñárritu's little-seen Spanish-language film Biutiful is a minor surprise, though not wholly unexpected. The truth is that there was no dominant candidate for that fifth lead actor slot, with Robert Duvall (Get Low), Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), and Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter) among the other possibilities. Both Lawrence and Eisenberg are first-time nominees; as for the potential winners, Portman and Firth will be tough to beat.

In the supporting categories, while Jacki Weaver and John Hawkes are not household names, their nominations are only surprising if you haven't been following the awards season. The inclusion of 14-year-old actress Hailee Steinfeld (another first-time nominee) is also expected, and validates the decision of her studio to promote her as a supporting actress candidate rather than as a lead. She'll also have a chance at winning; the competition for supporting actress seems wide open. The missing name among the supporting actors is The Social Network's Andrew Garfield; seemingly taking his place is Jeremy Renner for The Town. Look for Bale to win, though Rush is also a possibility.

Other Film Nominees
Animated Feature Metascore   Foreign-Language Film Metascore
How to Train Your Dragon 74   Biutiful 54
The Illusionist 83   Dogtooth 72
Toy Story 3 92   In a Better World n/a
      Incendies n/a
      Outside the Law 62
Documentary Feature Metascore   Documentary Short Subject
Exit Through the Gift Shop 85   Killing in the Name
Gasland n/a   Poster Girl
Inside Job 88   Strangers No More
Restrepo 85   Sun Come Up
Waste Land 79   The Warriors of Qiugang
Short Film (Animated)   Short Film (Live Action)
Day & Night   The Confession
The Gruffalo   The Crush
Let's Pollute   God of Love
The Lost Thing   Na Wewe
Madagascar, a Journey Diary   Wish 143

Toy Story 3 is such a dominant force in the animated feature category that the Academy didn't even bother completing its slate of nominees to oppose it; left out were films such as Tangled and Despicable Me that picked up nominations from other organizations. While the documentary feature category includes several expected nominees -- especially the economic crisis doc Inside Job and Banksy's entertaining Exit Through the Gift Shop -- relatively well-known films like Waiting for 'Superman' and The Tillman Story were frequently honored elsewhere but did not sufficiently impress Academy voters. Meanwhile, the foreign-language category is as mysterious as ever, with Canada's Incendies, Golden Globe winner In a Better World (a Danish film which doesn't open in the U.S. until spring), and Mexico's middling Biutiful getting nods as expected, joined by Greece's provocative Dogtooth (a film that appeared on many critics' top 10 lists) and the biggest surprise, Algeria's Outside the Law.

Original Score
Alexandre Desplat
The King's Speech
John Powell
How to Train Your Dragon
A.R. Rahman
127 Hours
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
The Social Network
Hans Zimmer
Original Song
"If I Rise"
127 Hours
"Coming Home"
Country Strong
"I See the Light"
"We Belong Together"
Toy Story 3

Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor kicked off his second career as a film composer in style, earning his first Oscar nomination for The Social Network. Meanwhile, for those of you entering Oscar pools, Randy Newman wrote Toy Story 3's "We Belong Together." Just sayin'. (Oh, and no songs from the musical Burlesque were nominated? Maybe it didn't deserve that Golden Globe nomination after all.)

Technical Categories
Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Inception The King's Speech True Grit
Matthew Libatique
Black Swan
Wally Pfister
Danny Cohen
The King's Speech
Jeff Cronenweth
The Social Network
Roger Deakins
True Grit
Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland I Am Love The King's Speech The Tempest True Grit
Film Editing
127 Hours Black Swan The Fighter The King's Speech The Social Network
Barney's Version The Way Back The Wolfman    
Sound Editing
Inception Toy Story 3 Tron: Legacy True Grit Unstoppable
Sound Mixing
Inception The King's Speech Salt The Social Network True Grit
Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Hereafter Inception Iron Man 2

More coverage to come

In the weeks leading up to the ceremony, we'll take a closer look at the nominated films and give you a chance to predict this year's winners. We'll also survey the expert predictions and evaluate different methods for predicting the winners. Finally, we'll examine past best picture winners to see how wisely the Academy selected in the past, and whether other films were more deserving of the Oscars. And then, next month, the big night arrives: the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco, will air live on ABC on Sunday, February 27th at 8:00p ET / 5:00p PT.

What do you think of this year's nominations? What did the Academy get right, and what films and performances did they overlook? Let us know in the comments section below, or check out our 2010 Film Awards Scorecard to see how the Academy's choices compare to other awards recently handed out.

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Comments (21)

  • Paul  

    Jason, Interesting, but I don't think 'In a Better World' is Dutch since I am from Holland and haven't heard from it . Seems it is Danish.

  • Jason Dietz  

    @Paul: Thanks -- that has been corrected.

  • Geek  

    No Christopher Nolan.... GRR.

  • Kyle  

    While the Coen brothers' work was an example of technical precision, Russel, I feel, like his film, would not be in discussion without the bravura performance by Bale, who was the emotional core and permitted all the other characters deeper elements of what it means to be human by their interaction with him. Christopher Nolan deserved the director nod over these two and should be competing with Fincher. It's a little confusing how the Academy let this one go. That said, the other directors turned in fine efforts and deserve nominations, I just believe Nolan to be in the upper three options, not just missing the cut.

  • Anonymous  

    Very pissed with no Nolan or Garfield. Also pissed with the low number of nods for Black Swan (should've been nominated for screenplay and Mila Kunis) and way too many nods for The King's Speech.

  • Jasper  

    "...the animated feature category that the Academy didn’t even bother completing its slate of nominees to oppose it"

    If you don't know how the number of nominees gets decided, please don't pretend to be a pundit. There were only going to be 3 animated films nominated and this was decided weeks ago due to the fact that less than 16 films were elgible for the category.

  • Carlos Rodrigues  

    And how about Hereafter? I do not understand n how a wonderful movie like that is tottaly forget.Long life to the best movie maker of the last 20 years,Clint Eastwood!

  • Elana  

    I was very surprised to hear that Mila Kunis was not nominated. Also very dissapointong to see the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo get completely snubbed! I thought it very good and Noomi Rapace plays the perfect Lisbeth Salander. Otherwise, I'm glad to see 127 Hours get a fair amount of nominations! It was definitely one of my favorites of the year! Can't wait for the show!

  • Alex  

    Am I the only one missing Leonardo DiCaprio for either Shutter Island or Inception? Why is he damned to never get an Oscar?

  • Will  

    Wow, I expected Tron: Legacy to get best art direction, if not best visual effects, but nothing?

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