Another year, another list of Oscar nominees, and I will say this: the Academy really seems to have liked Life Of Pi more than I did.  Director Ang Lee’s visually stunning but emotionally inert 3D fantasy racked up eleven Oscar nominations, making it the second-most nominated film of the 85th Academy Awards.  I suppose you could do a whole lot worse – at least we’re not threatened with a Les Misérables sweep, though Hugh Jackman’s from-left-field appearance in the Best Actor field does the Academy no favors (I guess people thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt could wait a while for his first nomination) – but you could do a whole lot better, too, and that sentiment extends past Life Of Pi‘s baffling inclusion.

Where’s Cloud Atlas in the technical categories?  How come Moonrise Kingdom didn’t get a Best Picture nomination?  How come The Master didn’t score Best Picture, Best Director, or Best Cinematography nods?  What about the lack of Ben Affleck for Best Director – if Argo deserves recognition at all, and I think it does, it’s for Affleck’s canny handling of the material, rather than for Alan Arkin’s shticky supporting performance?

You know whom I would replace Arkin with, while we’re on the subject?  Christopher Walken, whose funny-tragic work in the destined-to-be-overlooked Seven Psychopaths is as good as his lauded turns in The Deer Hunter and Catch Me If You Can.  I love Jacki Weaver, but the bulk of her Silver Linings Playbook role consisted of looking generally terrified at everything Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro’s characters were doing/saying (although maybe I’m underrating her terror, considering what a frightening villain she made in Animal Kingdom).  And while I’m down with Denzel Washington picking up a Best Actor nomination for Flight – it’s his most affecting, least mannered performance since Malcolm X – I can’t fathom anyone liking John Gatins’ script enough to toss it Best Original Screenplay recognition; Gatins might have based it on his own recovery struggles, but that real-life vein didn’t immunize it from a whole host of problems, not least of which is John Goodman’s remarkably implausible third-act appearance.  Finally, where, for the love of God, is Rian Johnson’s thrilling, terrifying Looper?  Just because something is popular doesn’t make it artistically bankrupt.

Still, things aren’t bad all over.  We dodged Tom Hooper’s canted, near-unwatchable Les Misérables direction getting a nomination, while Steven Spielberg’s great Lincoln (funny, moving – the best thing he’s made since 2005’s Munich) actually bested Life Of Pi in overall nominations – twelve total – and it deserves every last one of them.  So do Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro; I don’t think Silver Linings Playbook is as good as the Weinstein Brothers and Jeffrey Wells want you to believe (and if I’m being honest, I think its Best Actress-nominated star Jennifer Lawrence was better – rawer and more authentic – in last year’s Hunger Games), but Cooper was a genuine revelation in the leading role, and De Niro’s work as his equally manic father contained the most potent shot of the old Bobby D. since 1997’s Wag the Dog.

De Niro has got some serious competition, though – with the exception of Arkin’s sympathy slot, the Best Supporting Actor field is a grudge match between masters, be they Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, or Christoph Waltz’s nimble, effortlessly enjoyable work in Django Unchained (one could argue that the size and scope of Waltz’s part merits Best Actor consideration, but I won’t carp with a just accolade).  I still haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty, but I know Jessica Chastain is a marvel – she needs to win all the Oscars everywhere.  And though I’m not as keen on Beasts of the Southern Wild as everybody else is (I can only spend so much time with the clinically insane), I can’t deny its many pleasures, so good on Quvenzhané Wallis and Benh Zeitlin for picking up surprise Best Actress and Best Director nominations, respectively.

The rest, they say, is history.  Or will be, I guess – the Oscars air on February 24th.  Here’s a complete list of the nominees for anyone playing our home game.


Best Picture

  • Amour (producers undecided)
  • Argo (producers Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney)
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild (producers Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, and Michael Gottwald)
  • Django Unchained (producers Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone)
  • Les Misérables (producers Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh)
  • Life Of Pi (producers Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark)
  • Lincoln (producers Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy)
  • Silver Linings Playbook (producers Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, and Jonathan Gordon)
  • Zero Dark Thirty (producers Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, and Megan Ellison)


  • Amour – director Michael Haneke
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – director Benh Zeitlin
  • Life Of Pi – director Ang Lee
  • Lincoln – director Steven Spielberg
  • Silver Linings Playbook – director David O. Russell

Actor In A Leading Role

  • Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
  • Hugh Jackman – Les Misérables
  • Joaquin Phoenix – The Master
  • Denzel Washington – Flight

Actress In A Leading Role

  • Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Emmanuelle Riva – Amour
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  • Naomi Watts – The Impossible

Actor In A Supporting Role

  • Alan Arkin – Argo
  • Robert De Niro – Silver Linings Playbook
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master
  • Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
  • Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained

Actress In A Supporting Role

  • Amy Adams – The Master
  • Sally Field – Lincoln
  • Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables
  • Helen Hunt – The Sessions
  • Jacki Weaver – Silver Linings Playbook

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Argo – screenwriter Chris Terrio
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – screenwriter Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
  • Life Of Pi – screenwriter David Magee
  • Lincoln – screenwriter Tony Kushner
  • Silver Linings Playbook – screenwriter David O. Russell

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • Amour – screenwriter Michael Haneke
  • Django Unchained – screenwriter Quentin Tarantino
  • Flight – screenwriter John Gatins
  • Moonrise Kingdom – screenwriter Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
  • Zero Dark Thirty – screenwriter Mark Boal

Foreign Language Film

  • Amour – Austria
  • Kon-Tiki – Norway
  • No­ – Chile
  • A Royal Affair – Denmark
  • War Witch – Canada

Animated Feature Film

  • Brave (directors Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman)
  • Frankenweenie (director Tim Burton)
  • Paranorman (director Sam Fell and Chris Butler)
  • The Pirates! Band Of Misfits (director Peter Lord)
  • Wreck-It Ralph (director Rich Moore)


  • Anna Karenina – cinematographer Seamus McGarvey
  • Django Unchained – cinematographer Robert Richardson
  • Life Of Pi – cinematographer Claudio Miranda
  • Lincoln – cinematographer Janusz Kaminski
  • Skyfall – cinematographer Roger Deakins

Film Editing

  • Argo – editor William Goldenberg
  • Life Of Pi – editor Tim Squyres
  • Lincoln – editor Michael Kahn
  • Silver Linings Playbook – editors Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
  • Zero Dark Thirty – editors Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

Sound Editing

  • Argo – sound editors Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van Der Ryn
  • Django Unchained – sound editor Wylie Stateman
  • Life Of Pi – sound editors Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
  • Skyfall – sound editors Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
  • Zero Dark Thirty – sound editor Paul N.J. Ottosson

Sound Mixing

  • Argo – sound mixers John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Jose Antonio Garcia
  • Les Misérables – sound mixers Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, and Simon Hayes
  • Life Of Pi – sound mixers Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill, and Drew Kunin
  • Lincoln – sound mixers Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Ronald Judkins
  • Skyfall – sound mixers Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and R. Christopher White
  • Life Of Pi­ – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott
  • The Avengers – Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, and Dan Sudick
  • Prometheus – Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, and Martin Hill
  • Snow White And The Huntsman – Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould, and Michael Dawson

Production Design

  • Anna Karenina – Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Production Design: Dan Hennah; Set Decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
  • Les Misérables­ – Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
  • Life Of Pi – Production Design: David Gropman; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
  • Lincoln – Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Makeup And Hairstyling

  • Hitchcock – Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, and Martin Samuel
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, and Tami Lane
  • Les Misérables – Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

Music (Original Score)

  • Anna Karenina – composer Dario Marianelli
  • Argo – composer Alexandre Desplat
  • Life Of Pi – composer Mychael Danna
  • Lincoln – composer John Williams
  • Skyfall – composer Thomas Newman

Documentary Feature

  • 5 Broken Cameras
  • The Gatekeepers
  • How To Survive A Plague
  • The Invisible War
  • Searching For Sugar Man

Documentary Short Subject

  • Inocente
  • Kings Point
  • Mondays At Racine
  • Open Heart
  • Redemption

Short Film (Animated)

  • Adam And Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels
  • Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
  • Paperman

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Asad
  • Buzkashi Boys
  • Curfew
  • Death of a Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw)
  • Henry

Music (Original Song)

  • “Before My Time” – Chasing Ice, music and lyric by J. Ralph
  • “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” – Ted, music by Walter Murphy and lyrics by Seth Macfarlane
  • “Pi’s Lullaby” – Life Of Pi, music by Mychael Danna and lyrics by Bombay Jayashri
  • “Skyfall” – Skyfall, music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
  • “Suddenly” – Les Misérables, music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Costume Design

  • Anna Karenina – designer Jacqueline Durran
  • Les Misérables – designer Paco Delgado
  • Lincoln – designer Joanna Johnston
  • Mirror Mirror – designer Eiko Ishioka
  • Snow White And The Huntsman – designer Colleen Atwood

Culture LINCOLN and LIFE OF PI Top the List of Oscar Nominees at...