Mr. Movie

Mid-week rant: The Oscar nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the Oscar nominations for 2010. As always, the Academy takes few chances and the picks are very mainstream.

A quick scan of the list shows The King’s Speech picking up 12 nominations and True Grit getting 10.

The Fighter did well, too.

Last year, the Academy expanded the best picture list from five to 10. The purpose was to see if younger viewers could be enticed to actually care about the awards and the telecast. Good idea.

Last year, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin put us to sleep. Instead of going for more sizzle and less steak, the Academy this year grabs Anne Hathaway and James Franco.

While both are quite talented — he is nominated for a best actor Oscar and Hathaway should have gotten a nomination — they aren’t exactly what will attract the text messaging, iPod loving, TiVo and techno savvy Generation Y to the telecast.

And few of the Gen Y target movies did that well. The Social Network and Inception did end up as a best-picture nominees, but that’s about it. If pushed, you could add the popular Black Swan to that list.

But what about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World? Judging by the hate mail I got when I panned it, the flick did get rave reviews from other critics and is the kind of movie the Academy was supposed to pick as best picture fodder to entice those all-important younger viewers.

The Academy did get the 10 best-picture list right. You couldn’t say that last year. All are either good movies or if they weren’t that good, at least they are understandable picks.

The first glaring error I saw in the nomination list was in Best Documentary Feature. Missing is Waiting for Superman. It’s done by the same team that did An Inconvenient Truth, and the reason it didn’t get on the list may be an inconvenient truth that it was hyper-critical of teachers unions and picturing this nation’s education system as very broken.

The motion picture business is usually pro-union.

Glaring errors Nos. 2 and 3 -- Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit is not a supporting actress. She’s one of the three main characters. The Academy often does this, and it is something they ought to fix.

Number two. Amy Adams for The Fighter? It’s one I didn’t get for the Golden Globes and that I don’t get here. She’s a great actress and does a wonderful job, but this isn’t "best anything" work.

How about Julianne Moore for The Kid’s are All Right?? Better than Adams or Melissa Leo, who also picked up one for The Fighter. If you can put Steinfeld in that category, Moore could go there, too.

Others that ought to be considered over Adams, Seinfeld, or Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech: Leslie Manville, Another Year, Mia Wasikowska, The Kids are All Right, Chloe Moretz from Kick Ass or Mila Kunis, who shined in Black Swan.

One last gripe. Best Foreign Film. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo got left out. Great movie. And certainly more entertaining than the pitiful Biutiful.

The Oscar telecast is Feb. 27 on ABC. Here is the nomination list.

Best 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"

Best 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"

Best 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"

Best Actor:Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"; Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"; Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"; Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"; James Franco, "127 Hours"

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"; David O. Russell, "The Fighter"; Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"; David Fincher, "The Social Network"; Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, "True Grit"

Best Screenplay: "Another Year," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech"

Best Adapted Screenplay: "127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit," "Winter's Bone"

Best Animated Feature: "How to Train Your Dragon," "The Illusionist," "Toy Story 3"

Best Picture: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit," "Winter's Bone"

Best Foreign Film: "Biutiful," "Dogtooth," "In a Better World," "Incendies," "Outside the Law"

Art Direction: "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," "Inception," "The King's Speech," "True Grit"

Achievement in Cinematography: "Black Swan," Matthew Libatique; "Inception," Wally Pfister; "The King's Speech," Danny Cohen; "The Social Network," Jeff Cronenweth; "True Grit," Roger Deakins

Achievement in Costume Design: "Alice in Wonderland," Colleen Atwood; "I Am Love," Antonella Cannarozzi; "The King's Speech," Jenny Beavan; "The Tempest," Sandy Powell; "True Grit," Mary Zophres

Best Documentary Feature: "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "Gasland," "Inside Job," "Restrepo," "Waste Land"