Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Surprise Inclusion of 2010

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. The Surprise Inclusion is the third in a series of projects looking back at the past eight years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed.

Each year, the Oscar nominations announcement presents several shocking names and films. This series is devoted to analyzing the biggest and most surprising inclusion of all (in any category). It has nothing to do with personal opinion but rather with what was considered a surprise at the time compared with what most people were predicting. Once again, this is a film/director/actor whose nomination was unexpected.

The Surprise Inclusion of 2010:

The Coen Brothers (True Grit) for Best Director

Why it wasn’t going to happen: It’s not as if this nomination comes as a complete shock, but rather, it wasn’t expected for a number of reasons. In 2007, this duo won first directorial prize for “No Country for Old Men” after taking home a screenplay trophy back in 1996 for “Fargo.” In 2009, they managed their third Best Picture nod for “A Serious Man,” and seemed on track for another one for “True Grit” despite the Golden Globe shut-out for the film. When DGA nominations rolled around, they were the exact same as the Golden Globe list, leaving the Coen Brothers destined for recognition in other categories.

How it happened: Two reasons: the first is as a result of The Big Snub discussed two weeks ago, and the second is because sometimes being popular means getting recognized frequently rather than winning once and then being forgotten. Those unimpressed with the confusing sci-fi nature of “Inception” swapped out Christopher Nolan for this duo, and their film managed a record haul for a Coen Brothers film: ten nominations.

Was it deserved? In this reviewer’s opinion, no. The film wasn’t nearly as strong as the previously mentioned three films they made earlier in their careers. Nolan didn’t deserve to be ousted for them. As it turns out, the film didn’t manage to win any of its ten bids, putting it right in line with another (albeit much better) film from an oft-nominated director, “Gangs of New York.”

Come back next week for a look at the Deadlocked Duel of 2011. If you have a prediction or a suggestion, please leave it in the comments.

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