Hugo and The Artist Lead 2012 Oscar® Nominations!


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled the nominations for the 84th Academy Awards this morning and the big surprise was that Martin Scorsese’s Hugo lead the pack with eleven, while Michel Hazanavicius’ silent film The Artist received ten.

Under the Academy’s new rules – and sliding scale for Best Picture nominations – Hugo and The Artist were joined by seven other films, one less than the maximum allowable.

The complete list of nominations – and a few words of commentary – follow the jump.

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Demián Bichir in A Better Life
  • George Clooney in The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin in The Artist
  • Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  • Brad Pitt in Moneyball

With an overabundance of fine performances to choose from here, Only Demián Bichir is in any way a surprise – except maybe for the absence of Leonardo DiCaprio, whose powerhouse performance in ‘J. Edgar’ was probably counterbalanced by the film being less than wonderful. The same argument could be made for the absence of Michael Fassbender whose brilliance in Shame was its sole redeeming feature. On the other hand, Drive was all Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks – but Brooks’ lack of a nomination may be the bigger snub..

As good as he is in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Gary Oldman ‘s nomination may well be, in part, a make-up call for ignoring him in several brilliant performances over the course of his career [does this make him a sentimental favorite to win? Good question].

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn
  • Jonah Hill in Moneyball
  • Nick Nolte in Warrior
  • Christopher Plummer in Beginners
  • Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The only real surprise here is the inclusion of Max Von Sydow, but given that the critically lukewarm Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close garnered a Best Picture nomination, someone in the film had to get an acting nom and Von Sydow played the kind of odd but sympathetic character the Academy loves. Although he wasn’t really a long shot, it’s delightful to see Jonah Hill nominated – he was so good in Moneyball but I thought his background in R-rated comedies might work against him.

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
  • Viola Davis in The Help
  • Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
  • Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn

For me, at least, the big surprise here is the absence of Tilda Swinton. Her portrayal of a mother agonizing over her eldest child’s horrific actions in We Need To Talk About Kevin is truly harrowing. And while Meryl Streep’s umpty-umpth nomination is not a surprise, I can’t help but think Kristen Wiig [Bridesmaids] or Adepero Oduye [Pariah] were more deserving.

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Bérénice Bejo in The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain in The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
  • Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs
  • Octavia Spencer in The Help

No real surprises here, though Shailene Woodley [The Descendants] or Evan Rachel Wood [The Ides of March] could just as easily have nominated and it wouldn’t have been a surprise, either.

Animated Feature Film

  • A Cat in Paris Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • Chico & Rita Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • Puss in Boots Chris Miller
  • Rango Gore Verbinski

I’m more than a little surprised that Arthur Christmas wasn’t nominated. Maybe the Academy saw it as just another brilliant Aardman film and went in another direction. Personally, I’m relieved to see The Adventures of Tintin missing here. It was a film that lacked everything except action – and it had so much of that, that there wasn’t room for characterization. Excellent score by the usually ham-fisted John Williams, too.

Art Direction

  • The Artist
    Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
  • Hugo
    Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • Midnight in Paris
    Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
  • War Horse
    Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales


  • The Artist Guillaume Schiffman
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Jeff Cronenweth
  • Hugo Robert Richardson
  • The Tree of Life Emmanuel Lubezki
  • War Horse Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

  • Anonymous Lisy Christl
  • The Artist Mark Bridges
  • Hugo Sandy Powell
  • Jane Eyre Michael O’Connor
  • W.E. Arianne Phillips


  • The Artist Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants Alexander Payne
  • Hugo Martin Scorsese
  • Midnight in Paris Woody Allen
  • The Tree of Life Terrence Malick

Steven Spielberg wasn’t nominated for War Horse. Good call.

The category would have been just as strong if Tate Taylor [The Help], Bennett Miller [Moneyball], or David Fincher [The Girl With The Daragon Tattoo] had slid into that fifth slot instead of Malik.

Documentary (Feature)

  • Hell and Back Again
    Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
    Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
    Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
  • Pina
    Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
  • Undefeated
    TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
    Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • God Is the Bigger Elvis
    Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • Incident in New Baghdad
    James Spione
  • Saving Face
    Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
    Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

  • The Artist Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • The Descendants Kevin Tent
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • Hugo Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Moneyball Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

  • Bullhead Belgium
  • Footnote Israel
  • In Darkness Poland
  • Monsieur Lazhar Canada
  • A Separation Iran


  • Albert Nobbs
    Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • The Iron Lady
    Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

  • The Adventures of Tintin John Williams
  • The Artist Ludovic Bource
  • Hugo Howard Shore
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Alberto Iglesias
  • War Horse John Williams

John Williams’ score for War Horse is ponderous and calls too much attention to itself. He is much better served by the nomination for his score for Tintin – it was much more controlled and nuanced.

Music (Original Song)

  • Man or Muppet from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • “Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Picture

  • The Artist Thomas Langmann, Producer
  • The Descendants Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Scott Rudin, Producer
  • The Help Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • Hugo Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • Midnight in Paris Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • Moneyball Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • The Tree of Life Nominees to be determined
  • War Horse Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

War Horse and Extremely Loud do not belong here when Drive, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and Margin Call – both much better films [and I really liked War Horse!] – are ignored.

Short Film (Animated)

  • Dimanche/Sunday Patrick Doyon
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
  • La Luna Enrico Casarosa
  • A Morning Stroll Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • Wild Life Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

  • Pentecost Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
  • Raju Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • The Shore Terry George and Oorlagh George
  • Time Freak Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • Tuba Atlantic Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

  • Drive Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Ren Klyce
  • Hugo Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • War Horse Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • Hugo
    Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • Moneyball
    Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
    Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • War Horse
    Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • Hugo
    Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
  • Real Steel
    Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
    Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • The Descendants Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
  • Hugo Screenplay by John Logan
  • The Ides of March Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • Moneyball Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin  Story by Stan Chervin
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Again, it’s a surprise to not see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo here – though it’s hard to see what it could have replaced..

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Artist Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • Bridesmaids Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • Margin Call Written by J.C. Chandor
  • Midnight in Paris Written by Woody Allen
  • A Separation Written by Asghar Farhadi

Bridesmaids’ second nom is probably a mercy nom since it doesn’t stand a chance here.