Paramount Pictures; Warner Bros.
Paramount Pictures; Warner Bros.
Does it count as a snub if you never believed that no matter how many Best Picture spots there were, there'd never be enough for your movies?
And so it came to pass that despite the Oscars' expanded Best Picture field, and despite Avatar's and District 9's success, Star Trek, The Hangover and Michael Jackson's This Is It were denied shots at the biggest prize.
Star Trek was treated like a sci-fi film, earning four technical nods for the 82nd Academy Awards. The Hangover was treated like a comedy that was unabashedly funny, rating zero nominations. This Is It was treated like a surprise critical hit nobody knew what to do with, its all-or-nothing gambit (the concert film was eligible for Best Picture, but not Documentary Feature) netting nothing.
Other snubs, surprises, trends and factoids:
• The theory that more Best Picture slots would mean more slots for so-called Oscar (read: serious, art-house) movies held true. Except when it didn't. Yes, A Serious Man and An Education, two films seen almost exclusively by Coen brothers completists and movie critics, respectively, benefitted. But so did The Blind Side (a sports movie!), District 9 (a sci-fi movie!) and Up! (a Pixar movie!).
• Yes, the expanded-field thing did what it was supposed to do, after all…Three of 2009's Top 10-grossing films made the Best Picture cut: Avatar, Up and The Blind Side. Last year's Best Picture bunch featured zero Top 10 hits.
• Because there are 10 Best Picture nominees but still only five Best Director nominees, the chance that winners in the film and directing categories won't match up has increased. Only not really. The Blind Side, A Serious Man, An Education, District 9 and Up, the five films that don't have a director in the hunt, realistically have about as much shot at winning Best Picture as Star Trek.
• Meryl Streep's Best Actress nod is her 16th, a new acting record, breaking the old acting record held by, well, Meryl Streep.
• While Streep seemingly always gets nominated, she does not always win. She has not won, in fact, since before fellow Best Actress nominee Carey Mulligan was born. (Mulligan's 24; Streep's currently 26 years-plus between wins.)
• Was Avatar's script as "bad" as Titanic's? James Cameron didn't get nominated for writing either one.
• Avatar will break Titanic's domestic box-office record any day now. It will not, however, top Titanic's Oscar success. Cameron's big boat movie won 11 times (off 14 nominations); Cameron's big blue movie can win, max, nine awards.
• This Is It wasn't snubbed in the Original Song category; the movie didn't have any original songs. (The movie wasn't snubbed in the doc race, either—it wasn't released in time to qualify. Its studio could've chosen to submit it next year, but decided to go for it this year in the non-doc categories.)
• U2 (Brothers' "Winter") and Paul McCartney (Everybody's Fine's "I Want to Come Home"), both Golden Globe nominees, were snubbed in the Original Song category.
• Say, remember that delightful romantic-comedy (500) Days of Summer? Oscar didn't. Nothing.
• Once, onetime Best Actress winner Marion Cotillard looked like she might save Nine from awards-season obscurity. Instead, Penélope Cruz got the film's lone acting nod. (Overall, the box-office bust managed four nods.)
• You may have not heard of The Secret of Kells, but the folks who made Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs likely will never forget the film that "stole" its nomination for Animated Feature.
• For those keeping score at home, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince got one nomination (cinematography); New Moon got zero.
• For all its explosions, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen surprisingly figured in only one category: sound mixing.
• Not nominated, but not surprised: Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds).