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Oscar Nominations: They Wuz Robbed! 

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By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060

By now you’ve read or heard about the Oscar nominations.

Well, we beg to differ — at least a bit.

The Academy of Me, Myself, and I has taken a look at the slate of Academy Award nominees in the major categories conjured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (see related interactive) and determined that there was work of real artistic merit in 2010 that has been severely slighted by omission.

So, before we get too far into the monthlong celebration of those nominated while those ignored get lost in the shuffle and fade from view, let’s at least acknowledge the contributions of those who were deserving but were overlooked.

Think of it as a reminder to seek out the following special 2010 movies and performances even though they’ll be missing on Oscar night.

shutter island side1 Oscar Nominations: <em> They Wuz Robbed! </em>

(Leonardo DiCaprio in "Shutter Island")

To look at the slate of ten best motion picture nominees, you wouldn’t know that director Martin Scorsese made a movie this year.  Well, he did, as a matter of fact, and it was a terrific one at that.

Shutter Island is a superbly realized psychological suspense thriller that blends tension and horror with illusion/reality mind games that fascinate and envelop us.  This hauntingly nightmarish and deliciously convoluted chiller was certainly one of the ten best films of the year, anchored as it was by a great performance as a haunted and paranoid US marshal by Mr. Taken-for-Granted himself, Leonardo DiCaprio (right).

And speaking of DiCaprio…

You would be hard-pressed to find a lead actor whose collective work for the year was even close to his.  As fine as he was in Shutter Island, he was just about as audacious in best-picture-nominee Inception.  His star turn, which he characteristically makes look easy as the head of a team of corporate “dream thieves,” is compelling without being show-offy, and is a major ingredient in earning the strongly cerebral film our emotional involvement.

It would not have raised certain eyebrows if both DiCaprio’s lead performances were nominated. That neither got a nod is oddly nearsighted.

On the other side of the aisle…

rapace11 Oscar Nominations: <em> They Wuz Robbed! </em>

(Noomi Rapace in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.")

Not only should the best actress slate include Noomi Rapace, she actually gave the best starring female performance of the year in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — then played the role in two sequels as well.

But it’s a Swedish film (soon to be released in an English language version with the role played by The Social Network‘s Rooney Mara).  However, that doesn’t negate the amazing accomplishment of Ms. Rapace, whose tough, tattooed computer hacker Lisbeth Salander is ferocious and electrifying, one for the ages.

rabbit hole11 Oscar Nominations: <em> They Wuz Robbed! </em>

(Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart in "The Rabbit Hole")

Another lead who should have been a part of the slate of best actors is a guy who has been unfairly left off this list before.  In Rabbit Hole, Aaron Eckhart (far right) co-stars opposite best actress nominee Nicole Kidman as a grieving father trying to repair his marriage.

As sensitively excellent and grounded and moving here as he was audaciously reprehensible but charming in the similarly undervalued Thank You for Smoking, Eckhart turns in another star-making performance that will not quite make him a star.

social network1 Oscar Nominations: <em> They Wuz Robbed! </em>

(Andrew Garfield in "The Social Network")

The nominees in the best supporting actor category comprise a sturdy, deserving group, but there’s one name that’s missing. The Social Network has been deservedly acknowledged in many ways, but the supporting performance by Andrew Garfield as the seemingly wronged partner and benefactor is spectacular and is the heart of the movie.

The best supporting actress category has two names missing that should be part of the mix.

Lesley Manville in director Mike Leigh’s fine dramedy, Another Year, goes for broke by bravely creating a needy, desperate, flirtatious character who is so mesmerizingly off-putting that she makes you squirm in your seat.

nowhere boy Oscar Nominations: <em> They Wuz Robbed! </em>

(Kristin Scott Thomas and Aaron Johnson in "Nowhere Boy")

And Kristin Scott Thomas in Nowhere Boy gives an expertly quiet, heartbreaking performance as the woman who raised future Beatle John Lennon. Both are certainly among the best supporting performances of the year.

And although Inception received eight nominations, Christopher Nolan was somehow omitted from the slate for best director, as if the film directed itself.  The director of the snubbed The Dark Knight is snubbed once again. What gives?

So, all together now:   They… wuz… ROBBED!


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