Dan Kois: Yeah, the Oscars are ALL ABOUT narrative, and Harvey is a master at creating it. This year he's got his weight behind THE ARTIST, with its narrative of Rescuing-Cinema-in-a-Time-of-Need. My fondest hope is that HUGO's identical narrative will cancel THE ARTIST out.
Dianna Walters: It would be nice to see some new people win instead of Clooney and Streep every year. They are great but let's give someone else a chance.
Dana Stevens: She actually hasn't won best actress since Sophie's Choice in 1983! She's been nominated 17 times! I actually think her winning would be an exciting novelty. I think that category is basically between her and Viola Davis.
Troy Patterson: Dianna says that she's bored of seeing Clooney and Streep every year. Me too. Thing is, they keep doing very good work. And they ARE nice to look at. What if we disqualified them, but made them permanent hosts?
Dan Kois: Dana, I think Streep is a shoo-in, and isn't it moronic that THIS is the movie she will win for? Not ADAPTATION or PRADA or POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE or even JULIE AND JULIA, which was bad but a million times funner than THE IRON LADY?
Matt Singer: Are these the worst Oscar nominees ever or am I just a bitter TAKE SHELTER fan? Please don't answer that.
Matt Singer: A serious question: how does a movie as polarizing as EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE get nominated? Is it that beloved by Academy voters? Does Scott Rudin have blackmail material on all of them?
Dan Kois: Matt! Hi. I really think it's that crazy first-place-on-the-ballot thing. It doesn't seem impossible to me that ELIC could rack up 500 first-place votes—even if those were the only votes it got.
Troy Patterson: If I'm doing the math correctly, a movie scarcely needs 300 first-place votes to get in the game.
Jay Arntson: What do you think of the Jonah Hill supporting actor nomination? Apparently there were gasps by journalists when his name was announced ...
Dan Kois Not as many as when ELIC was announced for best picture! Jonah wasn't a surprise, in that he appeared in precursors, but he IS a surprise in that he gave a very restrained, subtle performance. In fact, MONEYBALL, for all its flaws, is exemplary as an example of naturalistic acting, which is particularly impressive given that the actors had to get their mouths around all that Sorkinese. That's why I'm surprised by Pitt's nomination too: neither one of those were showy roles, and I'm happy the academy recognized them—even if there were other unshowy roles I liked better.
Jay Arntson: Yes, for all of Moneyball's flaws, the performances grew on me as the year went on. Best animated feature seems like a toss-up to me. Thoughts?
Dana Stevens: I haven't seen enough of the animated nominees to speak to that, but this trailer for the surprise on the list, A Cat in Paris, makes it look pretty rad.
Jay Arntson: Wow, very cool! A Cat in Paris is the only animated feature I haven't seen but the video makes it seem very intriguing as a narrative.
Joseph Malefatto: I was really disappointed with movies in general in 2011; my favorite BY FAR was Hanna (which was completely ignored, as my favorite movies usually are).
Troy Patterson: Wasn't Cate Blanchett wicked awesome in Hanna? Maybe if the movie were identified as an action flick, it would easy to imagine her getting a nomination.
Joseph Troy: YES, although to be fair, she was also completely ridiculous. I love her in pretty much everything though. I liked Drive, but it's clearly in inferior Euro-action movie of the year.
Gary Goldman: Hi Dana, Dan, and Troy! I know we're chatting about the Oscars, but who gets your vote for the Razzies (let's limit it to worst film and worst actor/actress)? I personally think Jack & Jill should take home all three.
Dana Stevens: You asked that Razzie question in the right place. As it happens, Dan was on the Razzie beat and is attending the awards ceremony in a tuxedo! Dan, when do they happen?
Dan Kois: Haha, the Razzies! Read more at RazzieWatch.
Dan Kois: The short answer is that nominations are pushed back this year to Feb. 25, the awards are given out April 1, and JACK AND JILL will win everything.
Troy Patterson: What does it mean that no one involved with this chat can be bothered to cheer or to boo Midnight in Paris?
Dan Kois: Troy, it means that movie neither ruled nor sucked. It fades into the night air like a dream of the past.
Dana Stevens: Won't someone for the love of God think of Midnight in Paris … and the children?
Erik Stadnik: Maybe Midnight in Paris is getting over-recognized in a misguided attempt by the cinematic community at positive reinforcement. “We'll over-praise this charming but slight movie—just don't make another Curse of the Jade Scorpion.”
Dan Kois: Is there no one willing to go to bat for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS????
Dana Stevens: The over-recognition of Midnight in Paris was one of 2011's many small annoyances. And I say that as someone who gave the movie a generally good review. Everyone is grading Woody on a massive curve, I feel.
Steve Katz: I feel the same way you do about Midnight, but actually about Hugo with Scorsese.
Jay Arntson: My .02 cents on Midnight in Paris: Everyone I've talked with has really enjoyed that film and this comes from friends with very different tastes in films. Maybe it has a lot of crossover appeal?