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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 28, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 04
The King's Speech rules with 12 nominations
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The King's Speech rules with 12 nominations

True Grit, The Social Network, and The Fighter all close contenders for Oscar's top honor

by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN Contributing Writer

The King's Speech was the big winner when the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were announced. The chronicle of King George VI of England's battle with his chronic stutter was the leader with 12 nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Best Director for Tom Hooper, and Best Actor for Colin Firth. Additionally, both Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush received supporting nominations for their work in the film.

The presumed frontrunner The Social Network came away with eight nominations, including nods for Best Director for David Fincher, Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture. But in something of a surprise, the popular saga of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg only received a lone acting nomination - Jesse Eisenberg was singled out as a Best Actor candidate - while supporting contenders Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, and Armie Hammer were left out in the cold.

In something of a minor surprise, Joel and Ethan Coen's remake of the 1969 classic True Grit wrangled 10 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director(s), Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Jeff Bridges, and Best Supporting Actress for Hailee Steinfeld. The Coens last won top honors in 2008 for their film No Country for Old Men, while Bridges was honored just last year for his performance in Crazy Heart. If he were to win again, he would become only the third actor to win the award in back-to-back years (Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks being the others), and the first to do so playing a role already responsible for landing an actor an Oscar (John Wayne won the honor in 1969).

There were plenty of other surprises, not the least of which was Christopher Nolan being left out of the Best Director race. While his massively successful summertime thriller Inception received eight nominations including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, it failed to land a single acting nomination while Nolan himself was also overlooked. Instead, Black Swan helmer Darren Aronofsky and The Fighter cornerman David O. Russell took the categories final two slots, a move sure to annoy fanboys and girls everywhere who already feel like the Hollywood hitmaker was overlooked in 2009 for his direction of The Dark Knight.

More surprises? Ben Affleck's The Town was almost completely ignored by the Academy, the box office favorite receiving only a single nomination: Supporting Actor for Jeremy Renner. On the flip side, independent darling Winter's Bone walked away with four noms, Best Picture, Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, Supporting Actor for John Hawkes, and Adapted Screenplay, while both Danny Boyle's 127 Hours and Disney / Pixar's Toy Story 3 had far better showings than expected with six and five nominations, respectively. Also in a bit of a stunner, both highly acclaimed documentaries Waiting for 'Superman' and The Tillman Story failed to earn nominations, and barely released indies Gasland and Waste Land took their supposed slots while expected favorites Exit Through the Gift Shop, Inside Job, and Restrepo rounded out the category.

There were other minor shocks, like Mark Ruffalo earning his first nomination for his supporting performance in The Kids Are All Right and Australian actor Jacki Weaver getting a Supporting Actress nod for her work in Animal Kingdom, but by and large everything went pretty close to as expected (although Hereafter getting a nom for Best Visual Effects over TRON: Legacy and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is something of a head-scratcher). Overall, this year's race for Oscar continues to appear to be a battle between The King's Speech and The Social Network, and the ultimate victor won't be decided until the final moments 83rd Annual Academy Awards telecast on Sunday, February 27.

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