In a previous post, our movie maven Alexandra MacAaron predicted who might get the Academy’s nod. Today, we present her thoughts on some startling (but sterling) choices among the nominees.

Yesterday morning I tuned in to the announcement of the nominees for the Academy Awards. Many of the best guesses I had made were confirmed, but there were several surprises. My biggest mistake was failing to choose Hugo in any category. Yet Martin Scorsese’s sweeping family adventure, a love letter to the cinema, earned a record number of nominations (11), including Best Picture and Best Director nods.  

Melissa McCarthy's work in 'Bridesmaids' reminds you why she won that Emmy.

For Best Supporting Actress I made one wrong guess: Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) beat my choice, young Shailene Woodley (The Descendants).  Other nominees in this category were Jessica Chastain, Octavia Spencer, Bérénice Bojo, and Melissa McCarthy (right). Some speculated about the plus-sized McCarthy’s nomination, but her movie, Bridesmaids, was a huge hit, making much money for many people. And McCarthy, with a recent Emmy for her TV show Mike & Molly, is very much the lady of the hour.

Rooney Mara in 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

My predictions for Best Actress came close.  Although Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) wasn’t nominated and Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) was, the rest of the field is exactly what most critics expected: Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, and Michelle Williams. It was heartening that Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig were nominated for the screenplay of their gross-me-out chick-flick Bridemaids. And Bridget O’Connor (with Peter Straughan) was honored for her adapted screenplay for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.


Demian Bichir in "A Better Life."

I was most excited about the nomination of Demian Bichir, nominated as Best Actor (for A Better Life).  For Best Supporting Actor, the biggest surprise was The Warrior’s Nick Nolte for his portrayal of a recovering alcoholic, born-again Christian, mixed martial arts trainer. 

The closest our gender came to a directing nomination was Jennifer Yuh Nelson, whose Kung Fu Panda 2 is up for Best Animated Feature Film.  On February 26, expect the Hollywood boys’ club business as usual as Martin Scorsese (Hugo), Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Terrence Malick (Tree of Life), Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), and Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist) compete for Best Director  

Kathleen Kennedy at the London premiere of "War Horse." (Wikimedia)

A number of the nine Best Picture nominations this year have female producers:  Letty Aronson (with Steve Tenenbaum) for Midnight in Paris, Rachael Horovits (with Michael De Luca and Brad Pitt) for Moneyball, and Kathleen Kennedy (with Steven Spielberg) for War Horse.  It is unclear whether any of the women among the fifteen listed producers for The Tree of Life would be among the nominated producers; yesterday’s announcement indicated, “nominees to be determined.” 

It was disappointing, but not unexpected, that so few women appeared in the top categories. There are fewer women than men in power positions in the movie industry, and those who do achieve success have to fight for high-profile titles (and big budgets).

I’d like to see the numbers for women in all categories increase, as they should. I’d like my teenage daughter to grow up and see more women on the screen and behind the camera. But it won’t happen this year. Next month’s Oscars will be about a mere handful of talented women amid a whole industry of men. Show Business as usual. 

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