Unusual Number of Oscar Nominees Feature Severed Extremities, Oral Sex
Film critic Steven Rea "goes out on a limb" and proclaims this the biggest year ever for amputations that attract Oscar interest. But oral sex scenes still win more kudos.
"I believe this is the first time in Oscar history that four of the best picture candidates share a rather grisly theme: severed extremities," writes Rea.
SPOILER ALERT: "In 127 Hours, an experienced hiker must self-amputate [though as Danny Boyle reassures The Hollywood Reporter, "There's a hole in the rock that his hand goes into! It's trompe l'oeil. It really isn't real."]. In True Grit, the movie's resolute heroine loses her arm; in Winter's Bone, a teenage daughter must hack off a watery corpse's hands. And in Toy Story 3, Mr. Potato Head [Don Rickles] loses just about every appendage."
Other non-best picture Oscar nominees with a slicing theme: Alice in Wonderland, whose Helena Bonham Carter yells, "Off with their heads!" and The Town, wherein the late, immensely great Pete Postlethwaite, apt to have a tribute at the Oscar ceremony, calmly snips roses and tells Ben Affleck, "You're going to do this for me or I'll clip your nuts, like I clipped your daddy's."
But oral sex scenes seem to be the better plaudit-magnet shock tactic: You'll find them in Carlos, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, The Kids Are All Right, Greenberg, Love and Other Drugs, The Good Wife, Mad Men and almost but not quite in Somewhere (Stephen Dorff falls asleep too soon) and Boardwalk Empire (Michael Pitt's son wakes up too soon). Remember how much trouble Vincent Gallo got in for the oral-sex-intensive The Brown Bunny? Poor guy was just ahead of the curve.
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Scott, whose THR coverage appears both in print and online, is one of the film industry's most experienced and trusted awards analysts, and possesses one of the strongest track records at forecasting the Oscars. His best showings came in 2006 and 2013, when he called 21 of 24 winners; he was also the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). An alumnus of Brandeis University, he previously ran "The Feinberg Files" blog for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and is writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 350 high-profile Hollywood figures.
Gregg contributes awards news, features online, and "The Race" column in print.
Tim contributes awards news and features, both in print and online.