Academy Nominates 9 Films for Best Picture

Jaap Buitendijk

"Hugo" sets the pace with 11 nominations, followed by "The Artist" with 10.

While Hugo, with 11 nominations, and The Artist, with 10 noms, led the pack, nine movies made the best picture cut as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced nominees Tuesday morning for the 84th Academy Awards.

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Surviving a new voting procedure that could have produced anything from five to 10 nominees, the widely eclectic best picture lineup consists of The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse.

In what has been called a wide-open Oscar season, the Academy reshuffled the deck once again, producing a number of surprises: Not only did Tree, a challenging meditation on the meaning of life, secure a best picture berth, but its director, Terrence Malick, who was overlooked by the Directors Guild of America, made it into the Academy’s list of best directing nominees, which also includes Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius, DescendantsAlexander Payne, Hugo’s Martin Scorsese and Midnight’s Woody Allen.

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The acting categories also produced their share of surprises: Demian Bichir, who plays a gardener in A Better Life, squeezed into the best actor race, which includes George Clooney for Descendants, Jean Dujardin for Artist, Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Brad Pitt for Moneyball. Other highly touted contenders like Leonardo DiCaprio for J. Edgar and Michael Fassbender for Shame were left out.

The best actress ranks included veteran Glenn Close, earning the sixth nomination of her career for Albert Nobbs, and Meryl Streep, racking up her 17th nomination, for The Iron Lady. The category also includes Rooney Mara for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn and Viola Davis for The Help.

STORY: Oscars 2012 Nominations Complete List

The Help also figured prominently in the supporting actress category, where two more members of its ensemble, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer, claimed a place at the table. They were joined by Berenice Bejo for Artist, Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids and Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs.

In the supporting actor category, Jonah Hill, who made the transition from comedy to drama in Moneyball, joins a quartet of veteran actors: Kenneth Branagh for Marilyn, Nick Nolte for Warrior, Christopher Plummer for Beginners and Max von Sydow for Loud.

Oscars 2012 Nominations: The Contenders' Reactions

Turning to the animation field, the Academy made some other unexpected choices: DreamWorks Animation picked up nominations for Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots, and Paramount collected a nom for the Western-themed Rango, but there was no mention of Pixar’s Cars 2 or Paramount's The Adventures of Tintin. Instead, the voters selected a French feature, A Cat in Paris, and the Spanish-and-English language movie Chico & Rita.

The Iranian drama A Separation, nominated for best-foreign language film, also scored an original screenplay mention for its writer/director Asghar Farhadi. The other foreign-language film nominees are Belgium’s Bullhead, Israel’s Footnote, Poland’s In Darkness and Canada’s Monsieur Lazhar.

In addition to Separation’s Farhadi, writer-directors dominated in the original screenplay category, where best directing nominees Hazanavicius and Allen also picked up writing noms. J.C. Chandor, who made his feature directorial debut with the financial thriller Margin Call, also received a nomination. Rounding out the category was the team of Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, who wrote Bridesmaids.

The nominees for adapted screenplay are: Descendants, screenplay by Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash; Hugo, John Logan; The Ides of March, for which best actor nominee Clooney was nominated along with Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon; Moneyball, written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin from a screenplay by Stan Chervin; and Tinker, written by the husband and wife writing team of Peter Straughan and Bridget O’Connor. The Tinker nomination struck a bittersweet note; O’Connor died at age 49 of cancer just as the film's production was getting under way.

Reacting to their nomination, Straughan issued a statement in which he said, "I wish more than anything in the world that my wife Bridget O'Connor — who did the lion's share of the adaptation — could be here to enjoy this moment. She would be so happy and so proud. I'm going to go and meet my daughter now and tell her how clever her mother was!"  

Among studios, Paramount had the most to crow about. Totalling up Hugo's 11 noms, plus three nominations for Transformers: Dark of the Moon and single noms for Tintin and Rango, the studio collected 16 noms, plus it distributed DreamWorks Animation's two animated nominees, Panda and Puss. So the studio could claim a total of 18 nominations.

The Weinstein Co. was the champ among indie distributors with its 16 nominations, including the 10 for Artist.

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures, thanks to movies like Moneyball and Dragon Tattoo, pulled in 13 nominations, while its company Sony Pictures Classics picked up eight from such films as Midnight and Separation. And that allows Sony Corp. to boast of a total of  21 nominations.

The complete list of nominations is below:


Best Picture

War Horse
The Artist
The Descendants
The Tree of Life
Midnight in Paris
The Help
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Viola Davis, The Help
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

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Best Actor

Demian Bichir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Supporting Actress

Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

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Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Director

Michel Hazanivicus, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

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Best Original Screenplay

Michel Hazanivicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation

Best Adapted Screenplay

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
George Clooney, Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov, The Ides of March
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, Moneyball
Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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Best Foreign Feature

In Darkness
Monsieur Lazhar
A Separation

Best Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots

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Art Direction

The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Midnight in Paris
War Horse


The Artist
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Costume Design

The Artist
Jane Eyre

Documentary Feature

Hell and Back Again
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Documentary Short Subject

The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
God Is the Bigger Elvis
Incident in New Baghdad
Saving Face
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Film Editing

Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kevin Tent, The Descendants
Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Thelma Schoonmaker, Hugo
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball


Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle, Albert Nobbs
Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, The Iron Lady

Music (Original Score)

John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin
Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Howard Shore, Hugo
Alberto Iglesias, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
John Williams, War Horse

Music (Original Song)

"Man or Muppet" from The Muppets, Bret McKenzie
"Real in Rio" from Rio, Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett

Sound Editing

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
War Horse

Sound Mixing

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
War Horse

Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

Short Film (Animated)

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Short Film (Live Action)

The Shore
Time Freak
Tuba Atlantic