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"Beasts of the Southern Wild" received love when the Oscar noms were announced. The film had been completely shut out by the Golden Globes.
This year's Oscar nominations arrived a mere three days ahead of Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony -- and the slate of nominees for both events has a lot in common.
Thursday's Oscar nominee reveal was a first for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which traditionally waited until after the Globes showered statuettes on what the Hollywood Foreign Press deem the best and brightest in cinema and television.
Oscar overseers said the earlier announcement was simply to give the academy's nearly 6,000 members more time to see nominated films before the Feb. 24 ceremony. Stealing some of the Globes thunder by adding another set of nominations to the already overloaded brains of moviegoers doesn't hurt either.
But just how different are the lists when examined against each other? Not so much, it turns out. Like the Globes nominations, Steven Spielberg's civil war epic "Lincoln" continued to be the juggernaut of the award season. "Lincoln's" 12 Oscar nods and "Les Miserables'" seven shows that historical fare continues to dominate.
There were a few notable snubs ("Zero Dark Thirty's" Kathryn Bigelow and "Argo's" Ben Affleck being shut out of the best director race) and a few surprises (love for "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" in the best picture category). But overall the nominations for both award shows run similar tracks.
Rather than detract, the Academy's early reveal has added a new dimension to the award race by setting up a long term field of contenders, and allowing viewers to now have full comparitive knowledge of nominees as the season swtiches into high gear with Sunday's ceremony.
The Globes' dual best picture categories (drama and comedy or musical) previously allowed for a wider range of films to be included than at the Oscars, which contains only one category: best picture. Prior to 2010 the Academy chose only five contenders in this race. The number has since been expanded so that up to 10 titles can be nominated, ensuring a deeper pool of genres can be represented. This year they opted for nine.
The Academy's surprises include best picture nominations for indie darling "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (totally shut out at the Globes), and "Amour," the french-language drama about love in the twilight years that was also given a nod in the foreign film category.
Globe best picture-nominated films "Moonrise Kingdom," "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" were ignored by Oscar. While the latter was at best a random inclusion on the part of the Hollywood Foreign Press, the public and critical adoration of "Best Exotic" and Wes Anderson's "Kingdom" could easily have secured either film the tenth berth that will remain empty for 2013's ceremony.
Those same films were ignored when it came to the acting categories. Globe-nominated Judi Dench ("Best Exotic") and Emily Blunt ("Salmon Fishing") were absent when it came to the leading actress Oscar category, as were Maggie Smith ("Quartet"), Meryl Streep ("Hope Springs"), Marion Cotillard ("Rust and Bone"), Rachel Weisz ("Deep Blue Sea") and Helen Mirren ("Hitchcock").
In place of the above, Oscar called out little known acting talents Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") and Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"). With their noms, nine-year-old Wallis becomes the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award (she was 6 when filming took place) and 85-year-old Riva the eldest. Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Naomi Watts ("The Impossible") are up for awards at both ceremonies.
Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Daniel Day Lewis ("Lincoln"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Mis") Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master") and Denzel Washington ("Flight") will compete for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe in the lead actor category. For supporting actor, the Academy's only Globe substitution was to swap "Django Unchained's" Leonardo DiCaprio for "Silver Linings'" Robert De Niro. De Niro's placement alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master"), Alan Arkin ("Argo"), Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln") and Christophe Waltz ("Django Unchained") creates a field comprised of previous Oscar winners.
Anne Hathaway's powerful turn as the doomed Fantine in "Les Mis" received a supporting actress nomination from the Academy and the Foreign Press, making her one of the category's front runners. Again, the list of nominees were identical bar one spot, with two Aussie actresses vying for the different awards: Jacki Weaver ("Silver Linings Playbook") replaces Nicole Kidman ("The Paperboy") in the Oscar race. Weaver's inclusion places a "Silver Lining" castmember in every Academy Award acting category.
Where the Oscar and Globes really diverge is the best director category. "Zero Dark Thirty's" Kathryn Bigelow (a previous best director Academy Award winner for 2008's "The Hurt Locker"), "Django Unchained's" Quentin Tarantino and "Argo's" Ben Affleck failed to hear their names announced, even as they witnessed their films garner best picture nominations.
Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), Michael Haneke ("Amour") and "Silver Linings Playbook's" David O'Russell make the Academy's grade alongside Ang Lee ("Life of Pi") and Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln").
What the Globes reveal ahead of the Oscars will be made clear Sunday night. A win for Bigelow or Affleck as director could add credibility to the choices of the HFPA, or simply make the sting of the Academy's snub all the more painful.
One thing is already evident: handicapping viewers can now choose camp "Lincoln" or camp "Les Mis" confident in the knowledge there will be no nomination surprises down the track.