So, Oscar nominations are out this morning and for the most part I am satisfied. I am overjoyed (albeit not overly surprised) to see War Horse and Hugo nominated for Best Picture. I'm a little disappointed that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--Part 2 was not nominated for Best Picture, although I knew it was always a long shot. But hey, how often does it happen that two of the Best Picture nominees are based on children's novels? Has that ever happened in a single year before? Off the top of my head, I can only think of two other Best Picture nominees from any year that were based on children's literature: Babe and Beauty and the Beast.
If War Horse wins, I'll be happy. If Hugo wins, I'll be happy. If The Artist wins, I'll be happy because that makes it more likely that I'll get to see it at some point. If The Help wins, I'll probably be happy because I loved the book, although there's sure to be some controversy about it. Also, based on what I've read and heard about it, it sounds like the film is a rather more flattened out version of the story, but I will wait until I get to see it before I make a final judgment. That's four out of nine nominees, so the chances of me being happy with the result are almost 50/50. Hooray!
I saw Rango and I loved it, so I'm happy to see it in the Animated film category. Too bad about Tintin being shut out, though. That surprised me. I haven't seen it yet, but I want to. Unlike most Americans, I had actually heard of the comic before (French class).
I'm happy to see John Williams competing against himself in the Original Score category, even though he probably won't win. I'm a little disappointed that Alexandre Desplat wasn't nominated for HPDH2.
When it comes to the sound categories, I am rooting for War Horse all the way. That movie wouldn't be what it was if not for the sound.
I'm also a little disappointed that Alan Rickman wasn't nominated in the Supporting Actor category, but perhaps it's just as well because then he would be up against the magnificent Christopher Plummer and I would be torn.
Part of me wanted The Muppets to be nominated for Best Picture, even though I knew it had no chance and I can't even make a reasonable case for it. Even though I loved it, if I'm honest with myself, it probably wasn't the best movie from last year that I've seen. It wasn't even the best Muppet movie that I've ever seen (although it was probably in the top three). It's not so much the movie itself as what it represents.
Jim Henson passed away a few weeks before my tenth birthday. I don't remember it vividly, but I remember it distinctly. It was tragic enough in itself, but even worse was the uncertainty that came along with it, uncertainty about the future of Kermit the Frog and about the Muppets in general. Since he died, I do not take the Muppets for granted; I appreciate everything they do. And I'm so thankful that, after all these years, after the rights to the characters have changed hands so many times, and after nearly all of the main characters (or perhaps "classic characters" would be a better way to put it) have been recast after their original performers stopped puppeteering due either to retirement or death, that the Muppets are still out there doing what they do best and have maintained their integrity.
Anyway. I'm pleased to see The Muppets nominated in the Original Song category, since that was always its best chance at being nominated for anything at all, but I'm somewhat surprised to see that only one of the songs was nominated, and I'm flabbergasted to see only two nominations in that category at all. Why so stingy, AMPAS? Be that as it may, if they were only going to nominate one song from The Muppets, I'm glad they picked the one they did. I personally prefer "Pictures in My Head" because of what it represents and because it's Kermit. But I also love "Man or Muppet" and, looking at it objectively, it probably is a better song:
Of course I want it to win, but it will be enough just to see it performed at the ceremony. Go, Walter! Go, Jason Segel! Go, Jason Segel's Muppet doppelganger!
I guess if I'm honest with myself, another reason why I wish The Muppets was more heavily favored with nominations is so that there would be more justification for including the Muppets in the telecast. Every year there's so much hand-wringing about how to get more people to watch the show when the most obvious answer is staring them in the face: Muppets and more Muppets! Virtually everything is better with Muppets!