Opinion: The Nomination Notion in 2012

Awards season in cinema is one of those times in the calendar year where controversy invariably hits the red carpet, usually from the shock, sometimes drunken statements of stars or the questionable hosting abilities of those given the microphone. However, from a critical standpoint, one of the more dichotomies that is far more fascinating arises amid our apparent celebrity-obsessiveness is the worrying trend in the nomination process between American and British panels. As you may be aware, this past Sunday hosted the 65th annual BAFTA awards in the UK with the nomination list being announced just under a month earlier. Coming up in two weeks’ time sees the 85th annual Oscars ceremony, and comparing the lists and the omissions makes for interesting reading.

The reveal of the nominations for the American Oscars was met with some startling omissions, two notable cases that were granted acclaim from the British panel. Michael Fassbender is the first of those, having stormed 2011 with a bevy of sure-fire hits and compelling performances from action-packed X-Men: First Class to potent sex-addict drama Shame to a remarkable turn as Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre. 2011 was a break-out year for Fassbender as a leading man with a growing library of fantastic performances and a rising drawing power that matched his name recognition. While it can be said that his biggest role of the year was Magneto in X-Men and that the academies tend to focus more on realistic drama, Fassbender was ultimately a lock for nomination at least, and his snub at the hands of the American Academy Awards was astounding. Granted, he was represented in the BAFTAs in the Best Actor category, but such a prosperous year for the actor surely deserved so much more.

Furthermore, a lot of award hype surrounded the Ryan Gosling flick Drive and Leonardo DiCaprio’s sterling performance in average political biopic J. Edgar (review available here at https://rhettmedia.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/film-review-j-edgar/). Both were worthy of the rumours that were swirling around them, yet the American awards failed to recognise them. Drive received a multitude of nominations from the BAFTA committee, and was excitedly expected to make a charge at the Oscars, but its release date perhaps resulted in its failure to make a dent. In the meantime, George Clooney’s The Descendants and Spielberg’s money-spinner Warhorse that everyone has been raving about for weeks now got heavy representation across both sides of the pond, and it is overwhelmingly clear that they received so many nominations strictly for its release date and the series of critical buzz created that sticks firmly in the short term portion of people’s memories.

Awards nominations often relies heavily on the short attention spans that hindsight affords us, as it is ultimately to be expected that films released nearer nomination time will sweep the board, explaining the dominance of The King’s Speech last year and The Artist this year. While the films that win awards are often fundamentally worthy of reaching that pinnacle, it is alarming that our society has reached that point where considerations for an entire year of cinema seem to be limited inadequately to what’s been showing recently. It’s clear that the BAFTAs held a great deal more sentimentality for films earlier in the year than the American counterpart yet it seems counterintuitive for both to be swayed so blatantly by having something fresher-in-memory. It is inherently unfair that a number of exceptional films of the past year are rebuffed in favour of mediocre flicks just because of the release date and it’s something that needs to be addressed in order for the events to look like anything other than a chance to see cool celebrity pairings and drama-fuelled incidents which I’m sure we have to look forward to on February 26th.

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~ by jrhett on February 14, 2012.

3 Responses to “Opinion: The Nomination Notion in 2012”

  1. I thought Drive was completely robbed. It was probably my favorite film of the year.

    • Particularly considering there was a lot of critical hype surrounding it heading into the nominations. Bizarre decision-making. Thanks for reading.

  2. […] Opinion: The Nomination Notion in 2012 […]

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