‘Hugo,’ ‘Artist’ vie for Oscar glory
Nominations out • Nine films are up for Best Picture.
Published: January 24, 2012 11:41PM
Updated: January 24, 2012 11:40PM
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When Lillian (Maya Rudolph, second from right) gets engaged, she gathers her maid of honor Annie (Kristen Wiig, far right) and her bridesmaids (from left, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne and Wendi McLendon-Covey) in the comedy "Bridesmaids," opening May 13. Suzanne Hanover | Universal Studios

Two numbers define this year’s Academy Awards nominations: Nine and eleven.

Nine movies have been nominated for Best Picture, thanks to new Oscar voting rules that require a minimum number of first-place votes to make the list.

The movie with the most nominations, Martin Scorsese’s family drama “Hugo,” got 11 nods.

And the 9/11 drama “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” in spite of a critical drubbing over its maudlin and exploitative handling of the World Trade Center’s collapse, picked up a Best Picture nomination even though it only received one other nomination (for supporting actor Max von Sydow).

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The nine Best Picture nominees, announced Tuesday in Hollywood, are: The silent Hollywood comedy “The Artist”; the family-in-grief drama “The Descendants”; “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”; the Southern period drama “The Help”; “Hugo”; the time-travel comedy “Midnight in Paris”; the math-meets-baseball story “Moneyball”; the cosmic strangeness “The Tree of Life”; and the World War I epic “War Horse.”

“The Artist,” considered the favorite for Best Picture, took 10 nods, including nominations for lead actor Jean Dujardin, supporting actress Bérénice Bejo, and writing and directing honors for Michel Hazanavicius.

The matchup of “Hugo” and “The Artist” pairs two movies that celebrate of the magic of early cinema. They also represent opposite ends of the technical spectrum: “Hugo” is a 3-D technical extravaganza, while “The Artist” is a silent black-and-white comedy.

The Best Actor category may be a two-man race between Dujardin’s portrayal of a prideful silent-movie star and George Clooney’s performance in “The Descendants” as a lawyer dealing with his wife’s imminent death and her infidelity. A surprise nominee in this category is Mexican star Demián Bichir, as an undocumented laborer in “A Better Life.” Also nominated are Brad Pitt as a fast-talking baseball executive in “Moneyball” and Gary Oldman as a savvy spymaster in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

Imitation is key in the Best Actress race, pitting Meryl Streep’s take on Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” against Michelle Williams’ version of Marilyn Monroe in “My Week With Marilyn.” Also nominated are Glenn Close as a cross-dressing waiter in “Albert Nobbs,” Viola Davis as a Deep South maid in “The Help,” and Rooney Mara as the anti-social hacker in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Two of Davis’ “The Help” co-stars received supporting-actress nominations: Octavia Spencer, who played a sassy maid, and Jessica Chastain, as an outcast Southern belle. Also nominated are Bejo as an ingenue in “The Artist,” Janet McTeer as a painter hiding her feminine identity in “Albert Nobbs,” and a surprise nomination for Melissa McCarthy as the uncouth member of the bridal party in “Bridesmaids.”

In the supporting-actor category, it’s a race among three veterans: Christopher Plummer, as a man who announces his homosexuality late in life, in “Beginners”; Nick Nolte, as the troubled father of two fighters, in “Warrior”; and Von Sydow, as a mute man with a secret in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” Also in the running are Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of Laurence Olivier in “My Week With Marilyn” and Jonah Hill as Brad Pitt’s number-crunching assistant in “Moneyball.”

Hazanavicius and Scorsese face off in the Best Director category, along with Alexander Payne for “The Descendants,” Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris” and Terrence Malick for “The Tree of Life.”

Two unknown European films - “A Cat in Paris” from France, and “Chico & Rita” from Spain - made surprising appearances in the animated feature category. The other nominees are DreamWorks’ franchise films “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Puss in Boots,” and the offbeat Western “Rango.” (Pixar, which has won the category the last four years, didn’t make the cut with “Cars 2.”)

Of course, there can’t be Oscar nominations without talk of who got snubbed.

The most glaring omission in many minds is Albert Brooks, for his non-comedic turn as a nasty gangster in “Drive.” (“Drive” received only one nomination, for sound editing, in spite of massive critical support.)

Oscar voters also passed up actors Andy Serkis, whose performance-capture work brought the chimp Caesar to life in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and Michael Fassbender’s often-naked turn as a sex addict in “Shame.”

Two of last year’s highly touted Sundance Film Festival hits were left without nominations: “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which received acclaim for Elizabeth Olsen’s star-making performance as a cult escapee; and “Take Shelter,” notable for Michael Shannon’s portrayal of a man receiving apocalyptic visions.

The 85th annual Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday, Feb. 26, from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. The show, with returning emcee Billy Crystal, will be televised on ABC (KTVX, Ch. 4, in Salt Lake City).

movies@sltrib.com

Three of this morning’s Oscar nominations are for films playing at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

The French-Canadian drama “Monsieur Lazhar” was nominated for best foreign-language film.Lucy Walker’s “The Tsumani and the Cherry Blossom” (in the Documentary Spotlight program) was nominated in the documentary short category.Grant Orchard’s “A Morning Stroll” (playing in Shorts Program I) was nominated for animated short.Meanwhile, these nominations went to movies that played at last year’s festival:

“Margin Call” got an original-screenplay nomination for J.C. Chandor.The documentaries “Hell and Back Again” (about a soldier’s return from Afghanistan) and “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” both were nominated for documentary feature. “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” was nominated for documentary short.

Full list of nominees from oscars.org:

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”

George Clooney in “The Descendants”

Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”

Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”

Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”

Nick Nolte in “Warrior”

Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”

Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”

Viola Davis in “The Help”

Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”

Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”

Jessica Chastain in “The Help”

Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”

Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs”

Octavia Spencer in “The Help”

Animated Feature Film

“A Cat in Paris” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

“Chico & Rita” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

“Kung Fu Panda 2” Jennifer Yuh Nelson

“Puss in Boots” Chris Miller

“Rango” Gore Verbinski

Art Direction

“The Artist”

Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

“Hugo”

Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

“Midnight in Paris”

Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil

“War Horse”

Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

Cinematography

“The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth

“Hugo” Robert Richardson

“The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki

“War Horse” Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

“Anonymous” Lisy Christl

“The Artist” Mark Bridges

“Hugo” Sandy Powell

“Jane Eyre” Michael O’Connor

“W.E.” Arianne Phillips

Directing

“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius

“The Descendants” Alexander Payne

“Hugo” Martin Scorsese

“Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen

“The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick

Documentary (Feature)

“Hell and Back Again”

Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”

Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

“Pina”

Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

“Undefeated”

TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement”

Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

“God Is the Bigger Elvis”

Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

“Incident in New Baghdad”

James Spione

“Saving Face”

Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

“The Artist” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

“The Descendants” Kevin Tent

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

“Hugo” Thelma Schoonmaker

“Moneyball” Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

“Bullhead” Belgium

“Footnote” Israel

“In Darkness” Poland

“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada

“A Separation” Iran

Makeup

“Albert Nobbs”

Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

“The Iron Lady”

Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams

“The Artist” Ludovic Bource

“Hugo” Howard Shore

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias

“War Horse” John Williams

Music (Original Song)

“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie

“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Picture

“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer

“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer

“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers

“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers

“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers

“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers

“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined

“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Short Film (Animated)

“Dimanche/Sunday” Patrick Doyon

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

“La Luna” Enrico Casarosa

“A Morning Stroll” Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

“Wild Life” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

“Pentecost” Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane

“Raju” Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren

“The Shore” Terry George and Oorlagh George

“Time Freak” Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey

“Tuba Atlantic” Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

“Drive” Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Ren Klyce

“Hugo” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

“War Horse” Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

“Hugo”

Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

“Moneyball”

Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

“War Horse”

Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”

Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

“Hugo”

Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

“Real Steel”

Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

“Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan

“The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

“Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius

“Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

“Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor

“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen

“A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi

Another Oscar nod

Max Zähle, a graduate of Hamburg Media School, has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short for his film, “Raju,” which will receive a free screening in Park City on Saturday sponsored by the Angelus Student Film Festival.

In 2011, Zähle won the Angelus Festival’s Patrick Peyton Excellence in Filmmaking Award for “Raju,” which festival organizers describe as an emotional short film about a German couple who adopt a young Indian boy, shot on location in Kolkata, India.

Three previous Angelus winners have earned Oscar nominations, including Luke Matheny of New York University, who won an Academy Award in 2011 for Best Live Action Short for “God of Love.” Last year, Matheny joked to the Tribune that the Oscar nomination was a consolation prize after his short, which won the top Angelus Festival award in 2010, wasn’t accepted for either the Sundance or Slamdance film festivals.

The free screening of Max Zähle’s “Raju” will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Mountain Vineyard, 1401 Kearns Blvd. Zähle will be at the screening and a Q & A following it.