Best Picture Oscar Nominations: A Mix of Genres – and Messages
by Phil Boatwright

The nominations for the 84th Motion Picture Academy Awards were announced January 24. With nine nominees in the Best Picture category, Hugo garnered the most nominations with eleven, The Artist following closely with -ten.

This year’s nominated selections for best film are a potpourri of genres and themes, with each of the films containing moments of insight, instruction or just uplifting entertainment. But it’s Hollywood folks, and very often, despite their artistic qualities, these choices bombard us with abusive content. I’ve included a link to the review of each of these contenders. The critiques contain the reason for the rating and are meant to serve those who still care about what they put in their head.

Click on the linked movie names to read our review.


The Artist
Hollywood 1927: George Valentin is a very successful silent movie star; the arrival of talking pictures will mark the end of his career; Peppy Miller, a young woman extra, becomes a major movie star; their lives intertwine and both find meaning – and love. (PG-13)

The Descendents
Matt King (George Clooney) finds his life suddenly dysfunctional. His adulterous wife is in a coma, he’s lost that Papa connection to his two troubled daughters, ten and seventeen, and his relatives want him to sell the land that has been in their family ever since the days of Hawaiian royalty. (R)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis are featured in this tale about a boy who tires to solve a mystery left by his father after he is killed in the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The Help
This is an empowering story about very different and extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project. (PG-13)

A young orphan lives in a Paris train station, having taken over his drunken uncle’s profession as the caretaker of the station’s giant clock. (PG)

Midnight in Paris
Coming to terms with the fact that he has little in common with his fiancée, a frustrated writer (Owen Wilson) begins roaming the streets of Paris at night, whimsically thinking of a better life in a better time. His illusions suddenly become a reality. (PG-13)

This sports biopic is based on the true story of Billy Beane – once a would-be baseball superstar who turned his fiercely competitive nature to management. (PG-13)

The Tree of Life
Director Terrence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The New World) offers up his fifth film, an impressionistic story of a Midwestern family coping with a death, embittered relationships, and haunting questions concerning God and the afterlife. (PG-13)

War Horse
A boy-and-his-horse story progresses into a WWI epic tale, with the animal affecting the lives of several people. (PG-13)

The awards presentation will be held February 26 and will be broadcast live on ABC, 7:00pm, ET, 4:00pm PT. The ceremony will be hosted by actor/comedian and veteran host, Billy Crystal.

For a complete list of Academy Award nominations, click HERE.

Oscar Trivia:

The 84th Oscar Ceremonies is being hosted by Billy Crystal. It’s his 9th time.
Who hosted it more times? Bob Hope – 19 times.
The first ceremony was held in a private banquet room at the Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, when just 270 people attended. The guests had to pay $5 and the winners were known ahead of time.
What husband and wife couple was the first husband and wife to win a Best Actor and Best Actress Oscar? Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier
Who were the first father and son to win acting Oscars for the same film? Walter & John Huston. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre