This year’s Academy Awards nominees were announced Tuesday, and while I was abuzz with excitement over the fact that the actress who is playing Katniss Everdeen in the upcoming Hunger Games movie was one of the list presenters, people who actually see quality movies at regular intervals were both giddy and dismayed over news that Canada and Ireland will be especially well represented this year, George Clooney will be Pitt-ed against buddy Brad for Best Actor (see what I did there?), and Bridesmaids will not be getting the recognition it so richly deserves.
In the interest of full disclosure, though, I must admit that I kind of can’t stand the Academy Awards. As with most awards shows, I dislike watching the Oscars for the same reasons I dislike watching American football—the pacing is excruciating, there’s a super loud commercial break every five minutes, and the sympathetic pain of watching other people take hits is just too uncomfortable for me handle. Furthermore, I don’t think I’ve agreed with the Academy’s choice for Best Picture since Vincente Minnelli’s Gigi won in 1959 (which I wasn’t even alive to witness, so it kind of doesn’t count). Really, I only end up watching awards shows in the hopes that I will catch the train somehow going off the rails, a la Fiona Apple’s 1997 MTV Music Awards acceptance speech or Arcade Fire’s 2011 guerilla Grammy acceptance performance.
Still, for all my crankiness, there are a few details that truly excite me about this year’s show. For one, New Zealander Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords and Bret and the Tough Brets fame, is nominated for his heartfelt ballad, “Man or Muppet,” giving the Australians yet another reason to be upset with things. Other deserving people, like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara and Bridesmaid’s Melissa McCarthy, are also up for awards this time (and can we discuss how Gary Oldman has never been nominated before now?!). And while I wouldn’t call it the most insightful look into racism in film history, it does please me that The Help is getting some recognition and keeping the topic of race on American’s minds. Even if none of my favorites come out as winners, though, I still hold onto hope that the Jack Russell terrier from The Artist will make an appearance at some point, in which case we will all be winners.