Martin Scorsese’s lavish 3D adventure Hugo earned 11 Oscar nominations, just ahead of hotly-tipped silent film The Artist with 10 nods for Hollywood’s top awards. Baseball film Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and veteran director Steven Spielberg’s equine epic War Horse each got six nods for the Academy Awards, to be presented in February. Meryl Streep received her 17th Oscar nomination for a gripping performance as former British premier Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, while Pitt and George Clooney are among those fighting it out for best actor category.
The nominations for Hugo included the best picture category, where it is up against eight other films including The Artist, which has been a favourite for the Oscars after a string of wins and nods in other awards shows. The Scorsese film — his debut in 3D — is a visually rich tale set in 1930s Paris, about an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station and is obsessed with clock-making and early film pioneer Georges Melies.
The film stars British teenage actor Asa Butterfield in the title role with Ben Kingsley as Melies and British Borat and Bruno star Sacha Baron Cohen as the lugubrious station inspector. Scorsese said he was “deeply honoured” by the nominations, and joked about the challenges he faced in making Hugo. “Every picture is a challenge, and this one — where I was working with 3D, HD and Sacha Baron Cohen for the first time — was no exception,” he said, teasing the flamboyant star who acts with understated comedy in the film.
The Artist has already been nominated for best film by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and won the top prize from the Producers Guild of America (PGA) last week — both seen as key indicators of Oscars glory. The film, a tribute to the silent film era in which a non-talking star battles to save his career after it is torpedoed by the arrival of the “talkies”, also won the best picture Golden Globe on January 15.
The other films nominated for best picture are The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse. The Artist star Jean Dujardin was nominated for best actor, up against Clooney in The Descendants, Pitt in Moneyball, Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Demian Bechir in A Better Life.
Two-time Oscar winner Streep is among the best actress nominees for the latest tour de force in her long career, playing Thatcher both in her prime and dementia-shrouded old age. Also shortlisted were Glenn Close for cross-dressing in Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis from civil rights drama The Help, Michelle Williams as Monroe in My Week with Marilyn and Rooney Mara from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Up for best foreign language film are A Separation by Iranian film-maker Asghar Farhadi, along with Footnote (Israel), In Darkness (Poland), Monsieur Lazhar (Canada), and Bullhead (Belgium). The Iranian film was also nominated for best screenplay.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ