The 85th Academy Award nominations managed to offer some surprises Thursday morning — industry pundits were buzzing about the omission from the best director competition of Ben Affleck for “Argo” and Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty” — but fans of fantastic entertainment had reason to cheer.
Unless, of course, you were rooting for an Oscar for “The Dark Knight Rises.”
While “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “Skyfall” and “Django Unchained” all earned multiple nominations in a variety of categories, the final installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was not recognized, despite the critical acclaim that met the film when it was released in July.
Happier news greeted Tim Burton today, with the filmmaker’s black-and-white 3D stop-motion love letter to childhood and Universal monster movies, “Frankenweenie,” leading the pack in the animated feature category.
The movie, a full-length update of a short film Burton made in 1984, will compete against the similarly spooky but sweet “ParaNorman,” Pixar’s Scotland-set warrior princess adventure “Brave,” the video game send-up “Wreck-It Ralph” and Aardman Animations’ “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.” (It’s also worth noting that the race includes three stop-motion movies, suggesting a real passion for the format among the voting members of the movie academy.)
” ‘Frankenweenie’ is a very personal film for me,” Burton said in a statement issued Thursday. “The idea of telling a feature-length version was in the back of my mind for many years. Stop-motion was the perfect medium for this project, and one I’ve always loved for its expressiveness and dimensionality. I’ve worked with so many incredible artists: animators, cast members, set builders and puppet makers, all who have helped bring this film to life one frame at a time. I’m so honored that the Academy has recognized this film as one of its nominees.”
On the decidedly less family-friendly front, Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked western “Django Unchained” was nominated for best picture, best original screenplay, sound editing, cinematography and supporting actor, with Christoph Waltz recognized for his turn as the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Waltz won in the category for Tarantino’s 2009 film “Inglourious Basterds.”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” earned a total of three nominations for its production design, makeup and visual effects. In the latter category, it will compete against “The Avengers,” “Prometheus” and “Snow White and the Huntsman,” as well as Ang Lee’s 3D literary adaptation “Life of Pi.”
Sam Mendes’ James Bond film “Skyfall” was nominated in five categories — sound mixing, sound editing, best original song, score and cinematography.
In the costume design category, both of 2012′s fairy tales about the fairest of them all, “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Mirror Mirror,” were nominated, with Colleen Atwood and Eiko Ishioka recognized for each respective production. Ishioka receives her honor posthumously — the revered costumer passed way from pancreatic cancer in January of last year at the age of 73.
– Gina McIntyre
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