As the Academy continues to discuss an accelerated awards calendar for future Oscars (coming in 2013: Goodbye, paper ballots; hello, electronic voting and endless conspiracy theories about hacking!), there’s one thing I hope the Board of Governors will bear in mind: They need to allow one week for generalized postnomination rage. This wasn’t necessary before the Internet, which tends to reinforce in everyone the need to express, via blog, tweet, or status update, the conviction that anyone who doesn’t share their taste must by definition be dumb or corrupt. This year’s anger seems to have taken two forms:
Grantland has already given you reactions to this morning’s surprising batch of Oscar nominations. But how did the actual actors involved in the process respond? Mostly, they were did so boringly. (Martin Scorsese, whose flick Hugo is up for a pack-leading 11 nominations — including Best Picture and Best Director — only had this to say: “It’s one thing to to get excited, but you can’t get your hopes up. I’m trying to stay reserved." Buddy. Come on. You've already got a statue. Why not bask in the glory here?) But it wasn't all staid fluff. A few favorites, below.
With 1,183 members, the actors branch is the largest single voting bloc of the Academy — and also the most susceptible to sentimentality. I don’t mean on-screen tearjerking (although God knows they go for that); I mean that more than any other branch, actors like to root around for the narrative beneath the nomination — the weary veteran finally getting his moment, the shiny-eyed newcomer who emerged out of nowhere, the funny guy who surprised everyone by being serious, the pretty actress who let herself be ugly. This should make for a grotesque and unfair roster of nominations, and sometimes it does, but happily, there are narratives available for any number of great performances. To wit:
Like a cool breeze blowing through a stultifying summer of sequels comes the first extended look at Drive, Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn’s hard-bitten ode to pulpy Americana. And whether it’s the unrelenting heat or the paranoiac visions of a gigantic blue monster staring down at us, we’re going all-in with this trailer. Hell, to our 3-D-scarred eyes these 146 seconds seem like the best film released so far in 2011! It’s basically got it all: Ryan Gosling, finally taking full advantage of his charismatic cocktail of rough-edged good looks and character-actor kook, Carey Mulligan playing someone tougher than Shia LaBeouf’s girlfriend, Christina Hendricks perfectly cast as a gangster’s moll, Albert Brooks surprisingly cast as a vicious criminal, Christina Hendricks oh did we already mention her? Plus, the picture appears to be a near-perfect blend of genre gas (He’s driving backwards! He’s threatening to hammer a bullet into someone’s skull!), and art-house design (a wordless montage of straight-razors and flying fenders set to a soaring orchestral score!). It’s a blessed reminder that the silly season will eventually come to an end, that cinematic pleasure can be experienced without guilt or Ryan Reynolds. Slick, sexy, and smart, Drive makes all the other cars on the road look like wiener-mobiles.