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And The Nominees Are . . .

Well, the official nominations are out, and my predictions are batting . . . ok.

What am I surprised that I got wrong?

Well, clearly I overestimated Academy support for “Gone Girl” and “Selma.” And I underestimated Academy support for “American Sniper” and – in a big surprise to me, since I worried I was showing too much love for the film – “Foxcatcher.” That’s partly a consequence of not having seen some of these films. I still haven’t seen “Gone Girl,” “American Sniper” or “Selma.” Perhaps, had I seen them, I would have made better predictions – but perhaps not.

Nonetheless, I am not shocked that “Selma” has been “snubbed” – I had the feeling that most people didn’t really love the film. Indeed, I suspect that the Best Picture nomination is itself a kind of consolation prize, that voters were reluctant to shut it out altogether from the major categories. I understand why some observers are troubled by the unbearable whiteness of this year’s awards. But it isn’t fair for a single film to shoulder so much expectation. If it’s a problem, the problem originated not in this year’s voters but in casting and financing decisions made years before.

I’m a little surprised that “Foxcatcher” got so much love – more than I even expected. But I’m even more surprised that it got so much love and didn’t get a nomination for Best Picture. It had some of the best acting (2 nominations), some of the best directing, and one of the best screenplays – but it wasn’t one of the best pictures? It’s like the reverse of “Argo,” which was nominated (and won!) for Best Picture but was shut out of the other major categories.

I’m glad to see that “Whiplash,” a very interesting film that I’m still thinking about, earned a Best Picture nomination, which I did not predict (but probably should have, over either “Gone Girl” or “Nightcrawler”). Most of the other picks I got wrong across the various categories I don’t feel too bad about – either there was no obvious pick or I hadn’t seen the relevant films or both.

But the biggest shock of all, to me, is no Editing nomination for “Birdman.” Did the Academy voters actually think it was all one take? I’m genuinely mystified.

I’ll make some predictions about winners, and announce my own rooting interests in same, after I’ve seen a greater percentage of the films.

about the author

Noah Millman, senior editor, is an opinion journalist, critic, screenwriter, and filmmaker who joined The American Conservative in 2012. Prior to joining TAC, he was a regular blogger at The American Scene. Millman’s work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Week, Politico, First Things, Commentary, and on The Economist’s online blogs. He lives in Brooklyn.

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