2012 was an interesting one for superhero, fantasy, and sci-fi movies alike.
Certain prequels were disappointing for various reasons – padding, tonal inconsistency, plot holes (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Prometheus, check, check, check). The summers’ big sequel failed to live up to the expectations set by its predecessor, as the final installments in trilogies often do (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Godfather, Part 3). The Avengers was pure, delicious popcorn and went on to gross 1.5 billion dollars, as well as launch a whole new series of Marvel movies, while other big budget releases quickly dropped off the radar for various different reasons (notably John Carter, Men in Black 3, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and the underrated Dredd). Oh, and The Amazing Spider-Man was quite good, despite there being no particular reason I can see to give him another origin story only a decade after the original was released.
So, with all that in mind, who cares about the Oscars?
Well, if you’re reading this, I’ve got to assume you do. As such, here’s a warning: it was never going to be a repeat of 2009 when The Dark Knight became only the second superhero film to grab a nod for acting from The Academy (Al Pacino was nominated as Best Supporting for “Big Boy” Caprice in Warren Beatty‘s Dick Tracy) and Iron Man, Wanted, and Hellboy II: The Golden Army were up for a variety of technical awards.
This year, as we laid out in our article ‘Super Oscar Nominations’, The Hobbit was up for Makeup and Hairstyling, and Production Design, while it, Prometheus and Marvel’s The Avengers made an appearance in the Visual Effects category. The Dark Knight Rises received no nominations at all, suggesting either a huge downturn in quality or else The Academy having fallen out of love somewhat with the franchise since The Dark Knight picked up eight.
This year, however, none of them won anything.
If that’s literally all you came here for, you can turn away now, if not:
Bond flick Skyfall walked away with Best Original Song – always a likelihood given Adele‘s propensity for birthing earworms (this is, of course, a compliment) – and shared the prize for Sound Editing with Zero Dark Thirty. Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook while her fellow X-person, Hugh Jackman, lost out to juggernaut Daniel Day-“Lincoln”-Lewis for Best Actor, though Jackman’s Les Miserables co-star and recent Catwoman Anne Hathaway became Best Supporting Actress. Christoph Waltz picked up his second Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his second appearance in a Quentin Tarantino film – dissarmingly charming SS officer Hans Landa in 2009’s Inglourious Basterds and now as sympathetic white man Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained.
Argo won Best Picture – no surprise there given its sweep of the Golden Globes and BAFTAs – while Ang Lee picked up the Directing gong for Life of Pi (which also won for Cinematography and Original Score). The Hobbit lost out to Les Mis in Makeup and Hairstyling and Lincoln in Production Design – which otherwise lost out in almost every other category, including Best Director, Cinematography, Editing, Original Score, Costume Design, etc. – while Life of Pi stole Best Visual Effects: I guess a thorough and meditative rendering of a boy stuck out at sea on a lifeboat with a tiger beats goblins and explosions any day.
Argo and Django Unchained respectively won Adapted and Original Screenplay, which pretty much sums up the evening: the main categories were always going to be a lock, and, despite claims that this year’s race was the most unpredictable in decades, nothing really came out of left-field. With that said, here are the rest of the winners:
Best Animated Feature – Brave
Best Animated Short Film – Paperman
Achievement in Cinematography – Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda
Achievement in Costume Design – Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran
Best Live-Action Short Film: Curfew
Best Documentary Short Subject: Inocente
Best Documentary Feature: Searching for a Sugar Man
Best Foreign-Language Film: Amour (Austria)
Achievement in Sound Mixing: Les Misérables
Achievement in Film Editing: Argo
Achievement in Production Direction: Lincoln
In the coming year, in terms of superhero movies alone, we have G.I. Joe: Retaliation (March 29th), Iron Man 3 (May 4th), Man of Steel (June 14th), Kick-Ass 2 (June 28th), R.I.P.D (July 19th), The Wolverine (July 26th), 300: Rise Of An Empire (August 1st), RED 2 (August 2nd), the Robocop reboot (August 9th), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (October 4th), Thor: The Dark World (November 8th) and 47 Ronin (December 25th).
Hopefully at least one of them will prove a little more worthy of Academy consideration.