Unlike the last two years, I've remained relatively low-key when it comes to covering the critics awards. Since the NBR, I've only posted one other set of winners/nominees. Frankly, I got a little sick of posting every single one last year, even though this year the critics are actually showing some *gasp* diversity with their winners. And thus we come to the subject of this post: The Houston Area Film Critics Nominations. Why? Because even though I haven't seen all of the films/performances on these lists, my home city did a generally great job, even without the benefit of having seen Blue Valentine, Another Year, or a good deal of the foreign language contenders. The nominees:
First off, that Best Picture lineup is to die for. Granted, I haven't seen True Grit or The King's Speech, but I've seen the other 9, and at the very least I like all of them. The Kick-Ass nomination is a bit strange - there wasn't something better they could have picked for that slot? - but the inclusion of Black Swan along with the triple-threat of Inception, The Social Network, and Toy Story 3 is great to see. Matching the Picture lineup are the wonderful choices for director; hey, look, Aronofsky finally got nominated for something!
I'm a little surprised at the lack of love for Animal Kingdom, which was well-received in the city, but as long as there's a nomination for Jacki Weaver, I can't complain too much. I'm surprised this film is making even a tiny dent in awards season, so it's great to see the best part of the film gain recognition. To make up for it though are the phenomenal choices in the Original Score category. I haven't listened to any of Burwell's work, but the other four are fantastic.
As for the acting categories, I'm somewhat surprised to see Noomi Rapace there in Best Actress, and I'm not sure I agree with the placement of Julianne Moore in supporting. If anything, her role is more lead than Bening's, seeing as a good deal of the film deals with certain decisions her character makes. Bening is just there to react to them. Still, looking at the line-up, I wouldn't be surprised if all of the Best Actress nominees (save Rapace) were on their way to Oscar nominations. Portman and Bening are still (kind of) the dueling front-runners, while Lawrence has the bare-bones indie slot a la Melissa Leo in Frozen River two years ago. The mystery of the group is Kidman. She's been nominated for almost every critics award group so far, but has yet to win anything for the performance. A few months ago, this was a performance that many were on the fence about, but in recent weeks she's become that odd sort of contender who is always there and is well-liked, but simply never picked to actually win anything. Of course, that could change, but for now, Kidman's third Oscar nomination seems much closer to reality than it did earlier in the year...just don't expect her to ever be rewarded prior to it.