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Commentary: Stodgy Academy serves up pretentious Oscar nominees yet again

Courtesy of MCT

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The Academy Awards have progressively withered away into a vortex of pretentious, borderline vile back-patting of the industry’s most vapid and platitudinous products. This year’s ceremony will be no different.

The nominees for the 84th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday. Never before have I snickered and scoffed my way through a list such as I did while reading this year’s predictably plebeian list of nominations.

Let me start with “The Artist,” which garnered 10 nods in total, second only to Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” For all intents and purposes, “The Artist” is a shoo-in to win Best Picture, and will likely take home awards in other major categories as well.

While I undoubtedly understand the importance of “The Artist” — producing a black-and-white silent film in the “Transformers” era surely takes cajones — rewarding a film for simply being different does not an Oscar winner make.

Then there’s “The Descendants.” While I had previously shrugged this off as being a prototypical gloomy, introspective piece of Oscar bait, I never really felt the need to pull the gloves off, so to speak, until producer Jim Burke said the film would be “timeless” during his acceptance speech for Best Drama at the Golden Globes Jan. 15.

Excuse me while I self-induce vomit.

While the Academy was busy fellating each other (metaphorically, of course), legitimately great films were largely ignored. For my money, “Drive” was the best flick of 2011, yet got virtually no love, apart from one nod for Best Sound Editing. “The Muppets,” which came damn close to being my favorite film of 2011, also only got one nod, and it was for Best Original Song, which it should win if anything at all is right with this world.

For those keeping track at home, “Drive” and “The Muppets,” two of the year’s most critically-acclaimed films, got two fewer nominations than “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” Baffling.

The Academy did get some things right — things I didn’t expect (see: trust) them to get right, that is. If you’ve seen “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Rooney Mara deserves the Best Actress trophy, and then some. It’s likely a futile argument, however, as the trophy will surely go to Viola Davis in this year’s biggest piece of Oscar bait, “The Help.”

And speaking of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” yet another year passes with no love for director David Fincher. The film was snubbed in the Best Picture and Best Director categories, which I suppose isn’t much of a surprise after Fincher’s “The Social Network” wrongfully lost out to “The King’s Speech” in both categories last year.

Did Fincher pee in the Academy’s Cheerios or something?

Alas, it is almost inconceivable that an already laborious three-hour ceremony could be more cumbersome to watch, but it seems the Academy has done the unthinkable and made this year’s awards just that. You can count me out.

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