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Oscar's snubs and surprises: Nolan left out again

The Associated Press, Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 8:13am (PST)

NEW YORK (AP) -- In handing out 120 nominations, the Oscars inevitably spurn others. "Snub" is the word of choice for these oversights, and Christopher Nolan is well aquatinted with its meaning.

Two years after seeing his "The Dark Knight" earn neither a best picture nomination nor a directing nod, Nolan was passed over for directing "Inception," another film both acclaimed and popular at the box office.

This time, at least, "Inception" was included among the best picture nominees, which now number 10, a change made last year partly because of the outcry over the rebuff of "The Dark Night."

"Inception" still counted six nominations, including a best original screenplay mention for Nolan, yet nothing for Lee Smith's bravo editing.

Though many of the nominations announced Tuesday by the Academy of Motion Pictures were as expected, the most glaring omission was that of "Waiting for `Superman'" in the best documentary category.

One of the most talked about documentaries of the year and a widely expected Oscar favorite, the education system examination was left out, perhaps because some experts deemed it an inaccurate exaggeration of charter schools.

Other surprises from this year's batch of Oscar nominees:

— BARDEM DISPLACES DUVALL: Earning an acting nomination for a performance in another language is never easy, but Javier Bardem has now done it twice. Before winning in 2008 for "No Country for Old Men," he was nominated in 2001 for "Before Night Falls." His nomination for the Spanish-language "Biutiful" likely took the spot some pegged for Robert Duvall's bearded hermit in "Get Low."

— A KING'S DOZEN: "The King's Speech" was a heavy favorite going into Tuesday's announcement, but its leading 12 nominations is still a surprisingly high total. Though a performance-based film, it still earned nods for cinematography and sound editing. (With 10 nominations, "True Grit" also proved especially strong, further highlighting the Golden Globes' questionable judgment in snubbing it altogether.)

— THIS YEAR'S INDIE DARLING: The Ozark Mountains drama "Winter's Bone" had long been a cause celebre for those who root for the smaller movies. Rather than sneak into the awards, it garnered a commanding four nominations, including best picture and best supporting actor for John Hawkes. Its star, the 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, is the fifth youngest best actress nominee.

— GOSLING, MANVILLE MISSING: Many would say the two best performances of 2010 were Ryan Gosling in "Blue Valentine" and Lesley Manville in "Another Year." Both were left out, though Gosling's co-star, Michelle Williams, was nominated for best actress. Some questioned why Manville wasn't pushed in the perhaps more fitting supporting actress category.

— OTHER SNUBS: Expected by some prognosticators to be nominated were Andrew Garfield in "The Social Network," Julianne Moore in "The Kids Are All Right" and Mila Kunis in "Black Swan." Ben Affleck's "The Town" didn't squeak into the best picture category, and Disney's "Tangled" was booted from the best animated film category by "The Illusionist."

— NEVER IN THE CONVERSATION: The Oscar race often arrives at favorites in a curious, buzz-reliant way. There were many who never caught on with the Academy, but nevertheless are among the snubbed: Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island," Tilda Swinton in "I Am Love," Pierce Brosnan in "The Ghost Writer," Greta Gerwig in "Greenberg," Rebecca Hall in "Please Give" and surely many others.

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