Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the Oscar nominations today and though there were nine films nominated for “Best Picture,” the list did not contain any of the top ten grossing films from 2012, which saw Hollywood set several new box office records including total domestic box office earnings (see "'Hobbit' Scores Trifecta") and the biggest three-day opening ever (Joss Whedon’s The Avengers’ $207,438,708). In fact the top ten box office films received a total of just 11 nominations with the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall earning five of them, Peter Jackson’s first Hobbit movie 3, and The Avengers (just a single special effects nod for the year’s highest-grossing film), Ted, and Pixar’s Brave getting one each.
Though his previous Batman film received eight Academy Award nominations, and most critics maintained that his final Batman film was a fitting end to the trilogy, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises was shut out entirely receiving no nominations. Not only were the top ten films largely snubbed, the nominations they did receive were largely in peripheral categories. Their creators didn’t figure in the major acting, directing, or screenwriting categories either, so most of those 11 Oscar nominations were in less-than-bigtime categories, with the exceptions of cinematographer Roger Deakins’ work in Skyfall, which was nominated for "Best Achievement in Cinematography," and Pixar’s Brave, which got the nod for "Best Animated Feature."
Speaking of the feature animation category, a very interesting trend was apparent in the nods for "Best Animated Feature" where three of the top nominees (Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Aardman Animation’s The Pirates Band of Misfits, and Laika’s Paranorman) were all stop-motion films, while the other two nominees (Pixar’s Brave and Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph) are computer-animated features, the type of animation that has dominated, both in theaters and on Oscar lists in recent years.
As expected Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln led the pack with 12 nominations, and with a domestic box office take of $145 million (and climbing), Lincoln, which is currently at #17 in terms of domestic box office for films released in 2012, is definitely the best box office performer of the films nominated for "Best Picture." Among the noteworthy aspects of the nominations announced today were nods for the "oldest" and "youngest" actors ever selected by the Academy—and they were both in the same category, "Best Actress," which features nominations for the 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva in the Cannes winner Amour and for the 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, who stars in the indie sensation Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Shunning the movies that pay the bills is actually quite typical for Hollywood, which almost never honors comedies or genre films at Oscar time, and hasn’t awarded the "Best Picture" Oscar to a sure-enough blockbuster since Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King took home the award at the 76th Oscars in 2003.