Today was the grand event movie fans both love and dread, the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations. While the choices usually include some worthy movies and performances, they also offer plenty of head-scratching picks. This year, there were lots of confusing nominations that are sent many into fits of rage. Is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close really one of the best films of 2011? What happened to shoo-ins like Albert Brooks from Drive, Michael Fassbender from Shame, and Shailene Woodley from The Descendants? Why are there only two Best Original Song nominees? These are just a few of the many burning questions that spring from the Oscars this year. It should be no surprise that the Academy continues to reward safer picks like The Help and War Horse while ignoring exciting, ambitious fare. However, it's still irritating to see them make the same mistakes each year.
Thankfully, there's another pastime around the Oscars that's a lot more enjoyable than complaining about who got snubbed. The awards give film fans a chance to prove their skills at predicting who will take home the top prizes. Experts on short films can wow their friends by nailing those hard-to-pick categories. Honestly, the Oscar pool is a lot more fun than the actual ceremony. I've been running a contest with family and friends for the last five years. This time, I'm also organizing a contest through this site for the bloggers, podcasters, and other film experts that visit. There is a small prize for the winner, but the true joy will be your ability to claim dominance over knowledgeable cinema fans. This isn't like beating your office buddies who think Jack and Jill was robbed; there's more prestige for this victory.
Joining my 2012 Oscar Contest is easy. Click on this link, which takes you to an easy-to-use online ballot. The categories are weighted by importance, and there are some fun bonus questions at the end. I'll be updating the standings on the night of the show as the awards are presented. Submit your picks by Friday, February 24 to enter this contest! It should make watching the Oscars (even with Billy Crystal) a lot more exciting this year.