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Washington D.C. Film Critics Announce Nominees

I had a feeling that these guys were going to stick their heads up this week. They have a tendency of announcing early and without warning. While the results of their voting is apparently still being tallied and the winners will be announced on Monday, we can take a look at the nominees right now.

Well, there’s not much question as far as what film will likely go all the way here, and that is the emerging critical darling “The Artist.” The film received eight nominations, practically in every category that it was eligible. “Hugo” comes in second with six nominations, continuing to baffle me. I’m sure that I’m going to be saying that a lot this awards season.

The overrated, but still exceptionally cool, “Drive” picked up four nominations, including one for it’s phenomenal director Nicholas Wending Refn. “The Descendants” also continued its string of love with five nominations. Octavia Spencer receives her first of what I’m sure will be a long string of nominations for her work in “The Help,” likewise for Viola Davis. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing both of those ladies with gold in their hands come Oscar night.

A surprisingly absent film from these nods is a little title about a war and a horse. Not sure if you’ve heard of it. For a critics group that largely trends towards the Oscars, it’s highly unusual to find Mr. Spielberg’s latest largely vacant from these nominations. True it picked up a few tech nods, yet this film is believed by many to potentially be the nomination leader next month. One can’t say that the group has a beef with the director, either, for they were the first and one of the only to award “Munich” Best Picture back in 2005.

The big story here is Tom McCarthy’s “Win Win” picking up a nomination for Best Picture, beating out the above mentioned “War Horse” and a number of others. Quite a coup for this little delight of a film. Yet, as intriguing as this nomination is, I doubt it will pan out much for the rest of the year, at least in terms of Best Picture. However, a screenplay nomination for McCarthy is becoming more and more likely.

Some underdog victories abound here that are worth mentioning. Michael Shannon asserts himself as a certifiable contender, getting a nod for his fantastic work in “Take Shelter.” It’s also very refreshing to see Andy Serkis get his first and hopefully not last nomination as a motion captured ape in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” His is certainly the most interesting campaign of the season, and if it succeeds, it will make Oscar history. While I despise the precedent that it will set, I admit that I can’t help feeling proud of Andy Serkis. If it’s going to happen, it should happen to him. From Gollum, to Kong, and now Ceasar, the man has truly put his heart and soul into his work and has ultimately changed the face of cinema in a lot of ways.

Hands down, my favorite pick of the evening has got to be Melissa McCarthy for “Bridesmaids.” A good movie that this lady really took to another level with her incredible comedic skills. Her performance, if it continues down this track, could end up being one of the funnest nominations since Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder.” Kudos to the WAFCA for getting the ball rolling, there.

Check out the full list of nominations after the cut:

Best Film
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“Hugo”
“Win Win”

Best Director
Woody Allen – “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Alexander Payne – The Descendants”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

Best Actor
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”
Michael Shannon – “Take Shelter”

Best Actress
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week with Marilyn”
Albert Brooks – “Drive”
John Hawkes – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Andy Serkis – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan – “Shame”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

Best Acting Ensemble
“Bridesmaids”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Margin Call”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Hugo”
“Moneyball”
“Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Artist”
“Bridesmaids”
“50/50”
“Midnight in Paris”
“Win Win”

Best Animated Feature
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Arthur Christmas”
“Puss in Boots”
“Rango”
“Winnie the Pooh”

Best Documentary
“Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”
“Buck”
“Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
“Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life”
“Project Nim”

Best Foreign Language Film
“13 Assassins”
“Certified Copy”
“I Saw the Devil”
“Pina”
“The Skin I Live In”

Best Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“Hugo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Cinematography
“The Artist”
“Hugo”
“Melancholia”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Score
“The Artist”
“Drive”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Hugo”
“War Horse”

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