Scarlett Johansson - Forget the Snubs, Here are the Unexpected But Deserving Nominees for the Oscars
Headlines haven't been able to keep away from the massive injustices of the snubbing of both Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, but to be fair to them both, they have an Oscar each (or more) already. They're doing fine. Yes, their films are good, but actually Zero Dark Thirty and Argo are not the only films in the world. And rather than defend those who are perfectly capable of defending themselves, how about we praise those who probably didn't think for a second that they would be nominated, despite truly deserving to.
Firstly: The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Do you remember this? Almost all movies in the Oscars lists have been released within the past three months, but this one came out way back in March. It's a stop motion animation about pirates, Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria. Not only was it wildly entertaining, it had its basis (albeit a very small amount of it) in historical and scientific fact. More than anything though, it was simply a great thing to watch. Plus, it brought together some of the UK's best actresses and actors to voice the characters, including Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton. It has been nominated for Best Animated Picture. The animated list this year is good, but not great, so it has as good a chance as any to win.
Secondly, the nomination of 'Best Song' for "Before My Time", written by J. Ralph was a bit of a surprise. The documentary it has been lifted from was called Chasing Ice and is all about climate change and about the process of documenting the 'Extreme Ice Survey'. The song itself is sung by none other than Scarlett Johansson who has a surprisingly lovely voice, resulting in quite a beauty. Heart shattering in places, she sings with just a piano and a quiet string section behind her. Its simplicity let the documentary shine, and yet still works as a stand alone piece. It could be the next big funeral song. That doesn't sound like a compliment, but it is. It's a stunning example of simplicity done at its best, and that's why it has been nominated.
Benh Zeitlin has been nominated for the Best Directing and for Best Writing for Beasts of the Southern Wild. He was the wild card of the directing field, almost no one expected him to be included in that list over Bigelow or Affleck, but there he is, and there he deserves to be. His casting of entirely unknown actors - one a 6 year old girl with a name that dares you to attempt to pronounce it (Quvenzhané Wallis) and another who was a baker up until the first day of filming. Zeitlin is a risk taker, but a good one. He also seems to draw the best out in people, by being able to see the best in people. And that is precisely what direction is for, to channel talent in a particular direction.
Of course, there is truly no one undeserving in this year's list of nominees, but these are a few that seem to have gone under the radar with critics, when they really shouldn't have. Bravo to them all.
Here's Scarlett's voice in action: