Surprises- Tom Hanks wasn't nominated for Captain Phillips. Emma Thompson was snubbed for Saving Mr. Banks. The delightful surprises- Philomena's Best Picture nod and Blue Jasmine's Sally Hawkins getting a Supporting Actress nod. Also Best Actress and Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, respectively, for August: Osage County. That was the best work either of them has done in years.
And now a rant: I loved American Hustle, and I'm glad it got all the nominations it did (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, one each in all acting categories). But please, enough about Jennifer Lawrence. She was good but not phenomenal. Not even close to the other four Supporting Actress nominees. Also, his role was smaller, but Jeremy Renner was more deserving of a Supporting Actor nod than Bradley Cooper. I thought Cooper's character was rather one-note and played as such.
Of the movies I've seen: American Hustle was smart and fun, and a great (if highly fictionalized) tale of corruption in politics. The cast was amazing. Amy Adams and Christian Bale really nailed their parts, and the "bromance" between Bale and Renner was unforgettable. Renner had the most real performance, IMHO. I really felt for him at the end, he seemed to be the only decent person in the whole damn movie! And yes, Lawrence was a scream, but the movie was NOT ABOUT HER.
Philomena was a devastating true story about a mother forced to give up her child and her search for him 50 years later. Dame Judi Dench probably gave the best performance of her career.
Captain Phillips was another true story about Somali pirates taking over an American ship. It was an intense film, with great acting by Hanks and newcomer (and Oscar nominee) Barkhad Abdi as the Captain and the lead pirate.
Not a Best Picture nominee, but a great film for actors: August: Osage County. I don't think I've ever seen a movie where the entire cast completely got into their characters and tore up the scenery. After watching the most awkward family dinner in film history, I'll never complain about any weirdness in my own family. Frankly, I was with Julia Roberts- I wanted to strangle Meryl Streep during her "truth-telling" dinner rants! *lol* Every character has flaws, and there's a secret that devastates two of the family members. Did I mention that Benedict Cumberbatch is in this one? His role is small but heartbreaking. And his American accent (an Oklahoma drawl) was good. Only flaw in the casting was Juliette Lewis, but I've never liked her anyway.