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Six gems among the Oscar nominations

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Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence star in “American Hustle.”
Photo: Francois Duhamel / Sony-Columbia Pictures / AP

Plenty of people will be grousing about snubs and undeserved picks from the Oscar nominations announced this morning. I’d rather focus on the positive, so here are six nominations that I was particularly happy to see.

Amy Adams for Best Actress for American Hustle. Adams’ nomination isn’t exactly surprising (she just won a Golden Globe), but given how much attention the also-nominated Jennifer Lawrence has been getting for this movie, I’m glad that the Academy didn’t forget about Adams’ more nuanced performance.

Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor for The Wolf of Wall Street. I was underwhelmed with Hill’s Oscar-nominated turn in Moneyball, but I thought he really proved himself as a dramatic actor here, embodying the hedonistic sycophant who was right-hand man to Leonardo DiCaprio’s finance-industry huckster.

Nebraska for Best Cinematography. It’s only been two years since the last time the Academy nominated a movie for black and white cinematography (The Artist), but it’s still refreshing to see recognition for such an old-fashioned visual approach. Plus, the movie looks spectacular.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. I haven’t seen this movie and I haven’t liked any of the Jackass movies that I have seen, but I do love the idea of Jackass getting nominated for an Oscar. And the makeup job on star Johnny Knoxville, turning him into an elderly man, looked pretty convincing in the trailers.

Get a Horse! for Best Animated Short Film. I can’t speak to the rest of the nominees in this category, none of which I’ve seen yet, but I loved this Disney production that played before Frozen. It’s a clever, inventive integration of old-school hand-drawn animation (in black and white) with modern 3D computer animation, connecting Mickey Mouse’s iconic past to his potentially bright future.

Before Midnight for Best Adapted Screenplay. This was one of my favorite movies of the year, so I’m happy to see it get even a single nomination. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke have achieved something remarkable with their long-term chronicle of a relationship, and that all starts with the writing.

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