The 2011 Academy Award nominations have been announced, and while I agree with most of the choices, I can’t help but notice a few talented individuals seem to have gotten snubbed. I imagine the Academy’s decision was particularly difficult this year considering a plethora of stellar cinema rose through the crap. Still, they definitely filled in the wrong bubble in certain categories and robbed a few deserving candidates of what was rightly theirs.

Mark Wahlberg for Best Actor

Mark Wahlberg delivered an impressive understated performance in the The Fighter. Perhaps because it was understated is why it wasn’t nominated. It’s the same reason why the “Mad Men” cast never receives an Emmy. Javier Bardem goes through a range of emotions in Biutiful, so it’s easy for the Academy members to pinpoint the “acting” parts. Bardem’s a grat actor, but he already won Best Supporting Actor for No Country for Old Men, and that was for being a stone-cold killer, not a depressed father. So I guess understated performances can impress as long as your goal is to creep the audience the fuck out. Regardless, Christian Bale’s performance in The Fighter, which he was nominated for, wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive if wasn’t for Wahlberg’s more nuanced take.

Hailee Steinfeld for Best Actress

She received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in True Grit, which is terrific, but there is no reason she didn’t deserve the top honor. Steinfeld was the most compelling part of the film, even more so than Jeff Bridges, and maybe I need to look again, but I don’t remember any actress in the film with a more prominent role than her. She delivered a commanding performance, especially for a newcomer of her age, and should go head-to-head with the nominees for Best Actress. If Jennifer Lawrence received a nod for trudging through the Ozark frontier than Steinfeld needs equal frontier-trudging recognition.

Andrew Garfield for Best Supporting Actor

I believe Andrew Garfield deserves a nod for his role as Mark Zuckerberg’s lackey in The Social Network, but I’m not all that torn up that he didn’t receive it. The guy is playing the new Spider-man, so he’s set for life. Still, Garfield should have taken the spot given to Mark Ruffalo. Mark’s squinty-eyed performances haven’t earned him an Oscar yet. Give another guy a chance, for God’s sake. Maybe the Academy was put off by the fact that Garfield’s hair is too big for his face. He needs to take it down an inch or five. He’s like a Dragon Ball Z character.

Black Swan for Best Original Screenplay

This is less about Black Swan deserving a nomination in this category and more about Mike Leigh not deserving it for Another Year. The guy gets nominated constantly for this category and he never wins. Why? Because the screenplays aren’t what make his movies great. Everyone knows Leigh uses heavy improv in all of his films. He basically writes a solid outline and works with the actors until they become their characters. They determine most of their dialogue, not Leigh. That’s fine for Best Director and the Best Actor categories, but quit nominating Leigh for Best Screenplay. Black Swan was a beautifully written film that turned an old storyline on its ear. And the writers actually wrote what the actors say.

The Town for Best Picture

I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and maybe that’s why it didn’t get nominated. Personally I enjoyed The Town a lot more than Winter’s Bone. Somehow I find bank robberies committed by skeleton Rastafarians more intriguing than a young girl wondering through a depressing meth town to find her daddy. Winter’s Bone wasn’t awful, but The Town provided the thrills I believe the former lacked. At least Jeremy Renner received a Supporting Actor nod for his role. The duel between his and Affleck’s Boston accent was intense.

Christopher Nolan for Best Director

What the? Who the? Why the? How the hell did Christopher Nolan not get nominated for Best Director for Inception? This is the biggest diss of them all. If there was any category that the film deserved recognition in it was Best Director. He’s not an actor’s director per se, but he’s a make-a-goddamn-original-piece-of-cinema director. Inception is one of the most distinctive and imaginative pictures in years, and Nolan deserves all the credit for that. He might get it as producer if the film wins Best Picture, which it won’t, but he earned a nod for Best Director. I’m sure even the Coen Bros. would agree.

Furry Vengeance for Best Score

The nut-shots delivered by the woodland creatures just wouldn’t have been the same without the whimsical stylings of Ed Shearmur.