The 2012 Academy Awards are in the bag and once again -- as it has at most of the other major awards shows this year -- "Moneyball" came up empty.
The film, based on the book of the same name about Billy Beane and the famous sabermetric-based rebuilding of the Oakland Athletics franchise, was nominated for six Academy Awards but really only had a realistic shot at winning one. At the end of the night, it ended up in the "honor-just-to-be-nominated" category all around.
The first awards that "Moneyball" missed out on were a pair of technical awards, for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing. "Moneyball" did have exemplary editing, but lost out to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which was admittedly head and shoulders above in the category. I would also have accepted a nod to "Hugo" or "The Descendants" for editing. The nomination for Best Sound Mixing was a bit odd, as that award is generally reserved for a very different sort of film, as fellow nominees "War Horse" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" suggested. "Hugo" ended up taking home the trophy.
Next up was Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Jonah Hill received a nomination for his turn as Peter Brand in "Moneyball" but this was a one-horse race and, true to form, Christopher Plummer won the Oscar for his role in "Beginners," to the surprise of no one, but the delight of all.
The best shot "Moneyball" had at winning an Oscar was in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay. The script for "Moneyball" was a real achievement in script adaptation, with Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian crafting a spectacular film out of a stats-heavy baseball book. Sorkin winning the same award last year for "The Social Network" almost certainly hurt his chances this year, as "The Descendants" rode a wave of awards-show momentum to take home the trophy. "The Descendants" was a terrific screenplay adapted by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Payne won an Oscar in 2005 for Best Screenplay for the film "Sideways." Jim Rash is perhaps best known as playing the amazing Dean Pelton on NBC's phenomenal sitcom "Community."
Brad Pitt was nominated for Best Actor for "Moneyball" and lost out to Jean Dujardin for his work in "The Artist." The deserving winner -- and I cannot stress this enough -- was George Clooney for his work in "The Descendants," but that is neither here nor there.
"Moneyball" completed its 0-for-6 night in the Best Picture category. This year's nine nominees were among the weakest crop of Best Picture nominees in recent memory. "The Artist" took home the top prize of the year.
"Moneyball" should be proud of its six nominations, especially for being the first baseball movie to be nominated for Best Picture since "Field of Dreams."
"Moneyball" was a great film featuring a fantastic script and top-notch performances. It experienced mass critical acclaim and doubled its budget at the box office. It was a success in every sense of the word and a film that baseball fans will likely revisit for some time.
To grouse about the awards ceremony with other Oakland A's fans, please visit Athletics Nation.