Hollywood embraces hopeful tales with Oscar nominations

Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:57pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group of movies offering personal redemption and hope swept up Oscar nominations on Tuesday, led by Martin Scorsese's colorful "Hugo" with 11 and silent-era romance "The Artist" with 10, including a best film nod for both.

They were joined in the key category for the world's top movie honors by baseball film "Moneyball" and Steven Spielberg's World War One drama "War Horse," about a boy looking for his horse amid deadly conflict, which each had six nominations.

Drama "The Descendants," starring George Clooney as a man dealing with a troubled family who eventually finds an answer to his problems, also landed in the best film category.

"It's a small movie and a simple movie. There's no cynicism or sarcasm. It's about hope and how people have to adapt to a changing world," "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius told Reuters about his film telling of a silent film-era actor whose Hollywood star falls until he finds love.

"Hugo" producer Graham King said that while much has been written about Scorsese creating an homage to the birth of movies, the film has many layers including the story of "a boy who is trying to find his family and find his way home."

"Descendants" producer Jim Burke added fuel to the hopeful fire by telling Reuters: "It's not uncommon for a family to have its ups and downs and it seems to me, despite the tragic nature of some occurrences, they engaged (the father) with his family and brought them closer."

Joining those films in the race for best movie was civil rights drama "The Help," Woody Allen's whimsical "Midnight in Paris," Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" and 9/11 movie "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

The number of bright films in the race follows a trend at box offices that helped push triumphant tale "The King's Speech" to last year's best film Oscar winner during hard economic times. And they contrast with recent best picture winners, crime thriller "The Departed," dark drama "No Country for Old Men," and war tale "The Hurt Locker."   Continued...

<p>Actress Jennifer Lawrence (L) and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announce the nominees for best picture during the announcement of Academy Award nominees in Beverly Hills, January 24, 2012. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>