The nomination is really the award. Even when you're not nominated.
At least that's true for the many cinematic worthies, on screen and off, overlooked by Oscar's golden gaze.
They're winners all the same, thanks to the Review-Journal's 27th annual Terry Awards.
Named for "On the Waterfront's" down-but-not-out dockworker Terry Malloy -- the character who first ruefully acknowledged "I coulda been a contender" -- the Terrys honor those who coulda, shoulda been contenders for tonight's 83rd Academy Awards.
As usual, jaw-dropping oversights abound. "Inception's" missing-in-action status in key directing and editing categories, for example. "Waiting for 'Superman' " and "A Film Unfinished"? Still waiting for documentary nominations. "Tron: Legacy" may not be anyone's idea of an all-around cinematic triumph, but its special effects are at least as impressive as those in the nominated "Iron Man 2." And how could the Academy's makeup mavens overlook "Black Swan?"
There are plenty more snubs where those came from.
Presenting more of the Terry Awards Class of 2011:
For a second consecutive year, the Academy acknowledges 10 movies instead of the usual five. As a result, movies that would have been Terry winners -- "The Kids Are All Right" and "Winter's Bone" among them -- are actually in the running for Oscar's biggest prize. Yet Academy members still managed to overlook some outstanding movies, from "Get Low's" hardscrabble Depression-era charm to "Please Give's" biting social satire, from "Another Year's" slice-of-life insight to "The Ghost Writer's" political intrigue.
This year's Terry Awards crop has several members of the "What Am I, Chopped Liver?" Club -- actors whose co-stars were nominated, while they went unrecognized. So let's hear it for "Blue Valentine's" alternately charming and chilling Ryan Gosling, "Rabbit Hole's" anguished Aaron Eckhart and "The Fighter's" embattled Mark Wahlberg. Robert Duvall delivered yet another peak performance as "Get Low's" haunted hermit. Michael Douglas scored yet again as "Solitary Man's" love-to-hate-him wastrel, while Terry Awards perennial Paul Giamatti is back as another maddeningly endearing rascal in "Barney's Version." Anchoring the foreign-language contingent: Vincent Cassel as "Mesrine's" mesmerizing gangster and "The Prophet's" Tahar Rahim as a young prisoner learning the ways of the criminal world.
Annette Bening has an Oscar nomination for "The Kids Are All Right," but on-screen partner, Julianne Moore -- aces in a rare comedic role -- must content herself with a Terry Award. (At least everyone's a winner here, which is more than we can say for the Academy Awards.) Lesley Manville's marvelous "Another Year" portrayal of a desperately lonely single ranks as one of the year's most outrageous Oscar snubs, but she's in good company, along with "Please Give's" deeply shallow Catherine Keener and "Love and Other Drugs' " high-flying Anne Hathaway. There's also a foreign-language duo in this category: "I Am Love's" amazing Tilda Swinton, blazing with passion -- in both Italian and Russian -- and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" herself, Noomi Rapace, whose ferocious Lisbeth Salander remains one of the most striking screen heroines in memory.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
"The Social Network" collected plenty of Oscar nominations, but, curiously, not one for Andrew Garfield's sensitive portrayal of the movie's ultimate victim of betrayal. But at least he's in distinguished company with this year's Terry Awards honorees. Let's start with the unfairly overlooked Sam Rockwell, as "Convicted's" behind-bars inspiration, and a best-ever Pierce Brosnan as "Ghost Writer's" wonderfully enigmatic ex-prime minister. Other standouts range from Bill Murray, as "Get Low's" sardonic funeral home director, to Dustin Hoffman, the zesty father figure of "Barney's Version." Add Harrison Ford's gloriously grouchy "Morning Glory" newsman, Richard Jenkins' touching "Eat Pray Love" pilgrim, Niels Arestrup as "The Prophet's" crafty prison king and Matt Damon's hilariously pompous "True Grit" Texas Ranger, and you have an all-star lineup indeed.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Director Tyler Perry made an unholy mess of Ntozake Shange's award-winning play "For Colored Girls," but that's no reason to penalize Kimberly Elise, Anika Noni Rose and Phylicia Rashad, all of whom managed to create haunting characters under extremely trying circumstances. Add "The Ghost Writer's" scintillating Olivia Williams and Gemma Jones, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger's" dotty divorcee, to the list, along with Sissy Spacek's rueful "Get Low" grace. Rosamund Pike delivered a smart, sassy one-two punch in "Barney's Version" and "Made in Dagenham," while Rebecca Hall scored in both drama ("The Town") and comedy ("Please Give"). And in "Nowhere Boy," Anne-Marie Duff and Kristin Scott Thomas embody John Lennon's troubled mother and stern aunt, respectively, with equal impact.
What does Christopher Nolan have to do to get an Oscar nomination for directing? The writers' branch of the Academy has recognized him for his twisty "Memento" and "Inception" screenplays, but so far, the directors' branch has done nothing but diss him. Terrys to the rescue! Other best picture Oscar nominees whose directors were unjustly snubbed are "Toy Story 3's" Lee Unkrich, "The Kids Are All Right's" Lisa Cholodenko, "127 Hours' " Danny Boyle and "Winter's Bone's" Debra Granik. And there are more illustrious names to add to the honor roll: "Another Year's" Mike Leigh, "Please Give's" Nicole Holofcener, "The Ghost Writer's" Roman Polanski and "Get Low's" Aaron Schneider. (At least Schneider already has won an Oscar -- for a live-action short.)
Terry Award winners of 2011, we salute you. And, of course, wish you better luck next time.
Contact movie critic Carol Cling at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0272.