George Lang: Tom Hanks, 'August: Osage County' screenwriter snubbed by Oscars

Assistant Entertainment Editor George Lang chatted with readers Wednesday about Oscar nominations. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

BY GEORGE LANG Modified: January 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm •  Published: January 16, 2014

This publicity image released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Julianne Nicholson, Meryl Streep and Margo Martindale in a scene from "August: Osage County." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Claire Folger)
This publicity image released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Julianne Nicholson, Meryl Streep and Margo Martindale in a scene from "August: Osage County." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Claire Folger)

Assistant Entertainment Editor George Lang chatted with readers Wednesday about Oscar nominations. Below is an unedited transcript of the chat.

NewsOK 12:29 p.m. Hey everyone! Have questions about the Oscars or what's going on this weekend in Oklahoma? Submit them now.

George Lang will be logging in at 1 p.m.
George Lang 12:31 p.m. While we wait, check out this list of Oscar nominations: http://newsok.com/full-list-of-oscar-nominations/article/3924326
George Lang 1:00 p.m. Welcome everyone. I'm George Lang, senior entertainment writer at NewsOK. Let's talk about the Oscar nominations that came out this morning!
John 1:00 p.m. Who do you think got snubbed this year?
George Lang 1:03 p.m. Okay, there are several names that come to mind. First is Tom Hanks, but the reason behind him not being nominated for Best Actor likely comes down to mathematics. Hanks basically split the vote this year, with Academy members voting either for "Captain Phillips" or "Saving Mr. Banks." And since he obviously got fewer votes for either of those than the five who came out on top, he loses. It's one of those nasty issues that comes up whenever someone delivers more than one strong performance in any given year.
George Lang 1:05 p.m. Outside of that, I'm honestly surprised that Tracy Letts did not receive an adapted screenplay nomination for "August: Osage County."
Heather 1:05 p.m. Do you think Osage County has a good chance to win?
George Lang 1:10 p.m. Heather, the only major categories where "Osage County" shows up are the actress categories -- Julia Roberts got a nod for best supporting actress and Meryl Streep is nominated for best actress. This is a tough year for either of them, because Streep is facing three actresses with a lot of buzz surrounding them: Cate Blanchett, Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock, and one other actress in her age group, Judi Dench, who could siphon off her votes.
George Lang 1:12 p.m. There's a solid chance that Blanchett could win this -- she's had a pretty strong For Your Consideration campaign going since late last year. But Adams was pretty amazing in "American Hustle" and Sandra Bullock spent extended periods of "Gravity" acting almost solo.
George Lang 1:14 p.m. As for Julia Roberts, she is up against both Jennifer Lawrence for "American Hustle" and Lupita Nyong'o for "12 Years a Slave." Both seem to have the upper hand this year. But, in Roberts' favor, she is not splitting the supporting actress vote with any of her "Osage County" co-stars such as Margo Martindale.
Heather 1:14 p.m. Any surprises on the list?
George Lang 1:17 p.m. Absolutely. For one, I don't know how "Her" gets nominated for Best Picture and Spike Jonze gets Best Original Screenplay without also earning a nomination for Best Director. It seems like we're always having this discussion every year, where the logic of nominations doesn't add up.
George Lang 1:20 p.m. This is the conventional wisdom on screenplay awards: when the Academy has to give a consolation prize, a "lovely parting gift" for playing the game, they give a screenplay award to the movie that, for whatever reason, it does not want to give a best film award. I believe that, because the Academy is historically hostile toward anything resembling science fiction, Jonze will be getting a screenplay award.
George Lang 1:22 p.m. One nomination that springs to mind as a nice surprise: Barkhad Abdi for his performance in "Captain Phillips." Abdi is a Somali immigrant who earned his role in a casting call in Minneapolis, a city with a large Somali population. It's his first major film role, and he's pretty great as the leader of the pirates who took Richard Phillips hostage in 2009.
George Lang 1:24 p.m. Alright everyone -- thanks for joining me on this. Maybe we can do one of these on Oscar night, too.


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