The Oscar Nominees’ lunch a couple of weeks ago was an extremely jolly affair. After our group photo, we were called up onto a stage, one by one, to be given our nomination certificates, while the rest of the class whooped and clapped. We were called up in reverse alphabetical order (Hans Zimmer, who composed the score for ‘Sherlock Holmes’, was first up); I was worried that, as I’m nearer the beginning of the alphabet than the end, nobody famous would be left to clap me. But then I scanned the faces, and put names to them: Bullock. Bridges. Clooney. Gyllenhaal. There were plenty of A-Gs.
“It’s the nicest part”, a previous nominee told me before the lunch. “There are no losers yet, just people delighted to have been nominated. After that, it all gets depressing.” I told him that it couldn’t get depressing for us. We know we can’t win any of our three categories, and we’re still euphoric about the distance that our small movie has travelled. But this week, the tenor of the online conversation has changed. On In Contention (an invaluable, readable and always trustworthy companion during this whole business) Kris Tapley notes that Carey Mulligan’s early buzz “seemed to dwindle throughout the fall awards season”, as Sandra Bullock started winning prizes; another website predicts that we will be one of only (!) one-hundred and thirty-five or so Best Picture nominees in history to collect no Oscars whatsover. (We’ll be in good company. ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘The Maltese Falcon’ didn’t win anything either.) Ah, yes. When did it all go wrong for Carey? It must have been at some point between her Oscar nomination and her BAFTA win.