Shafted! (Or, our requisite article on how Canada fared in the 2011 Oscar nominations)

Shafted! (Or, our requisite article on how Canada fared in the 2011 Oscar nominations)

Incendies (bottom) got the nod; Ryan Gosling didn't

When the Oscar nominations came out this morning, we scrolled right past the laundry list of best picture nods (that 10-picture system still irks us) to the best actor category. Despite all of our hopes, Ryan Gosling was unlisted. We weren’t the only ones who thought the Academy would tap the Goz for his portrayal of a hard-living husband in Blue Valentine. Early Vegas odds had given the young actor +5,000 odds of taking home the trophy on the big night (not the greatest odds, but at least he had odds). Instead, it’s a showdown between Javier Bardem, Jeff Bridges, Jesse Eisenberg, James Franco and Colin Firth.

The way we see it, James Franco stole Gosling’s spot. On paper, they’re kind of the same actor—quirky, drawn to challenging roles despite their leading-man looks—and with Eisenberg also under 30 31, it’s possible Oscar was in danger of appearing a bit short in the tooth. In related news, Blue Valentine was overlooked for best picture (presumably to leave room for Toy Story 3), but Gosling’s co-star, Michelle Williams, was nominated. So at least if she wins, we can expect to hear the Ontario boy’s name in her acceptance speech.

Snub number two for Canada was the total omission of Barney’s Version from the top categories (it did get a nod for make-up), which was produced by local bigwig Robert Lantos and largely shot in Montreal. This is a true travesty; Blue Valentine is a good movie, but Barney’s Version is a great movie. Paul Giamatti, who won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of Mordecai Richler’s titular mensch, was also left off the best actor ballot.

On the bright side, The King’s Speech is a front-runner in the best picture race, which is kind of a boon for TIFF, where the movie premiered won the People’s Choice Award. In the best foreign film category, Incendies—another TIFF 2010 darling, this time directed by Quebec’s Denis Villeneuve—is among the nominees.

So what have we learned here? Perhaps if Blue Valentine had premiered at the Toronto film fest, Ryan Gosling would have better things to do than sit at home in his Jumpin’ Jammers on Oscar night.

(Images: Gosling, Friskytune; Incendies, Eone Films)

This post was updated to reflect Ryan Gosling’s age. Toronto Life regrets the error. (January 25, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.)