Some eyebrows were raised recently when “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. The 9/11-themed vehicle, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, was not warmly greeted by the critics. Indeed, according to the review aggregator rottentomatoes.com, 48 percent of North American critics gave it a not too enthusiastic thumb’s up. It’s reportedly the worst reviewed Best Picture nominee since Rotten Tomatoes began in 1999. There are 10 nominees these days, so we might expect a high-profile dud or two in there. But that’s no consolation for a movie like “The Guard,” which got a 95 percent favorability rating according to the website, the same as nominee “Moneyball” and just two percentage points behind red-hot favorite “The Artist.”
“Extremely Loud” did rather better in the website’s audience category with 67 percent, but the County Galway-set “The Guard” – directed by John Michael McDonagh and starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle and Fionnuala Flanagan – got 83 percent. Popular Oscar nominees “The Descendants,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Hugo” also received audience favorability ratings in the low 80s, while “War Horse” got 76 percent and “The Tree of Life” 61 percent.
Still, while there was no Oscar nod for first-time director McDonagh or its charismatic star Gleeson (Sgt. Gerry Boyle), one presumes they are still basking in the glow of the U.S. critical reception (and one hopes also plotting a return to the big screen).