January 24, 2012
The New York Times
By MICHAEL CIEPLY AND BROOKS BARNES
9:35 a.m. | Updated LOS ANGELES – A chaotic Oscar season found some order on Tuesday, as “The Artist,” a mostly silent tribute to old Hollywood, and “Hugo,” another bit of film nostalgia, joined “The Descendants,” about life and love in Hawaii, and “Midnight in Paris,” about literary Paris, in scoring an array of major nominations, including those for best picture and best director.
In a field of 9 best-picture nominees — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences pegged the number on a sliding scale after experimenting for two years with a list of 10 — “The Help,” about race relations, “War Horse,” about a fighting horse, “Moneyball,” about the business side of baseball, and two surprises, “The Tree of Life” and “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” all found a place. But none showed quite as strong as the leaders.
And a host of erstwhile contenders finally fell away, at least in the race for best picture at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, set for Feb. 26.