January 22, 2009

The Nominations

Well, they're here, and we can't do anything about changing them. This years Oscar Nominations hit the mark in some areas, and completely missed it in others. So, let's break it down. 

Best Picture
Four out of five of these are the right choice. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and the sure winner, Slumdog Millionaire, are all worthy of recognition here. But, answer me this. What the fuck is The Reader doing on this list? Don't get me wrong, The Reader is a great movie, and it deserves at least some recognition. More on that later. But it does not even come close to Best Picture worthy. The fact that this film got nominated drives home the fact that Academy loves Holocaust pictures. What should have been nominated in place of The Reader? Simple, The Dark Knight. I know, it's a comic book movie, but come on. You can't honestly say that The Dark Knight is in the same league of any comic book movie that has come before it. It was the best movie of the year, in my opinion. I just think it's a shame that the Academy voters won't take a chance and start nominating summer blockbusters for the big categories again. Oh well.

Best Director
Again, with The fucking Reader. This category I am a little less biased towards, but I still think some choices were a bit off the mark. I don't think Stephen Daldry deserved to be nominated here. This is not his best endeavor to date, Billy Elliot takes that prize. I think either Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight) or Andrew Stanton (WALL-E) should have taken his place. Nolan has consistently turned up great movies, and his vision of Gotham City was so inspired, it's a shame he has yet to be nominated. And Stanton stirred up more emotion with an animated robot then Daldry did with a flesh and blood Kate Winslet. That's gotta count for something. But, whatever. Danny Boyle is going to win this for Slumdog Millionaire. I can live with that. 

Best Actor
I have no major gripes here. I'm really glad Richard Jenkins got nominated for his fantastic performance in The Visitor. Here was a movie that kind of got lost in awards season shuffle. It's great to see it still had some steam. But, when it comes down to it, it's between Sean Penn for Milk, Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon, and, my favorite to win, Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler. Sure, Brad Pitt gives a great performance, but his curious case doesn't hold a candle to those three heavy weights. 

Best Actress
This will be the last time I complain about The Reader, I promise. First off, Kate Winslet deserves to get nominated for her role in this movie; she is brilliant. But, here's the thing, that's a supporting performance. Her role as a suburban house wife in Revolutionary Road was so much more provocative and emotive. Oh well. I have no problem  with any of the other noms. If I had to guess, I would actually say that Winslet is going to win. She has been nominated a few times before, but has never heard her name called. Enough is enough. Get her up on that stage, damn it!

Best Supporting Actor
At least the Academy didn't flake out on this one. I think it's great that Michael Shannon snatches Revolutionary Road's sole major award, and I can't help but smile at the fact that the Robert Downey Jr. got nominated for his role in Tropic Thunder. But, it's pointless to talk about them, or anybody else for that matter. Heath Ledger will win this Oscar for two reasons. A) His rendition of The Joker is not only the best performance out of these five, but of the year. B) What better way to pay respects to a major talent who went before his time? The Academy is not stupid. They will give this one to him, or risk the consequences. 

Best Supporting Actress
With Winslet out of the way, the road is paved for any of the five nominees to take this one. I think the best performance is Viola Davis in Doubt, but her performance is too small to garner any a real advantage. If there is a sure bet, it's Penelope Cruz for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She has suffered from multiple snubs before, so I think this year is the year that the Academy will acknowledge her talent. 

Best Original Screenplay
THANK GOD! The Academy must have heeded my prayers, because In Bruges was nominated. I think In Bruges has a legitimate chance of stealing the gold on Feb. 22, but the fact that it hasn't grabbed a big audience casts a little doubt over that. I think that best is either WALL-E or Milk. If I had to choose one, I would say WALL-E. I mean, Milk isn't technically an original screenplay that was cooked up in the mind of the writer. Plus, WALL-E was just the better movie. 

Best Adapted Screenplay
Yeah, no gripes here either. I think Benjamin Button takes a few too many liberties with F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story to merit any real consideration. The Reader is a bit too controversial, and we all know Academy voters don't usually go for controversial, and Doubt just hasn't gained enough momentum to have a chance. It comes down to Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire. I would actually choose Frost/Nixon as the winner because, while it didn't have the better story, it had the better script. But, this could be a sweep year for Slumdog Millionaire, so anything could happen. 

Best Animated Screenplay
Come on. Do I have to say anything? The nominees are WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda, and Bolt. Hmmm, I wonder who's gonna win that one.

So, there you go. My take on this years Oscar nominations. Expect more coverage as the date of the Awards draws closer. For now, that is all. 

Oh, wait, I'm not done yet. How the hell did Bruce Springsteen not get nominated for his amazing track for The Wrestler? That is the biggest screw up of the academy this year. Springsteen's track was far and away the best track featured at the Golden Globes, and it is far superior to the three songs nominated here. But, whatever. Here's to the cast of Slumdog Millionaire performing the dance to "Jai Ho" at the ceremonies. That would be sweet!

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