The nominations have been announced for this year’s Academy Awards, and if you’ve been keeping up with the awards season you can wager where it’s gonna go. Much like last year, there are absolutely no surprises, and if you’re up to speed on how each of these films made out in other awards ceremonies this year, then you’ll see the winners coming a mile away.
This may be the angry fan in me, but the Academy just seems hell-bent on holding onto the their archaic mentality to constantly honor films that have “Oscar fodder” written all over them. If the Academy really wanted to surprise us, they would have dodged some of these films completely. But I guess the dinosaurs at the Academy like having good filmmakers jump through hoops and dance to the beat of their worn out drum.
- The Reader
- Slumdog Millionaire
- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Stephen Daldry~ The Reader
- Danny Boyle~ Slumdog Millionaire
- David Fincher~ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Gus Van Sant~ Milk
- Ron Howard~ Frost/Nixon
Duh! Duh! Duh! Duh! And Duh! I’m sure these picture have their merit, and I respect the filmmakers involved, but none of these films really feels like an event. They don’t make us want to stand and cheer for their nominations. I look at these and just say, “well duh.” I know deep down I wanted The Dark Knight to be nominated, primarily because it would have given me a better opinion of the Academy. It doesn’t really have to win; just a nomination would have been sufficient. Amongst these the one I will root for is Slumdog Millionaire, largely because I love the underdog, and I feel Danny Boyle is a filmmaker of exceptional range who deserves to get his time in the sun. This is really the only film amongst the five nominations that was made really just to be made and to be seen. Boyle never really stuck me as a filmmaker who wishes to stroke his ego by making Oscar fodder. So I also wish him the best of luck.
- Brad Pitt~ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Mickey Rourke~ The Wrestler
- Sean Penn~ Milk
- Richard Jenkins~ The Visitor
- Frank Langella~ Frost/Nixon
For this I say, “Go, Mickey Rourke!” You rose back like phoenix from the ashes and became the acting juggernaut you deserve to be. You put a lot of your muscle into The Wrestler, both literally and metaphorically. Sean Penn ain’t got nothin’ on you, and since we’re on the subject, Penn is an good actor but let’s face it… he didn’t choose to play Harvey Milk for the paycheck. He knew he could play this and score a nomination with his eyes closed. So it’ll do my heart good to see his ego bruised.
- Kate Winslet~ The Reader
- Anne Hathaway~ Rachel Getting Married
- Meryl Streep~ Doubt
- Angelina Jolie~ Changeling
- Melissa Leo~ Frozen River
If Winslet wins it’ll be a pity Oscar for not giving it to her for Heavenly Creatures and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. She’s a fantastic actress, and she deserves better. So my hopes are on Anne Hathaway even though she may fall into the Eddie Murphy trap by doing Bride Wars after Rachel Getting Married like Murphy ruined his odds by doing Norbit after his incendiary performance in Dreamgirls.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
- Heath Ledger~ The Dark Knight
- Robert Downey, Jr.~ Tropic Thunder
- Josh Brolin~ Milk
- Phillip Seymour Hoffman~ Doubt
- Michael Shannon~ Revolutionary Road
Another reason why I’m ranting at the fact that The Dark Knight didn’t get nominated for Picture and Director, among other categories, is that it cheapens the one solid nomination it did get. Of course I am referring to Heath Ledger’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Being the sole nomination in the primary categories makes it look like the Academy wants to avoid a severe publicity backlash. When Peter Finch won his posthumous Oscar for his performance in Network it was right because that film was attacking the Oscars that year, winning all the top noms. It also won for Best Supporting Actress for a performance with maybe six minutes of screentime. Network was a landmark film that was destined for Oscar gold, and Finch’s win was inevitable regardless of whether or not he had lived to see it.
Ledger’s win is inevitable for the same reason that his nomination was inevitable. This is cheap because Ledger deserves to be nominated, and he deserves to win it, pretty much for the same reason Anthony Hopkins deserved to win for playing Hannibal Lecter. Now given the circumstances, people won’t care that he deserves his win. They’re gonna get on their soapboxes and say that the Academy are only doing it because he’s dead, and his performance is too high profile too ignore. At least Ledger’s win at the Critic’s Choice Awards feels real and like Ledger won the award on the merit of his performance, not because of his death.
I will say Robert Downey, Jr. being nominated for Tropic Thunder surprised the hell out of me. It is a much deserved nomination, and RDJ’s performance in Thunder is without a doubt the best comedic performance I’ve seen this year. It is also the ballsiest. So at least Ledger won’t have a lopsided win. The competition does seem quite sharp.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
- Marisa Tomei~ The Wrestler
- Amy Adams~ Doubt
- Penelope Cruz~ Vicky Christina Barcelona
- Viola Davis~ Doubt
- Taraji P. Henson~ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
…um …yay …um …good luck.
The Dark Knight went on to score noms for every technical category, but that’s a given. It was one of the most competently made action films of the year. It will get much competition from the other great superhero film, Iron Man, so Marvel and DC do battle once again.
Either way, The Oscars is shaping up to be another snorefest, and it is indeed a shame. It’s even worse than last year because this time the ceremony had fantastic potential to be amazing like the 2003 Oscars or the 2007 Oscars when The Departed won. I guess I’ll just play more Half-Life 2 that night.