Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Nods Prove Irrelevance

Slumdog Millionaire, Benjamin Button, Milk, Frost/Nixon, and The Reader

Turns out the Academy's love of Holocaust movies overpowers all else, leaving The Dark Knight out in the cold, Gotham night. This category just proves how out of touch the Oscars are with...everyone. This year, The Dark Knight and Wall-E were not only two of the most profitable movies, but two of the most critically acclaimed. The Oscars are the only ones not on board, sticking with typical period pieces. I won't bash The Reader because I haven't seen it yet, but I have trouble believing a movie with 52% top critics on Rotten Tomatoes is better than the defining movie of 2008. To give the Oscars some credit though, Dark Knight did get 8 nominations, so it's not leaving empty-handed. They corrected the Golden Globes' mistake by nominating Milk (with 8 nods). And the 10 nominations for Slumdog are all well-deserved. I would say Slumdog is a slamdunk, but Benjamin Button's 13 nominations and Milk's underdog status mean this race is still alive.

Sean Penn (Milk), Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)

The only surprise here is that it matched the SAG nominations, leaving out Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio. So much for the Academy's blind love of Clint Eastwood - Gran Torino got a goose egg (though Changeling managed 3 nods). I'm glad to see Richard Jenkins get his due, but I do wonder how anyone thought Brad Pitt's lifeless turn in Benjamin Button was better than Leonardo DiCaprio in Revolutionary Road. If they wanted higher ratings for the show, they would have, I don't know, nominated Dark Knight. This one's between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke.

Meryl Streep (Doubt), Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Kate Winslet (The Reader), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Melissa Leo (Frozen River)

In the biggest surprise, voters put Kate Winslet in lead for The Reader, ignoring her performance in Revolutionary Road. So yeah, they hated Revolutionary Road (which only got 3 nods) and loved The Reader (5 nods). I also wasn't expecting Melissa Leo to make it in, as Frozen River hasn't had too much buzz for awhile. Without double nominations to confuse voters, I'm thinking Kate Winslet will be winning her first Oscar here.

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), Josh Brolin (Milk), Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)

Glad to see Michael Shannon make it on here, giving Revolutionary Road something. But I'm disappointed it came at the cost of Dev Patel, leaving Slumdog with no acting nominations. The other nominees are all just for show though, since we all know this is Heath Ledger's award.

Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Viola Davis (Doubt), Amy Adams (Doubt), Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler), Taraji P. Henson (Benjamin Button)

Putting Kate Winslet in lead for The Reader left room for Doubt to double dip. Since they'll probably cancel each other out and Marisa Tomei has already won, I'm guessing this will go to Penelope Cruz. But if Taraji P. Henson wins, Benjamin Button might be taking down the big prize.

Danny Boyle (Slumdog), David Fincher (Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Gus Van Sant (Milk), Stephen Daldry (The Reader)

Not nominating Dark Knight for best picture is one thing. But leaving Christopher Nolan out of directing? That's just absurd. Absurd. Guess that means Danny Boyle is winning.

Milk, Wall-E, Happy-Go-Lucky, Frozen River, In Bruges

I found this category the hardest to predict (I got 2/5), and I can't say I'm satisfied by the surprises. Sure, I haven't seen Happy-Go-Lucky or Frozen River, but In Bruges? Over Rachel Getting Married, The Wrestler, Burn After Reading, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona? Really? This better be a Milk victory.

Slumdog Millionaire, Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Doubt, The Reader

Ok, no real surprises here, since Dark Knight and Revolutionary Road probably didn't stand a real chance. I'm gonna go with Slumdog for now, but any of those first three stand a decent chance.

Down to Earth (Wall-E), Jai Ho (Slumdog), O Saya (Slumdog)

I don't really understand why they didn't just go to 5 this year, since if there's no room for Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler," the category is too small. I too would have trouble choosing between the two Slumdog songs, but over Springsteen? At least we get to see MIA perform.

I'll do real predictions closer to the actual Oscars. In the meantime, I guess I need to go see The Reader.

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