Thursday, January 22, 2009

Film: 81st Annual Oscar Nominations Announced

The 81st Annual Oscar nominations were announced this morning in LA, here are just a few of the usual suspects, the upsets, and the most deserved.

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionare is this year’s Cinderella story. With 10 nominations, it is the one to beat. Although not a major category, Best Cinematography is one that I hope it takes home. Many crowd shots were done with a Canon stills camera, which takes 12 frames per second. I just find that to be incredibly creative and ingenious. A bit of a disappointment was Dev Patel not getting a nomination. But in all seriousness, I think we know who is winning Best Supporting Actor this year.

It was refreshing to see Taraji P. Henson in the Best Supporting Actress category for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She really lit up the screen, in what was a very long and sometimes boring film. Don’t get me wrong, it was epic and depressing as well. It also leads the pack with 13 nominations. However, Taraji’s co-star Cate Blanchett was not one of them. While I was a bit surprised because Blanchett has been the golden girl for a few years now, I have to say that I found her southern accent to be droning and almost like a bad impression of Blanche DuBois at times. And with Kate Winslet out of the picture, this category is a tough one to call:

Amy Adams: Doubt
Penelope Cruz: Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis: Doubt
Taraji P. Henson: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei: The Wrestler

Clint Eastwood and his film Gran Torino were left out in the cold. I was surprised that not even Clint’s music got recognition. Not like he has room for just any award. The man shells out two gems a year these days. His odds for winning again are very good.

Kate Winslet did get nominated for Best Actress however it was for The Reader. This is interesting because she was campaigning this role for Best Supporting Actress, and Revolutionary Road for Best Actress. The Reader also got nominated for several other top awards, including Best Picture. It seems that Winslet’s film sans husband got more Oscarly love.

* Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
* Achievement in Cinematography
* Achievement in Directing
* Best Motion Picture of the Year
* Adapted Screenplay

* Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
* Achievement in Art Direction
* Achievement in Costume

I’m enjoying the nominations for Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder this year. When it comes down to it, he was the only one for that job. He won’t win, but it’s nice to see him on top of the world. He deserves it.

The biggest and most horrific upset is the fact that Bruce Springsteen was NOT nominated for Best Song. The Boss clearly deserves a nod for his chilling title track for The Wrestler. Let's hope Mickey wins and lets the Academy have it for such an embarassing mistake!

2008 was a good year for movies. While some categories seem to have an obvious winner, others are harder to call and it is sure to be an exciting evening.

Go Slumdog Millionaire!

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