JANUARY 22, 2009: After several years in which the Academy appeared
to be growing more daring, they have reverted back to their old habits.
The nominations came in this morning with some of the year's best films
snubbed, notably The Dark Knight, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Gran Torino. I knew
that Eastwood's and Allen's films were more marginal choices, but The Dark
Knight is the true movie of the moment, the film that practically
defined 2008. In its place, we get The Reader, a bland piece of
fluff that looks as if it were cranked out by a computer designed to
make Oscar nominees. Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky was also
snubbed, notably in the case of actress Sally Hawkins, who won
practically every critics award on the planet. David Fincher received
his first Best Director nomination for his worst film (where was his nod
for Fight Club?) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button earned the most
nominations, 13, which is pretty standard for the longest film in the batch.
Slumdog Millionaire earned ten, while Milk earned eight. All in all, it was a year of great popcorn
movies and funny comedies, neither of which particularly appeal to the
Of the twenty nominated actors, five (Penn, Streep, Hoffman, Jolie and Tomei) are former winners.
Five others, Pitt, Downey Jr., Ledger, Adams and Cruz, are receiving their second
nomination. Kate Winslet has received her sixth nomination. The other nine actors are being
nominated for the first time. Incidentally, this is the 15th nomination for Streep.
As for the directors, Van Sant is receiving his second nomination;
his first was for Good Will Hunting. Howard is likewise receiving
his second nomination, though he won for A Beautiful Mind.
Somehow, this is the third nomination for Daldry, after Billy
Elliot and The Hours. (Huh?) Finall, these are the first
nominations for both Boyle and Fincher.
Sunday, February 15. All my predictions are in now. The winners will be
announced Sunday, February 22, 2009. Let the games begin.
Sunday, February 22: Winners announced. I got 16 out of 23, or about 70%. (I did not
make a prediction for Best Documentary Short.) The totals break down like this:
Slumdog Millionaire with eight, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with three,
The Dark Knight and Milk with two apiece, and The Reader,
Man on Wire, The Duchess, WALL-E and Vicky Cristina Barcelona with one each.
Then we have Departures for Foreign Language -- which nobody has seen yet -- and the
three short films for a total of 24. Frost/Nixon came away empty-handed. Thanks
for checking in; we'll see you next year!
The Winner: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire My Prediction: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire My Vote: Gus Van Sant, Milk Unfairly Overlooked: Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky), Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
The Winner: Sean Penn, Milk My Prediction: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler My Vote: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler Unfairly Overlooked: Benicio Del Toro (Che), Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino),
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man)
The Winner: Kate Winslet, The Reader My Prediction: Kate Winslet, The Reader My Vote: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married Unfairly Overlooked: Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky),
Michelle Williams (Wendy & Lucy), Juliette Binoche (Flight of the Red Balloon),
Penelope Cruz (Elegy)
The Winner:Okuribito (Departures) My Prediction:Waltz with Bashir My Vote:Waltz with Bashir Unfairly Overlooked:Let the Right One In (Sweden),
Gommorah (Italy), A Christmas Tale (France), JCVD (Belgium)
The Winner: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire My Prediction: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire My Vote: John Patrick Shanley, Doubt Unfairly Overlooked: Simon Beaufoy (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day),
Jonathan & Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight), Clark Gregg (Choke)
The Winner: Dustin Lance Black, Milk My Prediction: Dustin Lance Black, Milk My Vote: Martin McDonagh, In Bruges Unfairly Overlooked: Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona),
Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married),
Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor),
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Burn After Reading)
The Winner: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire My Prediction: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire My Vote: Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight Unfairly Overlooked: Roger Deakins (Doubt), Jody Shapiro (My Winnipeg),
Lik Wai Yu (Still Life)
The Winner: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire My Prediction: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire My Vote: Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Unfairly Overlooked: James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight),
Clint Eastwood (Changeling)
"Down to Earth" from WALL-E, Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman
The Winner: "Jai Ho" (Slumdog Millionaire) My Prediction: "Jai Ho" (Slumdog Millionaire) My Vote: "O Saya" (Slumdog Millionaire) Unfairly Overlooked: "Another Way to Die," Jack White & Alicia Keys (Quantum of Solace); "Love Me Sexy" (Semi-Pro)