Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Best of 2008: Oscar Nominations Open Thread

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Best of 2008: Oscar Nominations Open Thread

I would like to hear your thoughts on the Oscar nominations announced this morning. Listed below are the nominees. Please leave your opinion in the comments section. I'll join in with my own once we get the ball rolling. Performance by an actor in a leading role Richard Jenkins in The Visitor Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon Sean Penn in Milk Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler Performance by an actor in a supporting role Josh Brolin in Milk Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road Performance by an actress in a leading role Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married Angelina Jolie in Changeling Melissa Leo in Frozen River Meryl Streep in Doubt Kate Winslet in The Reader Performance by an actress in a supporting role Amy Adams in Doubt Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona Viola Davis in Doubt Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler Best animated feature film of the year Bolt, Chris Williams and Byron Howard Kung Fu Panda, John Stevenson and Mark Osborne WALL-E, Andrew Stanton Achievement in art direction Changeling, Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo The Dark Knight, Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando The Duchess, Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway Revolutionary Road, Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt Achievement in cinematography Changeling, Tom Stern The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Claudio Miranda The Dark Knight, Wally Pfister The Reader, Chris Menges and Roger Deakins Slumdog Millionaire, Anthony Dod Mantle Achievement in costume design Australia, Catherine Martin The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Jacqueline West The Duchess, Michael O’Connor Milk, Danny Glicker Revolutionary Road, Albert Wolsky Achievement in directing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Fincher Frost/Nixon, Ron Howard Milk, Gus Van Sant The Reader, Stephen Daldry Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle Best documentary feature The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath Encounters at the End of the World, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser The Garden, Scott Hamilton Kennedy Man on Wire, James Marsh and Simon Chinn Trouble the Water, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal Best documentary short subject The Conscience of Nhem En, Steven Okazaki The Final Inch, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant Smile Pinki, Megan Mylan The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde Achievement in film editing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall The Dark Knight, Lee Smith Frost/Nixon, Mike Hill and Dan Hanley Milk, Elliot Graham Slumdog Millionaire, Chris Dickens Best foreign language film of the year The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany The Class, France Departures, Japan Revanche, Austria Waltz with Bashir, Israel Achievement in makeup The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Greg Cannom The Dark Knight, John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat Defiance, James Newton Howard Milk, Danny Elfman Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman WALL-E, Thomas Newman Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song) “Down to Earth” from WALL-E, Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire, Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar “O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire, Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam Best motion picture of the year The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers Frost/Nixon, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers Milk, A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers The Reader, Nominees to be determined Slumdog Millionaire, Christian Colson, Producer Best animated short film La Maison en Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato Lavatory - Lovestory, Konstantin Bronzit Oktapodi, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand Presto, Doug Sweetland This Way Up, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes Best live action short film Auf der Strecke (On the Line), Reto Caffi Manon on the Asphalt, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont New Boy, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie The Pig, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh Spielzeugland (Toyland), Jochen Alexander Freydank Achievement in sound editing The Dark Knight, Richard King Iron Man, Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes Slumdog Millionaire, Tom Sayers WALL-E, Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood Wanted, Wylie Stateman Achievement in sound mixing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten The Dark Knight, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick Slumdog Millionaire, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty WALL-E, Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt Wanted, Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt Achievement in visual effects The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron The Dark Knight, Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin Iron Man, John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan Adapted screenplay The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord Doubt, Written by John Patrick Shanley Frost/Nixon, Screenplay by Peter Morgan The Reader, Screenplay by David Hare Slumdog Millionaire, Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy Original screenplay Frozen River, Written by Courtney Hunt Happy-Go-Lucky, Written by Mike Leigh In Bruges, Written by Martin McDonagh Milk, Written by Dustin Lance Black WALL-E, Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter For more on the Best of 2008: Best of 2008: Animated Features Best of 2008: Performances and Creative Achievements Best of 2008: The 10 Best Films of the Year


Dean Treadway said...

Well, of course I wrote my own piece about this very subject at filmicability. But very quickly:

ECSTATIC ABOUT: The snubbing of THE DARK KNIGHT for Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay.

HAPPY ABOUT: nominations for Heath Ledger, Mickey Rourke, Melissa Leo, Richard Jenkins, Michael Shannon, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Marisa Tomei, MIA (for co-writing a SLUMDOG song), Mike Leigh, IN BRUGES, Courtney Hunt's script for FROZEN RIVER, and the screenplay for WALL-E.

SAD ABOUT: the complete passing over of THE FALL; Michelle Williams for WENDY AND LUCY; Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan in HAPPY GO LUCKY; the titles songs for both THE WRESTLER and GRAN TORINO; the script and lead performances in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD; the lack of any love for SYNECDOCHE NY.

Dean Treadway said...

Also, completely indifferent about the showings of SLUMDOG, BENJAMIN BUTTON, THE READER. But I do like FROST/NIXON and MILK. I'd go with MILK as the best of the bunch. But it's hardly my favorite of the year, by any stretch of the imagination. This confirms my suspicion that 2008 was a terrible movie year. But 2009 will be superb!

Patrick said...

I was sorry The Dark Knight got snubbed, I like to see the Academy throw a bone to movies that are popular and somewhat ambitious (like LOTR), and this was a great chance to do that. Glad Downey got a nomination for Tropic Thunder. And "The Reader"? I never heard of it, that ain't going to help the ratings.

Tony Dayoub said...

Dean, I agree that, with the exception of Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (a movie which I enjoyed, BTW) had no reason to be nominated, especially with Nolan's poor direction of the action in the third act. There's a running conversation on this at Jim Emerson's Scanners.

Regarding The Fall, you'll definitely see it in my top 10 tomorrow, but are you really surprised the Academy overlooked it?

And why wasn't Bruce nominated? Or Charlie Kaufman? Those two were extra disappointing.

I don't agree that 2008 was a terrible movie year, but most of the good films were outside the mainstream, and outside America.

Tony Dayoub said...

Hi Patrick,

Downey for Tropic Thunder was a good pick. Despite the fact that I didn't like the movie as a whole, Downey and Cruise gave great turns in that one, and I like when the Academy acknowledges a comedy.

As for The Reader, you haven't heard it, and I haven't seen it. My holiday season had enough Nazis in it with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Valkyrie, and Defiance.

Patrick said...

Tropic Thunder was only a mixed bag, like a lot of comedies, but Downey was worthy of a nomination. One other comment - have seen two of the Best Documentary features and would really like to see Man On Wire win, and I expect it will, excellent movie. Also saw the Herzog movie, it had some interesting parts, and also some off the wall questions from Herzog, it was ok but nowhere near the level of Man On Wire.

James Hansen said...

Word is SPringsteen may have been snubbed because the song wasn't techincally "in" the movie. It only plays over credits. There have been a lot of rule changes in the category over the past few years, so there may have been some confusion or mixed messages or something. Otherwise, there's really no reason not to nominate it. Oscar loves having stars out there, music and otherwise, and having Springsteen out there would have been huge. There almost has to be a bigger story behind that.

The only real thing I am sad about is Sally Hawkins. Totally expected her to be nominated (if not win) and she didn't even get nominated. Stunning. Nathaniel at The Film Experience has some perspective on the enormity of the snub (as she won LA, NYC, and the Globe). Everything else that got overlooked was fairly expected to me (other than the song, also).

Glad to see Leo and Jenkins in there, but I wish there would have been more love for Wall*E and The Wrestler (which, probably because its purposefully a touch grainy, got snubbed for cinematography. My cinematography friend sends his pissed off-ness).

Tony Dayoub said...


Both docs are on my Netflix queue after your recommendation, thanks.


Bruce was robbed! and so was Hawkins, but that one is a little more understandable. This was a stronger than average year for actresses. I think the only one I might have kicked off the Best Actress list was Jolie, not because she was bad, but because it's your typical paint-by-numbers-Oscar-caliber-performance-.

Sad that Wall-E has limited prospects because it's animated, true. But though I liked The Wrestler, and it is better than any of the nominated films, in a truly just world that nominated deserving films I'm not sure The Wrestler is anything more than a really well-executed genre movie. It only merited an honorable mention from me this year.

James Hansen said...

Wrestler will only get an honorable mention from me as well, but I'll still take it over any of the other 5 Best Picture nominees.

As far as Best Actress goes...I still can't believe Hawkins isn't in, even if it is a tough year. Honestly, I was underwhelmed by Streep and Winslet. Jolie is classically showy. Hathaway gives a solid performance for sure though. I just think Hawkins is #@$*ing transcendentally amazing in HGL. I don't even LOVE HGL, but still found her performance one of the best in a long time.

But what can ya do. I signed off of getting too invested in the Oscars a couple of years ago. I still "like" them and follow whats going on, but its just another awards show for me. I take what's coming out of Cannes a lot more seriously. Perhaps that's because of my largely European interests, but still...

Tony Dayoub said...


Agreed on The Wrestler and Jolie.

As for the Oscars, I agree with you up to a point. It's kind of the only game in town in a sense. Actual filmmakers and actresses awarding themselves has more stock with me that the Golden Globes which is just an excuse for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to justify their limited influence, and get a chance to dine with the stars. Winslet's wins in both the Actress and Supporing Actress category - for a pair of perfomances that were good but not great - was a joke.

The Oscars are still respected enough that even some of the critics who pooh-pooh AMPAS will still look to the Academy's picks for guidance when it comes to viewing documentaries, short subjects, etc.

Fletch said...

I'd have taken TDK being nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay eons, decades and eras before I would have taken vanilla, risk-free fare like Frost/Nixon and Benjamin Button. I'm not with the public on most choices, but I am here, and am utterly disheartened to see Button, despite its being made by a favorite director and starring a favorite actor, garner 13 nominations, mostly for looking good (which it indeed did).

While I'm not sure if The Wrestler deserved a Best Pic nom, I'd agree with those that think it more deserving than some of the other choices. I'd have most liked to have seen it given the Cinematography nod I think it highly deserved.

Lissette Decos said...

I totally disagree with Brad Pitt for Best Actor. Ugh. I felt like I was watching The Curious Case of Joe Black.

Tony Dayoub said...


You have a point about TDK and The Wrestler from that perspective.


I have to disagree with you. The material Pitt was handed is what stifled the creativity. But Fincher and he both tried to stretch beyond the limitations of Roth's copycat screenplay. And while the resemblance to Roth's own Forrest Gump was inherent in his weak screenplay for Button, I suspect the similarity to Meet Joe Black was deliberate and calculated on Fincher's part (and maybe even Pitt's) in order to comment on Pitt's youth and blankness in that earlier picture that dealt with the same themes. This in essence gives the cipher-like Button a meta-history, in the moviegoer's consciousness, that lives outside Button's nearly 3-hour running time.

Tony Dayoub said...

That being said, Lissette, maybe Benicio deserved the nom for Best Actor more than Brad.