Let's lay it all out shall we. The hits, the misses, the wtf's?
- After months of speculation, the Academy shows their true colors and snubs The Dark Knight for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay. This will be a hard one to live down, even for AMPAS.
- Prestige picture (read: mind numbing) The Reader ends up overtaking The Dark Knight, becoming what has to be the lowest grossing Best Picture nominee to date (not to mention the film's appalling Metacritic score). Kind of ironic, but sad more than anything else. Stephen Daldry has now made 3 films and has scored best director nominations for each, with two of the films getting into the Best Pic race.
- Kate Winslet did in fact make the jump to Lead Actress for The Reader (a possibility I have frequently alluded to), a film the Academy apparently liked enough to bestow many nominations upon (who are these people who threw #1 votes at this film? Apparently Harvey Weinstein still has major pull). As a result she was left out for her better work in Revolutionary Road. The silver lining? She has just won herself that elusive first Oscar.
- I've been saying for months that Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road would be too dark for the Academy, and that was certainly the case this morning. The film received just 3 nods, one for Art Direction, one for Costumes Design and one for supporting actor Michael Shannon, who thankfully bumped Slumdog's overrated Dev Patel out of contention. Years down the line this is another film that the Academy will look foolish for not embracing.
- No Clint Eastwood! Not for actor (which was expected), and not for picture or director (less expected but a galloping dark horse the last couple weeks). Thank god the Academy saw Gran Torino for the funny but ridiculous entertainment that it truly is. Changeling is still far superior in my opinion.
- My heart breaks most for Sally Hawkins this morning. She was by no means a lock, and granted this was a tough year for lead actresses, but nonetheless this stings a bit. I am glad however that Melissa Leo was singled out.
- With Kate Winslet in supporting, the Academy decided to double nod the supporting actresses of Doubt (Amy Adams and Viola Davis), which I didn't think would happen. This is now a race between Davis and Penelope Cruz for the statuette.
- I knew the original screenplay race could turn into a potential mess, and indeed it did. I certainly wasn't expecting a screenplay nod for Frozen River (though I'm not complaining), while In Bruges also came as a surprise, although I had a feeling it had an outside shot here. I'm equally surprised Woody Allen missed out on his 15th screenwriting nod, but I highly doubt he is losing sleep over it. And I maintain that Wall-E doesn't have much of a script at all.
- The highly acclaimed Waltz with Bashir unexpectedly missed out on an Animated film nod, though it has a strong shot at the documentary prize.
- And lastly, where is Bruce Springsteen?! Two Slumdog songs and no love for Bruce's extremely affecting "The Wrestler". Boo.
I'm updating these as they roll in:
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"
Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader"
Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
Clint Eastwood, "Changeling"
David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis, "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"
Foreign Language Film
Waltz with Bashir
Kung Fu Panda
(Thanks to Awards Daily for the rest of these)
Achievement in Art direction
*“Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
*“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
*“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
*“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
*“Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt
Achievement in cinematography
* “Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle
Achievement in costume design
* “Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
* “The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
* “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky
Best documentary feature
* “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
* “Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
* “The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
* “Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
* “Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal
Best documentary short subject
* “The Conscience of Nhem En” A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
* “The Final Inch” A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
* “Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
* “The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306” A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde
Achievement in film editing
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens
Best foreign language film of the year
* “The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production, Germany
* “The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
* “Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
* “Revanche” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
* “Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel
Achievement in makeup
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
* “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.),Alexandre Desplat
* “Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
* “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
* “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
* “O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam
Best animated short film
* “La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
* “Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
* “Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
* “Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
* “This Way Up”, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes
Best live action short film
* “Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
* “Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
* “New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
* “The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
* “Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank
Achievement in sound editing
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
* “Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
* “Wanted” (Universal),Wylie Stateman
Achievement in sound mixing
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
* “Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt
Achievement in visual effects
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
* “Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan