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Friday, January 30, 2009

Oscar Nominees 2009

I was going to post about the Oscar nominees last week but I completely forgot about it. I'm a little busier now with school and stuff, OK? j/k, d/c.

I love the Oscar awards, I'm one of the few people who think it's actually semi-important. Not that it's completely accurate or the "gospel truth" or anything... there are plenty of Best Picture winners that I hate, plenty of superior films or performances that are snubbed, and it's pretty lazy and stupid of the Academy to always award Holocaust movies with nominations, even if they're CRAP (I'm looking at you, "The Reader"). Seriously, is there ever going to be a time when they don't award mediocre Holocaust movies? When is it safe to award other films... 2050? 2100? I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved "Schindler's List" and the Holocaust is still so shocking and important and the most heinous act of the millenium, but enough melodramatic "award fishing", nahmean?

Anyways I really like the Academy Awards. Maybe because I imagine that all these people are my friends and I want to work in Hollywood and write movies and I want to be on the Oscars and win Oscars and be friends with Scorcese and Eastwood and DiCaprio. And I just feel it's an important cultural event and the nominated films are usually pretty good and it's a great opportunity to award excellence in film, which I feel is an important art form. And these films inspire greatness, thought and artistic risk-taking, which is something to be proud of in this world of "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop".

I'm going to guess the winners, who I think should win, and some important snubs. Peep the Oscars on 2/22. Holla at your boy.

Complete list of 81st annual Academy Award nominations

1. Best Picture: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire."

- This award has to go to "Slumdog Millionaire". It's been the darling of the film circuit this year, and everybody has fallen for it's incredible script and inspired, riveting love story. I think it's really resonating with audiences because of the recession and the economy... audiences want an earnest, rags-to-riches story with a happy ending. It's an almost perfect film, and it should win big at the Oscars.
All of these other nominated films are really great, except for "The Reader". I can't believe it got nominated, it is just so mediocre and uninspired, I mean, it's GOOD and everything, but there are so many more worthy films that deserved that nomination. "Wall-E", "The Wrestler", "The Dark Knight", "Revolutionary Road", "Gran Torino", any of these would of been a better choice. AND "WALL-E" SHOULD OF BEEN NOMINATED. ANIMATED FILMS ARE MOVIES TOO.

2. Actor: Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"; Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"; Sean Penn, "Milk"; Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler."

- This award is going to Mickey Rourke, hands down. His performance is so incredible, so heartbreaking, and no other actor on Earth could of pulled off that role. Only Mickey knew what the Ram had been through, as he'd been through a similar fall from grace. He is so great in this role, yet he never overacts or plays Randy up. His performance reminds me of Heath Ledger's in "Brokeback Mountain", a quiet, subdued, understated performance, one where we have to look deep into the Ram's soul to understand his torment and his despair. It's a great performance, up there with Ennis Del Mar and Daniel Plainview. Welcome back Mickey.
The biggest snub in this category is Clint Eastwood in "Gran Torino". He was great in this role (rumored to be his last in front of the camera), and it was an excellent career capper to the iconic Dirty Harry and tough cowboy roles he has played so masterfully in his storied career. Surely Jenkins or Pitt could of been taken off this list and Clint could of gotten a sort of "Lifetime Achievement" nomination.

3. Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"; Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"; Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"; Meryl Streep, "Doubt"; Kate Winslet, "The Reader."

- This award should go to Anne Hathaway, her performance as a drug-addled tornado in the remarkable "Rachel Getting Married". However, I bet that the Academy will give this one to Kate Winslet, she is in a Nazi movie after all. Winslet is a great actress, but I feel she was much better in "Revolutionary Road" and should of gotten nominated for that. The Academy will award her for her two great performances this year, and she'll finally get her long-overdue Oscar. I'm all right with that.

4. Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, "Milk"; Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"; Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"; Michael Shannon, "Revolutionary Road."

- Heath Ledger will win this one, that's a lock. He deserves it too, and this will be a great moment in honor of this talented actor who left us too soon.
I can't believe Michael Shannon got a nomination. His performance was really distracting and was just too cliche and short... he's only onscreen for like 10 minutes. It's not his fault, it's the screenwriters fault to make him such a one dimensional "truth-teller" who sees through everything. I just found his character so fake and was a lazy tool for the screenwriter to advance the tension and storyline. Surely somebody else could of been nominated in his place, like James Franco in "Pineapple Express" or Dev Patel from "Slumdog Millionaire".

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

- I think this award will go to Taraji P. Henson (she was great, and I think "Button" will get shut out of the other awards) but it should go to Penelope Cruz. Her performance was really fantastic, and she just burned up the screen.
All of these performances were great, but I wish that Rosemarie Dewitt could of gotten a nomination for "Rachel Getting Married".

6. Director: David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"; Gus Van Sant, "Milk"; Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"; Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire."

- This award is going to Danny Boyle, hands down. The man is an incredible director, and he really brought the Bollywood scene to the big table with his beautiful film.
Clint Eastwood directed two pretty good films this year, "Changeling" and "Gran Torino". He should of gotten nominated over Stephen Daldry.

7. Foreign Film: "The Baader Meinhof Complex," Germany; "The Class," France; "Departures," Japan; "Revanche," Austria; "Waltz With Bashir," Israel.

- "Waltz With Bashir" is going to win this one. I haven't seen it yet, it just came to Portland today, but I heard it's pretty great.

8. Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt"; Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon"; David Hare, "The Reader"; Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire."

- "Slumdog Millionaire" should win this one as well. The screenplay to the film is so unique and refreshing, and it's really a unique device having the plot points be incorporated through the game show. I hope it wins.

9. Original Screenplay: Courtney Hunt, "Frozen River"; Mike Leigh, "Happy-Go-Lucky"; Martin McDonagh, "In Bruges"; Dustin Lance Black, "Milk"; Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, "WALL-E."

- This category is pretty weak except for the amazing "Wall-E", which should win easily. The only other competition is "Milk", and the "Milk" screenplay was pretty weak and cliche-ridden. He basically copied the Milk documentary anyways. "Wall-E" deserves this one, and it should of been nominated for more awards! Animated films are movies too! This is discrimination!

10. Animated Feature Film: "Bolt"; "Kung Fu Panda"; "WALL-E."

- "Wall-E" wins this one easily. It's a shame that "Wall-E", the greatest animated film ever, can't transcend it's genre and is relegated to the "Animated Film" Oscar ghetto. ANIMATED MOVIES ARE STILL MOVIES THAT DESERVE TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY!

11. Art Direction: "Changeling," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "The Duchess," "Revolutionary Road."

- Not sure what Art Direction is, but I'll go with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". It was pretty immaculately made.

12. Cinematography: "Changeling," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire."

- "Slumdog Millionaire" fo sho. The shots of the Mumbai slums were amazing.

13. Sound Mixing: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Slumdog Millionaire," "WALL-E," "Wanted."

- "Wall-E" will win this one. The fact that most of it didn't even have DIALOGUE made the sound that much more important. These characters communicated through sound, and "Wall-E" deserves this Oscar.

14. Sound Editing: "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man," "Slumdog Millionaire," "WALL-E," "Wanted."

- "Wall-E" again. The sound was just such an important part of the movie, hopefully the Academy recognizes that.

15. 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.

- I think A.R. Rahman's "Slumdog Millionaire" score was such an important part of the film, it really brought us into the Indian world and complemented the film nicely. I think it'll win.

16. Original Song: "Down to Earth" from "WALL-E," Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman and Gulzar; "O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire," A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam.

- First of all, I can't believe that Bruce Springsteen was snubbed for his song from "The Wrestler"... I'm not even a Springsteen fan and that song absolutely floored me. That said, I'm hoping that "O Saya" wins, because my girl M.I.A. is on the track. That'd be so cool for M.I.A. to win an Oscar, and that song was really great.

17. Costume: "Australia," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Duchess," "Milk," "Revolutionary Road."

- I think this award will go to "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", the costumes were pretty great and the Academy will feel bad for snubbing it in the other prestigious categories.

18. Documentary Feature: "The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)," "Encounters at the End of the World," "The Garden," "Man on Wire," "Trouble the Water."

- "Man on Wire" will win this one for sure. That documentary was just amazing!

19. Documentary (short subject): "The Conscience of Nhem En," "The Final Inch," "Smile Pinki," "The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306."

- Ummm, I'm gonna guess "The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306". It sounds the best.

20. Film Editing: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Frost/Nixon," "Milk," "Slumdog Millionaire."

- "Slumdog Millionaire" will win this one. It's going to be the big winner this year, I can feel it.

21. Makeup: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" will win this one, the aging makeup was pretty great.

22. Animated Short Film: "La Maison en Petits Cubes," "Lavatory - Lovestory," "Oktapodi," "Presto," "This Way Up."

- "Presto" will take this award, that short was really funny and inventive.

23. Live Action Short Film: "Auf der Strecke (On the Line)," "Manon on the Asphalt," "New Boy," "The Pig," "Spielzeugland (Toyland)."

- I'm gonna guess "New Boy". I'm not sure why.

24. Visual Effects: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Dark Knight," "Iron Man."

- The special effects in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" were really amazing, I couldn't believe how difficult they were to actually pull off. They'll win this award for sure.

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