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...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The 2008 Oscars Nominations

Please consider this a place-holder post for Oscars nominations talk. Having welched on my promise to write that Christmas Movie Guide for you, I will be taking this post more seriously.

Meanwhile, please consider my own predictions for the nominations to follow. Remember, this is not my choice for each category, given a personal preference. Just what I think the Academy will honour today.

EDIT NOON EST: Yikes, after staying up until the wee hours, I fell asleep shortly before the announcements! I have updated the post below, with the actual nominees, with my earlier picks being striked out.

But let me say that CANNOT BELIEVE The Dark Knight and Gran Torino didn't get nods. The Dark Knight was the best American fim of 2008, for chrissakes! Just further proof that Hollywood is extraordinarily out of touch with the rest of America and even critical acclaim. Apparently, a story about a paedolphile female Nazi was judged to have been worthier than a film which turned a whole genre on its head. Ugh. And no Sally Hawkins!?

I am so upset, I can barely write.


Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader

The Dark Knight


Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button)

Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)


Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)

Kristin Scott Thomas (I Have Loved You A Long Time)
Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
1/2 correct: Kate Winslet Revolutionary Road


Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Josh Brolin (Milk)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road)
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)

Leonardo Di Caprio (Revolutionary Road)
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)


Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Viola Davis (Doubt)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Taraji P. Henson (Benjamin Button)
Amy Adams (Doubt)

Kate Winslet (The Reader)


Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
David Fincher (Benjamin Button)
Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon)
Gus Van Sant (Milk)
Stephen Daldry (The Reader)

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)


Waltz With Bashir (Israel, Folman)
Revanche (Austria, Spielmann)
The Class (France, Cantet)
Departures (Japan, Takita)
The Baader Meinhof Komplex (Germany, Edel)

3 Monkeys (Turkey, Ceylan)


Incidentally, it's a travesty that Gomorra, from Italy, didn't make the shortlist of 9 foreign films. That is one of the best movies of the past year, full stop.

Having said that, maybe this is a good moment to give you one of those Americanised Top 10 Movies lists.


1. The Dark Knight
2. Happy-Go-Lucky
3. Gomorra
4. Wall-E (esp. the first-half)
5. Waltz with Bashir
6. Wendy And Lucy
7. Silent Light
8. Man On Wire
9. The Edge of Heaven
10. Revolutionary Road

REVISED: You know what? I took out Slumdog Millionaire: ultimately, I think it is worthy obviously, but it leaves me utterly cold. I also took out Boy In the Striped Pyjamas, because it was more manipulative than perhaps I am willing to admit.

I didn't include marvels like the Romanian 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 Days or Russia's Aleksandra, not because I didn't rate them, but because I feel they belong in last year's crop. In fact, I loved both these films very much. I also didn't include films such as "Rachel Getting Married" or France's "Flight Of The Red Balloon", despite them being high on many lists. I didn't care for either film. Ditto for "Taxi to the Darkside" or the Che series, yuck.

Alas, I haven't been able to watch a film Peggy Gero DaValt recommended, "Synecdoche, New York". The same is true with Cantet's "The Class".

Here are professional critics' Top 10 lists (in Roger Ebert's case, Top 20). I would say I have seen a good 60% of those listed.

But I will skin anyone alive if they put The Visitor as one of the best films of 2008, however good were the performances by Richard Jenkins and his Palestinian actress counterpart, Hiam Abbass.

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  • Did you post a review of The Visitor here? (Mine is here.)

    We were disappointed--thought the movie ground to a halt about 1/2-way through.

    But hey, best actor nom for Richard Jenkins wouldn't be uncalled for.

    By Blogger blake, at Thu Jan 22, 06:46:00 am GMT-5  

  • Spoiler Alert -

    I watched the nominations before heading to work.....and I am so shocked that Clint Eastwood and company did not get any recognition for Gran Torino.

    And....Revolutionary Road did nothing either...

    There were just SO many outstanding movies/actors/actresses that I do believe it was hard to choose.

    I loved Richard Jenkins in the HBO show Six Feet Under.

    I saw Doubt this past weekend and I personally did not like it. Nor did my regular movie buddy. We both wanted the movie to get over....and the ending....but the acting was good, but it so appeared like a "play" which I believe it was adapted from.

    I am so pleased that Milk got some nods because, despite the subject matter, was very well done.

    And....now....to wait!!

    By Blogger Peggy Gero DaValt, at Thu Jan 22, 10:27:00 am GMT-5  

  • victoria,

    I don't go to the movies much but Gran Torino is one of the best movies I've seen in a loooooong time. I highly recommend it. :~)

    By Blogger Ms Calabaza, at Thu Jan 22, 01:18:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I've seen so few of those actually nominated. I'm glad Man on Wire is up for Best Doumentray.

    Victoria, blake, Peggy, and Ron: your movie opinions mean much to me than the nods of the Academy anyday.

    By Blogger chickenlittle, at Thu Jan 22, 01:26:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Vic, it seems you rated Happy Go Lucky, but did you like it?

    I found it the most disturbing movie I'd seen in many years, and certainly more disturbing than one of Leigh's overtly "shock" films like Naked.

    It depicts nothing less than the utter emasculation of the British male, and the absence of any credible ideal of manhood in the post-Blair nanny state.

    The movie is brilliant in doing so, but whether it's a lament or a dance on the grave... Well, given Leigh's politics I'm afraid to ask.

    By Blogger JSU, at Thu Jan 22, 06:11:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm surprised there hasn't been more discussion in this thread. Did I chase everyone off?

    Anyway, Dark Knight is at the top of my list too, next to Flight of the Red Balloon -- two movies as different as they get. Hou draws out a wonderful performance from Juliette Binoche, who seems to revel in being unglamorous for a change. Not a movie for most, but irreplaceable for its audience.

    I did see Synecdoche, which I thought got lost in its own conceit about halfway through, rather than just at the end as in Malkovich. You do get to see a long Emily Watson topless scene, though...

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Jan 23, 02:43:00 pm GMT-5  

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