January 21, 2008

Oscar Eve, Part I: The Nominations

Filed under: Movies,Oscars — DB @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,


In a little under 12 hours, one of the strangest and most wide-open Oscar seasons in recent memory will go into overdrive with the announcement of this year’s nominations. Normally at this point, I would be subjecting you all, whether you care or not, to my predictions. But this year, I’m not making any. It’s a fool’s errand. Sure, each race has around two sure-fire bets, but after that, the remaining few spots in each category have so many possible options that trying to guess what will make the cut is like playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.

Atonement, a seemingly awards-ready film that would be deserving of almost every nomination it could get, has been widely snubbed by guilds and critics. Will the Academy overlook it as well, or will its potential as the most nominated film of the year be fulfilled?

Although it won two major Golden Globe awards, Sweeney Todd‘s lack of support from the Screen Actor’s Guild and other organizations has been chalked up to late delivery of DVD screeners from the studio. The Academy should have received them in time, but will it matter?

Into The Wild has been a popular choice all around, but it still feels like it could go either way in many key categories. Hal Holbrook is probably a certainty, but what about Emile Hirsch? He deserves to be a lock, yet will voters deem him too young, or his character too off-putting? Will Sean Penn score both directing and writing nominations, and even of he does, will the movie break into the Best Picture batch? Will Catherine Keener make the cut?

Will the star power of American Gangster fool voters into thinking it deserves nominations that it doesn’t? Entertaining as it is, nothing in that movie hasn’t been seen before. Ruby Dee’s part is really too small to merit a nomination, but then, this is the Academy and she is Ruby Dee – old, highly respected, never nominated.

Will Zodiac break through into any top categories? Will Judd Apatow finally get a screenplay nomination?

In such a quality year, is it possible that some genuine surprises are in store? Nominations for people or films that have been entirely overlooked by critics, guilds, and other organizations? I’m still rooting for Tommy Lee Jones to make the Best Actor list for In The Valley of Elah, but there’s no precedent for it at all. Still, with two great performances this year, will he make it into the Supporting Race for No Country? And if he does, who does that cut out of one of the most competitive categories? Certainly not his co-star Javier Bardem. And probably not the veteran Holbrook. Philip Seymour Hoffman for Charlie Wilson’s War? Surely Hoffman should be recognized for one of his three great performances of the year. Tom Wilkinson? His on-the-edge work in Michael Clayton is hard to ignore. Ditto for Casey Affleck, remarkably good in The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. That’s six solid contenders right there. Somebody’s getting left out, and there are still others in the running.

So I’m awaiting tomorrow morning with even more eagerness than usual, and will do the best I can to ignore work as much as possible during the day so I can exchange opinions with anyone who’s interested. After all, a man’s got to have his priorities.

In lieu of predictions, I leave you with a few interesting articles to get you in the mood, as well as a list of my personal nomination choices, just cause I have fun doing it (and I acknowledge that there are still several movies which could be contenders that I haven’t seen.)

  • Explanation of the complicated Oscar balloting process by which the nominees are determined
  • A last minute ruling about certain film scores being deemed ineligible for the Oscar, including the score from There Will Be Blood
  • This is an Academy member’s website, where he posts comments on the movies he’s seen. Interesting to scan down the list and check out his one-line summations, just to get a bit of insight into the mind of one voting member


MY LIST –  Wish I could have found room in some of these categories for Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead, but it ended up getting edged out each time…a mark of what a good year it was, in my eyes.

The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Andrew Dominik – The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Joe Wright – Atonement
Sean Penn – Into The Wild
Joel & Ethan Coen – No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

Christian Bale – Rescue Dawn
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
Emile Hirsch – Into The Wild
Tommy Lee Jones – In The Valley of Elah
Brad Pitt – The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

Marion Cotillard – La Vie En Rose
Angelina Jolie – A Mighty Heart
Nicole Kidman – Margot at the Wedding
Ellen Page – Juno
Charlize Theron – In The Valley of Elah

Casey Affleck – The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem – No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Charlie Wilson’s War
Hal Holbrook – Into The Wild
Steve Zahn – Rescue Dawn

Cate Blanchett – I’m Not There
Saorise Ronan – Atonement
Amy Ryan – Gone Baby Gone
Imelda Staunton – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Tilda Swinton – Michael Clayton

Todd Haynes & Oren Moverman – I’m Not There
Paul Haggis – In The Valley of Elah
Diablo Cody – Juno
Judd Apatow – Knocked Up
Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton

Christopher Hampton – Atonement
Aaron Sorkin – Charlie Wilson’s War
Sean Penn- Into The Wild
Ethan & Joel Coen – No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood

Seamus McGarvey – Atonement
Roger Deakins – The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Janusz Kaminski – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Roger Deakins – No Country For Old Men
Robert Elswit – There Will Be Blood

The Bourne Ultimatum
I’m Not There
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

The Darjeeling Limited
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
I Am Legend
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood

Blades of Glory
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Sweeney Todd

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
Dario Marianelli – Atonement
Nicholas Hooper – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood

Guaranteed – Eddie Vedder (Into the Wild)
Society – Eddie Vedder (Into The Wild)
Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (Once)
Alone Without You – The Nightwatchman (Sicko)

The Bourne Ultimatum
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

La Vie En Rose
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Sweeney Todd

SOUND AWARDS (which I know nothing about, but these movie seemed to have interesting sound design to me)
The Bourne Ultimatum
I Am Legend
No Country For Old Men


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