Wednesday, 23 January 2008

The Nominations for the 80th Annual Academy Awards

As I said yesterday, I intended to comment on the 80th Annual Oscar nominations. I must admit that overall I am pleased with the selections. For those of you haven't seen them yet, without further ado here are the nominees....

Picture:
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Atonement
Juno
Michael Clayton

Director:
Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men)
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly)
Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
Jason Reitman (Juno)

Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)
Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah)

Actress:
Julie Christie (Away from Her)
Marion Cotillard (La vie En Rose)
Ellen Page (Juno)
Laura Linney (The Savages)
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)

Supporting Actor:
Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)
Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)

Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)
Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)
Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Ruby Dee (American Gangster)

Original Screenplay:
Juno
Michael Clayton
The Savages
Lars and the Real Girl
Ratatouille

Adapted Screenplay:
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood
Away from Her
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Atonement

Editing:
No Country for Old Men
The Bourne Ultimatum
There Will Be Blood
Into the Wild
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Art Direction:
American Gangster
Atonement
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood
The Golden Compass

Cinematography:
Atonement
There Will Be Blood
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
No Country for Old Men
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Foreign Language Film:
The Counterfeiters (Austria)
Beaufort (Israel)
Mongol (Kazakhstan)
Katyn (Poland)
12 (Russia)

Animated Film:
Persepolis
Ratatouille
Surf’s Up

Documentary:
No End in Sight
Sicko
Taxi to the Dark Side
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
War/Dance

Costume Design:
Sweeney Todd
Atonement
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Across the Universe
La Vie en Rose

Make-up:
La Vie en Rose
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Norbit

Original Score:
Atonement
Ratatouille
The Kite Runner
3:10 to Yuma
Michael Clayton

Original Song (song titles coming soon):
Once-- "Falling Slowly" (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova )
August Rush--"This Time" (Chris Trapper)
Enchanted-- "Happy Working Song" (Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz)
Enchanted--"So Close" (Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz)
Enchanted--"That’s How You Know" (Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz)

Sound Editing:
Ratatouille
Transformers
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Sound Mixing:
3:10 to Yuma
Ratatouille
Transformers
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country for Old Men

Visual Effects:
Transformers
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
The Golden Compass

Documentary Short:
Freeheld
La Corona (The Crown)
Salim Baba
Sari’s Mother

Animated Short:
I Met the Walrus
Madam Tutli-Putli
Even Pigeons Go to Heaven
My Love (Moya Lyubov)
Peter & the Wolf

Live-Action Short:
At Night
Il Supplente (The Substitute)
The Mozart of Pickpockets
Tanghi Argentini
The Tonto Woman

As I said, overall I am pleased with this year's picks. That having been said, I am a bit puzzled that Zodiac was totally overlooked by the Academy. Quite frankly, if it had been up to me, Zodiac would have received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for David Fincher, and Best Adapted Screenplay, at the very least. I can only suppose that being released so early in the year that most Academy members had forgotten about it by the time voting rolled around.

As to the actors' awards, I must say that I was surprised that Tommy Lee Jones was not nominated for the Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in No Country for Old Men. I thought he did an excellent job in a role that is atypical for him--when I think of Tommy Lee Jones, I think of an actor who plays mostly uptight characters. Ed Tom Bell was anything but uptight. Speaking of No Country for Old Men, I must also say that I think Kelley MacDonald should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress. I mean, here you have a classically trained Scottish lass who has played in Shakespearean plays, yet she very convincingly played a simple Texas girl!

If there is one category which I feel is a travesty this year, it is Make-Up. I must admit that I have no objections to either La Vie en Rose or Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End being nominated. But Norbit?! Aside from quite possibly being one of the worst movies of all time, I don't think its make-up was that impressive. Let's face it, we have seen Eddie Murphy in a fat suit before...or did the Academy forget the two Nutty Professor movies? I also feel 300 was cheated in not getting a Visual Effects nomination. While I am apparently one of the few people who liked Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, I think perhaps its spot should have been occupied by 300 instead.

As to Best Song, I gave up on this category long ago. It is very rare that songs that truly deserve to be nominated get a nomination. And the Academy seems to have a love affair with any song from a Disney movie. I'll admit I haven't seen Enchanted or heard of any of its songs (they might be very good songs for all I know), but did it really deserve three Best Song nominations when not one of Eddie Vedder's songs from Into the Wild were nominated? Don't get me started about how "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell, from Casino Royale, was not nominated for Best Song last year....

Anyhow, over all I must say that I am pleased with the nominations. Indeed, it is good to see the Coen Brothers getting some love from the Academy this year. And I can't complain too much about any of the categories except for Make-Up and Best Song (which, as I said, I gave up on long ago). It will be interesting to see how this year's Oscars will turn out. Will No Country for Old Men sweep? Will the big winner be There Will Be Blood? We'll have to wait and see.

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