January 22, 2009

The Oscar nominations.

Here.

Observations:

1. Kate Winslet's performance in "The Reader" is classified as a "leading role," and it is her only nomination. She won Golden Globes for "leading" in "Revolutionary Road" and for "supporting" in "The Reader." The Academy is not buying that, and I'd say rightly so. It's a leading role in "The Reader," and I'm tired of big stars getting their roles categorized as supporting to horn in on the lesser actors with smaller parts.

2. "Revolutionary Road" generally seems snubbed. Leonardo DiCaprio didn't get a nomination. (Though Michael Shannon got a supporting nomination.) And there is no Best Picture or Director nomination.

3. I've seen 4 of the Best Picture nominees: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Milk," "The Reader," and "Slumdog Millionaire." I haven't seen "Frost/Nixon," and frankly, I don't want to. I can see in the trailer the way Nixon's own words have been edited and ham-acted into something they were not. I'd give the Oscar to "Slumdog Millionaire." "Milk" would be fine too.

4. Richard Jenkins in "The Visitor"? I know nothing about that one. I guess he must have been good. I'll try to check it out before saying I think Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke should win Best Actor. I think Rourke will win because he suffered so much making that movie.

5. Melissa Leo in "Frozen River"? Again, I know nothing about that one. And I haven't seen Angelina Jolie in "The Changeling." (Oddly, I've never seen Angelina Jolie in anything! I guess I just done share her taste in films.) I guess the plan is to give Best Actress to Kate Winslet. Wonder if there will be a backlash.

6. I've seen all the Supporting Actress films. Personally, I love Penélope Cruz. What an amusing performance!

7. I've seen 3 of the Supporting Actor films. I love Robert Downey Jr., but I haven't seen "Tropic Thunder." (I will.) I saw "Iron Man." And I haven't seen "Revolutionary Road" yet, because it hasn't hit town. I've seen "Milk," "Doubt," and "The Dark Knight," and if it were between those 3, I'd pick Josh Brolin in "Milk." That was one of the most effective performances I've ever seen. And I went into the film not knowing he'd been singled out as especially good, so, for me, he came out of nowhere and killed.

8. I see both Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got nominated. Congratulations to the happy couple. Life's not fair, but they seem to be decent people making good decisions. No need to hate them.

71 comments:

TRO said...

No Dark Knight? No Gran Torino? No Clint Eastwood? Kate Whatshername for the fricken Reader?

Hollywood is a dead zone as will be the Oscar numbers.

TRO said...

Oh yeah, I forgot, Benjamin Button gets 13? What planet are these people from? It is a direct ripoff of Forest Gump (although to be fair I think it is the same writer so I guess he can't rip himself off).

LarsPorsena said...

WTF!! Nothing for Gran Torino??

As someone has already opined 'Hollywood is the next Detroit'.

Justin said...

Speed Racer was the most underrated movie of 2008.

MadisonMan said...

I was amused that Slumdog Millionaire got the nom for best picture, but none of the actors in it did. So how did it become a best picture candidate? Magic?

Most overrated movie: Benny Buttons.

Ann Althouse said...

"I was amused that Slumdog Millionaire got the nom for best picture, but none of the actors in it did."

They weren't that good!

MayBee said...

Sean Penn will win for Milk in this, the year Prop 8 passed.
Similarly, Josh Brolin could win because he is so great in Milk and he played the buffoonish "W". That's a winning resume in Hollywood.
However, Heath Ledger will probably win that category.

I'll root for Slumdog for best picture.

Salamandyr said...

The trailers for Benjamin Buttons (how I loath that name) make it look like over-produced, over-written, over-sentimentalized, over (to keep with the theme) manipulative pap, designed from the first inkblot on the page to compete for Oscars. It looked dreadful. Is there anyone who has seen it that might defend it? I'll keep an open mind. Sometimes trailers actually work against good films.

I'm a little surprised Valkyrie got no nominations, not even in the second tier categories like sound-editing and visual effects. Getting bumped out by Wanted has to hurt. I'm not complaining; Valkyrie was another of those films that I wouldn't watch on video, much less pay to see at the theater.

Xmas said...

Robert Downey Jr. is awesome in Tropic Thunder.

It's a pretty good movie, lots of funny bits (I mean that literally, too). It's a slapstick movie, for the most part, but Downey's role when playing against Brandon Jackson's character of Alpa Chino is...sublime.

DARWIN POBLETE said...

1. yes, the lead actress as supporting actress thing is cynical. (it goes both ways...like resse witherspoon's supporting actress as lead win). i was afraid that a nom in supporting actress will lead her to steal the award from penelope.

3. millionaire vs. button....young love vs. old/young-young/old love.
(the oscar also went for the old/young love in the reader).

4. jenkins and pitt...both very quiet roles. i guess the academy had a taste for that this year.

6. yes.

7. shannon was the only thing i really cared for in rev road. if you have been watching mad men, there's no need to see this movie. you get more bang for 1 hour in front of the tube.

8. i'm happy for them.

...would have liked for cate blanchet to get a supporting nod.

Edmund said...

Re: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: Life's not fair, but they seem to be decent people making good decisions. No need to hate them.

A brother worked on a film Pitt starred in that is still in editing. He said that Brad seemed like a nice guy. When he first showed up at the shooting site (it was all on location in a small town), he walked around and introduced himself ("Hi, I'm Brad.") and shook hands with all the crew. Later that day, my brother was finishing the A/V set up of Brad's green room in a house across the street from where they were filming and Brad came in and talked sports and video games with the crew there. Angelina visited the sets and was said to be quite friendly.

There are a lot of stars at that level that want nothing to do with the crew, so kudos to him.

Ron said...

I wonder how much of Revolutionary Road's appeal has been undercut by MadMen.

Tibore said...

Rob Downey for Tropic Thunder?? Look, I love the guy, and I don't mind him getting noms for good roles. The problem is, while funny, this ain't one of those "good" roles. Attaching "Academy Award" to "Tropic Thunder" is sort of like attaching "Gourmet" to "Chef Boyardee". It's a mismatch. Tropic Thunder is a lot of things - funny, gross, entertaining at points - but quality it ain't, and nominating Downey for this role when better performances have come in the past is mystifying.

Look, the Kirk Lazarus character was funny as hell and was one of the best things about the movie. But I simply can't see the performance as being Oscar worthy.

Long Time Listener said...

Must disagree with the other assessments of Tropic Thunder here. That movie was bad overall, with a couple of funny bits. I was really looking forward to it and expected much more. I usually like movies in this vein, but this one sucked. Not worth the 6 bucks to rent it.
Robert Downey Jr. was OK in it, I guess. I actually liked Tom Cruise the best. That character was funnier than all the others put together.

MadisonMan said...

They weren't that good!

Which is a good argument that the director and cinematographer should win. If you can use not-great actors and produce an oscar-nominated film, you must be pretty good at directing.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Benji Butt is the worst movie of the year. I can say that now that it's been nominated for 13 awards. Yes, it was written by the same guy who wrote Forrest Gump, which was equally awful.

I can't believe I haven't seen The Reader. Kate was outstanding in Rev Road, so she must have been even better in The Reader.

WTF???!!! No Bruce Springsteen for his song, "The Wrestler"??!? No song was more a part of a movie this year than that song...and the Academy should be ashamed.

BJK said...

I loved Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, and I can understand the concept behind the nomination. He was an actor [i]playing[/i] an actor [i]playing[/i] a character, and with a dialogue that allowed him to move between the layers of that role at the same time. Although I expect some additional backlash over the 'Simple Jack' discussion (which was ironically centered around winning acting awards)....the award has had Heath Ledger's name engraved on it since he passed away.

As a big fan of comedy, this is the first nomination for one of the 'big 4' acting awards that I can think of which went to a comedic performance....and I'm thrilled about that.

Somewhat surprised that 'Dark Knight' didn't get a best picture nomination, but I thought that the plot was a bit muddled, and I didn't like it as much as most people. (I preferred Iron Man, honestly.)


Lead actress is the award in which the stars seem most aligned: Streep (could win for just about any role she plays), Hathaway (the rising star), Winslett (somewhere between the two above), Jolie (the most commercially bankable of the group), and the unknown choice in Melissa Leo.


Doubt, Frost/Nixon, and Milk are all films that I feel like I should see for the performances....yet find myself repelled by the subject-matters of each (and the agendas I suspect underly the films).


And, what's the criteria for a best animated movie nomination? Were there only 3 animated movies released all year, or is something like Madagascar 2' or 'Horton Hears a Who' just not sufficiently Oscar-worthy?

Doyle said...

Slumdog Millionaire was awful, IMHO.

john said...

Doyle said - Slumdog Millionaire was awful, IMHO.

I must respectfully but emphatically disagree. There has never been anything H about your O.

Go dog!

Justin said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...

...Forrest Gump, which was equally awful.

Amen. I quit caring about the Oscars when Forrest Gump beat The Shawshank Redemption for best picture.

Beth said...

Benjamin Button has 13 nominations? I share the Gump-reaction for the most part, but it sure would be cool to see a film shot in New Orleans, using my university's film production and post-production studios, and with our film students working on the crew, win some Oscars. Oh, wait, that's already happened (Ray: 2004). But a repeat is always welcome.

vbspurs said...

No Dark Knight? No Gran Torino? No Clint Eastwood? Kate Whatshername for the fricken Reader?

Hollywood is a dead zone as will be the Oscar numbers.


WHAT TRO SAID!!

Ugh, I am so upset at the Dark Knight being left out in the cold and for a paedophile Nazi woman, too (which got rightly dismissed as "Nazi chic").

It received loads of critical acclaim, but you know, it reminds the Academy members of Dubya...

And no Sally Hawkins, who has one of the greatest tour-de-forces harnessing the most effervescent character since Rosalind Russell in "Auntie Mame".

My thoughts and Top 10 2008 Movie List

vbspurs said...

They weren't that good!

Exactly. It was an oddball film, in that the whole film worked, but the individual acting performances were mediocre.

Dev Patel was totally miscast as the older Jamal. He was born in Harrow, for chrissakes, and has the brittle polish of someone raised in a developed country, not the hard-scrabble cheekiness of one from the Third World.

If you guys haven't done so already, please keep a look out for two Indian movies of last year.

Jodhaa Akhar (with the lovely Aishwarya Rai)

The Pool

Because I lived in the Third World for a lot of my youth, the backstory of Slumdog didn't make as big an impression as it did with others. What Jamal went through, no I didn't go through, but I saw every day, a dozen times per day.

It was still worthy though.

XWL said...

I'd grouse about some of these picks, but then I remember, I don't care who picks up those little statuettes.

I think they screwed up on the cinematography picks, though. Of the big effects movies this year (Hellboy II, Narnia, Iron Man, Hulk, Dark Knight, Indy), Dark Knight was the worst shot of the lot, yet it's the only one from that bunch that picks up a nomination.

Also, the various Apatow comedies are usually pretty gorgeous to look at, and if you were to judge films solely on their cinematography, both Pineapple Express and Forgetting Sarah Marshall could easily have jumped ahead of a couple of the nominated pictures. Slumdog was the only nominee that belongs, from the pictures I've seen.

When it comes to camera work, framing, and lighting, and all the other elements that make up cinematography, the movie from 2008 that really stands out (in my opinion) is WALL*E. That film is gorgeous and really used all the elements of cinematography amazingly well. So it was all generated in a computer, what should matter is what's on screen, and what's on screen is a beautifully shot film.

vbspurs said...

Zach wrote:

I can't believe I haven't seen The Reader. Kate was outstanding in Rev Road, so she must have been even better in The Reader.

No, she wasn't. She had a dour complexity in The Reader, but with none of the depth of Revolutionary Road.

Of course, RR's greatest strength is that it is an adaptation of a very well-known novel, written a few years after the actual decade it portrays, so it has little of the hackneyed "American Beauty"/"Little Children" view of the 'burbs. I am really surprised that it got blanked in the Oscars. The Academy tend to honour Holocaust movies, and I'm guessing even they realised "Defiance" was too shallow.

(American Beauty was also directed by her husband, Sam Mendes, BTW)

vbspurs said...

XWL wrote:

cinematography, both Pineapple Express and Forgetting Sarah Marshall could easily have jumped ahead of a couple of the nominated pictures.

I walked out of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (as well as, regrettably, Rachel Getting Married), and I haven't viewed Pineapple Express yet. Thanks for the tips!

Slumdog was the only nominee that belongs, from the pictures I've seen.

Agreed. It has a sumptuous look that delights the eye.

I love movies where the whole sweep is the most important part. Pure cinematographic moments have never really been the same as in the Black-and-White era.

the movie from 2008 that really stands out (in my opinion) is WALL*E.

I thought the first part of Wall-E hadn't been seen since the days of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

The first half is almost completely pantomime, with virtually no dialogue whatsoever. That is so hard to do in modern cinema, and in an animated film, it boggles the mind.

William said...

A comment about the dogs that didn't bark. In terms of dramatic confrontation, Hiss/Nixon beats anything in Frost/Nixon. Don't hold your breath waiting for a dramatization of that....Hiss went to his death never doubting the rightness of his cause, and his supporters never doubted the glibness of his lies. There is great drama in Hiss's contradictions and postures and many edifying lessons for the audience to learn. No dramatist will ever write it; no actor will ever bring it to life. Instead we learn for the thousandth time what an infinitely despicable human being Nixon was and how worthy the media were for revealing his flaws.

SteveR said...

Being in parent mode for awhile, I rarely see non family movies, and never in theaters. If the wife and I have three hours alone, it won't be used watching a movie.

But I catch up on DVD eventually but have long ago given up on caring about the Oscars, too inside and too political.

And yeah WALL*E was above the norm in many ways.

vbspurs said...

In terms of dramatic confrontation, Hiss/Nixon beats anything in Frost/Nixon.

Oh yes. Well said. I have on my Kindle (but have not read yet):

Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy

Don't hold your breath waiting for a dramatization of that....

And make Nixon the good guy battling Commies, instead of the crafty old snake of Vietnam and Watergate? Never.

Mind you, he was the consummate tricky politician during the Hiss trial too, and tweaked the moment to its fullest potential.

But so would've Churchill, the epitome of a publicity-seeking wily politician.

Incidentally, I thought Frank Langella was terrific as Nixon, but I never once suspended my disbelief, and thought, "Hey, that's Richard Nixon".

Unlike Josh Brolin as W., I don't think we can ever fully erase the real Nixon from our minds.

Original George said...

Recipes for good movies:

Nazis + adult love story + teenage love story + cute kids + catchy songs + some dancing + nuns

Feisty wench + scalliwag + bossy black lady + amputations

Loving father + business disagreements + sibling rivalry + cannoli

TitusLoveuLongTime said...

I would like you all to picture my morning loaf.

Visualize you are at a Dairy Queen and the soft serve ice cream rolls out.

That was my morning loaf.

How was your morning loaf?

XWL said...

"Visualize you are at a Dairy Queen and the soft serve ice cream rolls out."

I suppose of all the things to be proud of in this world, having a "soft serve" movement is pretty fundament-al.

Wipe with pride, Titus, wipe with pride (or get sprayed and blown if you are into all that fancy foreign equipment).

So I guess the most "soft serve" of the nominated pictures would have to be Slumdog Millionaires, especially considering the 'autograph' scene.

(just trying to stray back on topic here)

author, etc. said...

Robert Downey in Tropic Thunder? That movie and "Elf" are the only two movies in my life I've ever walked out of. (And I sat through "That Darn Cat"--the remake!)

MadisonMan said...

The only walk-out I've had was My Blue Heaven with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. Dreadful.

I'm pretty picky though, about what movie gets my hard-earned money. Usually I know I'll like it.

vbspurs said...

So I guess the most "soft serve" of the nominated pictures would have to be Slumdog Millionaires, especially considering the 'autograph' scene.

I think that's the scene which propelled Slumdog into something otherworldly for most Westerners. They had never seen, or imagined such a scene possible.

Consider me, then, in Rio de Janeiro. It was the first day after our arrival, and my mother and I decided to take a walk along our new neighbourhood -- the legendary Copacabana.

We noticed that the magestic water fountain in Rua Princesa Isabel was shut off, and there were pivetes (street urchins) in it, playing inside, shooing people away aggressively with bad language and rude gestures, from it. People walked around the pivetes' lair with bowed heads, almost as if their city's beauty had been taken away from them.

I thought these Cariocas look defeated. They are vanquished and they know it. Because they feel guilty about the lads' poverty, no one says anything to them. They just take it as cement jungle punishment.

And then I saw him. An old black man wearing dark denim shorts -- more tatters than shorts. His beard was scraggly, and he was painfully, almost Holocaust thin. Suddenly, his smell hit me in full force. I felt so bad that I actually had smelt him, even though I didn't say anything out loud.

I felt guilty within my own self about my reaction.

But it wasn't body odour that I was smelling. For I suddenly looked down, and saw a huge stringy stream of poo running down one of his legs. I hadn't noticed it, because it was the same colour as his skin.

Although no pedestrian met his eyes, he was wildly gesturing at people and yelling at them in what he imagined was their reproof for the sight of him.

I was 12.

Slumdog Millionaire contained no surprises for me.

Cheers,
Victoria

William said...

The three great show trials of the 20th century were Sacco & Vanzetti, Hiss, and the Rosenbergs. In all three cases the defendants were compared to Dreyfus, and many fine writers did their best work detailing the plight of those poor souls. It has been a great tragedy for American letters that in these cases the defendants were all guilty. The fine words of good writers in their defense now seem as shabby and self serving as Neruda's Ode to Stalin....There remains a great drama in those trials that has not been told. How did the defendants come to embrace their lies and how did so many well meaning people come to believe in their martyrdom? I think there was a point where Madoff passed from being a respectable financier and philanthropist to being a fraud. I wonder at all the lies he told himself to achieve that ripening into corruption. I think Hiss was to idealism what Madoff was to respectability. It was all a sham but in order to pull it off you had to walk the walk for a number of years. You had to have all the small gestures down pat in order to make the large one....I suppose Madoff's story will be told as capitalism = bad, and Hiss's story will be shelved. But really I think they are variations on the same story: a man with a few small virtues wishes to puff himself into something grand and consequential....The difference is that the financial writers will wonder how they got Madoff so wrong, and the political writers will go on to protest the injustice done to this year's Jack Abbott.

Mark said...

I love it when the truly ignorant have such strong opinions. Judging a movie by its trailer is bizarre. Making judgments in the absence of knowledge is really the epitome of ignorance at work. Haven't seen Frost/Nixon and don't care about it. However, I've been seeing trailers & movies for over 50 years and can't think of one trailer that ever gave me anything close to the movie experience (good or bad). Gee, don't lawyers usually want evidence?

Original George said...

Raves New York Times movie critic Jeannette Catsoulis...

"Remarkable!"

"Bursting with possibilities"

"That extra dimension worth seeking out!"

"You'll gaze, mesmerized!"

"The most entertaining minutes I’ve spent in a movie theater in quite some time!"

"Acting full-frontally!"

"A fine sense of pacing!"

chickenlittle said...

Judging a movie by its trailer is bizarre.

Trailers (I prefer the term previews) are advertisements. Are you seriously suggesting that you were never put off a movie based on its preview? Unless it's your job or passion to see and review every movie, how can you live?

I also agree with what TRO, LarsPorsena, and vbspurs said.

Salamandyr said...

Mark, isn't the entire intention of movie trailers to make you want to see the film? Doesn't that mean their purpose is to cause you to judge the movie?

So do you go see Gigli because, well the trailer makes it look horrible, but gee, you can't judge things by trailers?

TitusLoveuLongTime said...

The word I would use to describe my loaf today is "coil" or "coiled". I like the word "coil" or "coiled". You think of a snake don't you...or a morning loaf slowly seeping out of someone's ass. It wasn't a sudden burst loaf it was a slow, methodical, coil. Or maybe like Heinz ketchup coming out of it's bottle.

Henry Buck said...

In the entire list, including every Oscar category, the only movie I saw in the theatre was "Bolt." (Rainy day with the kids.) Sometimes I marvel at how estranged I've become from popular culture.

Mark said...

Chicken asks "Are you seriously suggesting that you were never put off a movie based on its preview" Never even suggested anything of the sort. I just wouldn't condemn a film I hadn't seen based on the trailer. You're right, previews (as you prefer) are ads--nothing more--and that limited focus makes them useless in judging the entire film. When I'm "put off" watching a film because of its preview it is generally because I'm not interested in a particular genre (e.g. Zombie Slashers)not the film itself.

vbspurs said...

Sometimes I marvel at how estranged I've become from popular culture.

Nonsense, Henry. The moment you stop logging online is the moment you will have truly become estranged from pop culture. Until then, you are merely at one further remove from it.

Although if I am being really honest, I'll tell you that's how I feel whenever I listen to rap music. No interest whatsoever.

vbspurs said...

I just wouldn't condemn a film I hadn't seen based on the trailer.

Mark, as if you're insulting tone wasn't bad enough, you compound it by wilfully misunderstanding what Prof. Althouse said.

The trailer gave her a sneak peak into the interpretative spin of the Frost-Nixon interviews. She didn't care for it, so she won't see it.

But you've fashioned some willful ignorance on Althouse's part about this, I suspect, to continue your rants about her personally.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Life's not fair, but they seem to be decent people making good decisions. No need to hate them

I don't hate either of them. I think Angelina is a tad on the weird side and I'm reminded that she was banging Billy Bob Thorton which makes me wonder what she was smoking back then.

I thought Brad Pitt was quite good in the Oceans movies. Thought he was horrible as Achilles but then again that movie blew anyway. Honestly off the top of my head can't think of anything else I've seen him in.

Still can't figure out why he dumped Jen for Angelina. I think Jen is way better looking and has a much better body. Angelina looks too much like a largemouth bass to me.

Host with the Most said...

"Milk" was a very well made film; I liked it better then "Benjamin Button" and "Frost/Nixon". Won't see "the Reader" - glorified Child Pornography. Thanks to Ann for the tip.

I think this is "Slumdog"'s year.

It will be interesting to see if the race comes down to "Milk" and one other, and if it inspires another round of heated discussion like "Brokeback Mountain" vs. "Crash".


Josh Brolin WAS good in "Milk". But I still think Heath Ledger was deeply effective in Batman. Heath should take it. And Phillip Seymour Hoffman should have been in the actor category, not supporting.

By the way, 2008's Biggest Independent Film? "Fireproof" with Kirk Cameron. Beat "Vicky Christina Juanita Selena Barcelona" and "W".

YES!

Host with the Most said...

Batman should get in the Gran Torino with Clint and kick some Academy ass.

vbspurs said...

Ahem, at the risk of sounding like Ted Casablanca...

Still can't figure out why he dumped Jen for Angelina.

I think because, though she can seem shallow whilst doing this, Angelina has more varied interests than Jennifer Aniston. There was more chance for growth with her, than dining nightly with David Arquette and Courtney Cox...

I think Jolie grew as a person from that Billy Bob Thornton tongue-kissing, exhibitionist sidekick she was becoming, and surprised herself by the depth of her new maturity as a mother.

I think Jen is way better looking and has a much better body. Angelina looks too much like a largemouth bass to me.

I kept staring at her mouth in "Changeling". Her lips looked like they were presented in 3-D, reaching out and taunting you with their enormity.

But Jennifer Aniston's type can be found in any mall in America.

I'm guessing he wanted someone younger and more exotic.

vbspurs said...

"Milk" was a very well made film;

I actually thought the script was stale, Host, and I found myself getting up to get popcorn midway (which I never do). What held it together was Sean Penn, who continues to excite as an actor, to put it mildly. Personally, I think he was much better in this, than in "Mystic River" for which he won the Oscar.

I liked it better then "Benjamin Button" and "Frost/Nixon".

Zach told me that Benjy Button was cold. And it was. But...

I think this is "Slumdog"'s year.

...though Slumdog is a strong contender for Best Picture, the Academy love to reward films like Benjamin Button. It's got the literary bona fides of F. Scott Fitzgerald, at that.

I'm picking BB as the not-so-dark-horse to win for Best Picture.

Michael H said...

Milk? I thought the Chinese were executing people because of milk.

On a non-related matter, did you know that there are several bakeries in Australia called Morning Loaf?

Thought I'd pass that tidbit along for anyone who needs a little help giving up bread.

Henry Buck said...

I'll agree with the "younger and more exotic" point, Victoria. OT, someone who is not looking "younger and more exotic" on Drudge right now is Caroline K. Schlossberg. Caroline is transforming into Anne Meara before our eyes.

vbspurs said...

Anne Meara! O, Henry!

(Does that mean her son Jack Schlossberg is the new Ben Stiller? Shudder. Take a look at my blog for a really bad photo of Caroline. I really like her, but she's slovenly at times)

William said...

How many past lives do you have to do everything right in order to reach the karma where you can pass over Jennifer Anniston to go to Angelina?... I always admired Angelina for her open mouth kiss of her brother at the Oscars. It's difficult to roll out a fresh new perversion in the jaded world of Hollywood, but she made the effort. I thought celebs were as narcissistic as the Pharoahs and that the phenomenon would catch on. It turned out she was a little ahead of her time, but I do think incest will be the next big perversion. Pedophilia is so last year.

Salamandyr said...

I'm sticking to my guns that the best actor in Dark Knight was Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. It's easy to play the deranged psychopath. Playing the tired normal guy who holds his own amidst all the clowns in costumes...that takes skill.

blake said...

1. Yes, supporting is best left to the oddballs. It's about the only category with a chance to really surprise.

2. They already gave Mendes his Oscar for American Beauty, why do it again?

3. Despite going to movies about 10-15 times more often than you, I've only seen three. I won't see Milk but I probably will see Frost/Nixon for Langella.

4. Yes! Jenkins was great in The Visitor. It was a nice role for a not classically handsome leading man. For basically an average-schmo looking guy. Big year for Jenkins.

5. Frozen River, not a great movie but a very solid one and Melissa Leo's role was challenging. She did very well.

6. Amy Adams for Doubt? How about for Miss Pettigrew Lives For Day? Delightful actress, perhaps we could reward her for being delightful in a delightful movie. (We'll pretend it's the '30s!)

7. If Heath Ledger doesn't get this, I'll have to re-evaluate my understanding of Hollywood.

8. They seem like nice enough people. Are we supposed to hate them because they're the archetypal popular kids whom everyone loves?

blake said...

OK, so can we assume that actors and actresses have really short memories? That's why they have to release all the Oscar pix in December and (really) January?

The Visitor was last Spring and Frozen River was last Fall, but being low-budget films with no big name stars, they would've been suffocated had they waited till December. Woody Allen's probably not expecting his movies to get Oscars at this point, at least not for him.

Changeling was released all the way back in November, doubtless to avoid conflicting with Gran Torino, but the Academy likes Eastwood as an actor about as much as it likes Gibson as an actor.

As for the acting in Slumdog, I say Irrfan Khan was excellent.

Joan said...

As a big fan of comedy, this is the first nomination for one of the 'big 4' acting awards that I can think of which went to a comedic performance....and I'm thrilled about that.

Kevin Kline won for A Fish Called Wanda in 1989. He deserved it. That movie was brilliant. And I say that RDjr's role in Tropic Thunder is a good match for Kline's, but it doesn't matter because Ledger will get it anyway.

I loved Tropic Thunder, but then I loved Team America: World Police, also. Tom Cruise should've been nominated for his role in TT, also. He was incredible.

Revenant said...

Kevin Kline won for A Fish Called Wanda in 1989.

Also, Marisa Tomei won for My Cousin Vinnie and Lee Marvin won for Cat Ballou (beating out Rod Steiger in "The Pawnbroker").

There have been a few dozen nominations for comedic acting roles over the years. It is uncommon, but not unheard of.

Roadkill said...

All of the nominated films are progressive or romantic fantasies. Perfect accoutrements to the Obama campaign/presidency.

Christopher Althouse Cohen said...

Things I'm happy about:

1) Michael Shannon. I thought he'd be snubbed because he got no major precursors. He was one of the best things about the movie and in two and a half scenes gives a performance just as Oscar worthy as the two leads.

2) The Reader's surprise Picture and Director noms. Now there are actually two nominees that would be on my Top 5 for the year.

3) Milk got pretty much everything it was expected to get.

4) Kate Winslet getting nominated for Best Actress.

5) The Dark Knight being snubbed in the major categories. I had a feeling this would happen, and I'm glad it did.

Things I'm not happy about:

1) Kate Winslet's category mix-up. I understand why they wanted to put her in Actress for The Reader, but I just wanted to see her get double nominated. And I think there should be a way to figure out the categories first instead of risking splitting the vote.

2) Revolutionary Road snubbed all over the place. One of my favorite movies of the year. Leonardo DiCaprio, in particular, should have been nominated.

3) Benjamin Button getting way too many nominations. That movie is not nearly good enough to justify this level of praise.

4) Clint Eastwood snubbed for Best Actor.

All in all, I have mixed feelings but probably good overall.

Beldar said...

A "good decision" for Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt would be to get married, legitimizing their offspring and ceasing to set a bad example (i.e., which they flout social norms and reject the responsibilities conventionally associated with "being a family").

Yes, I realize that voicing this criticism confirms that I'm hopelessly old-fashioned. Yes, I know that there are far worse examples to be found, including in Hollywood. Indeed, by Hollywood standards, they are almost scandalously responsible. But Bogard and Bacall, they ain't.

It's a new day in America, though, one in which we finally have a devoted married couple in the White House who demonstrate commitment to one another and to their children, who set an example for young couples regarding the value of marriage and married life, not just for child-rearing but otherwise ....

Oh wait. We've had such a couple in the White House since January 2001. Well, we have another one. And this one's all hip and trendy and hopey-changitudinous. So ought not that be enough of a throw-back to old-school that Brad could manage to scrape together a few bucks to buy a ring and pay a preacher (or a Justice of the Peace) to say, "I now pronounce you ..."?

blake said...

I think it would be far better and more novel for the two to remain together for the next 20 years.

vbspurs said...

1) Michael Shannon.

Awesome performance.

He was the Viola Davis of Revolutionary Road. Mind you, she had less to work with, and probably a sum total of 8 minutes on screen. I guess you know which two supporting actors I'll be cheering for (though Heath should and will get it).

I also liked Dylan Barker in a sort of Edward Everett Horton hommage as the token waspish fairy.

Cheers,
Victoria

PatCA said...

Actually, I think American Idol is bigger than the Oscars at this point, at least in America. I like the contestants better, too.

Do people hate Braneglina? I don't. I just worry about their frenzied family-making. What happens when they get tired of that?

Hoosier Daddy said...

I think because, though she can seem shallow whilst doing this, Angelina has more varied interests than Jennifer Aniston. There was more chance for growth with her, than dining nightly with David Arquette and Courtney Cox...

Well I suppose that's one way of looking at it. I mean, I married my wife cause I loved her and not because she was an aveneue of 'growth'.

Maybe I'm misreading what you're saying.

onparkstreet said...

I'm a terrible movie reviewer - I like everything. Dark Knight vs. Slumdog would have made for a more fun Oscars....

I've only seen Slumdog of this bunch, but will probably try and see the Reader and, maybe, MILK, except I'm sick of the seventies, Hollywood style. I'm reading Revolutionary Road, and like the actors in the fill, so will probably see that, too, although I like suburbia. What you put in is what you get out of suburbia, which is something the I HATE SUBURBIA movies never get. Life can be interesting if you want it to be....

For the ONE movie I did see: I dunno about narrative, or plot, or anything like that, but I loved the first scene! The children running, chased by the police, the great music mixed in with the sounds of the helicopter. The big old wide world is interesting; a trading, globalizing (hasn't it always sort of been?), mixed up, stories-you-wouldn't-believe kind of place and the first rushing scenes of SDM felt like you were seeing RIGHT NOW, er, right now.

Why don't they make films like this about the US? You totally could, you know. There are fantastic stories in this energetic, mixed up, wonderful experiment of a country.

Michael said...

Ann: "This is a movie that begins with a graphic torture scene and contains a plunge into a shit pool and various gruesome maimings and murders. This is what passes for feelgood these days somehow."

AND

"I'd give the Oscar to "Slumdog Millionaire."

*By the way, the film was spectacular...and it did make you "feel good." The audience at the showing we attended gave it a rousing ovation at the end.

Michael said...

Beldar: "...ceasing to set a bad example..."

And you've adopted how many children?

Joe said...

Based purely on if I purchased the DVD or plan to and how many times I re-watched it (on DVD or cable movie channel), Prince Caspian was the best film of 2008.

Robert downy Jr. Was the most enjoyable actor. Iron Man was a very pleasant surprise for me.

(On the flip side, the list of horrible movies is relatively long. For me, 2008 was one of those years of stinkers. Hancock and Dark Knight were among the biggest disappointments.)

Michael said...

Joe - You're certainly right about the Dark Knight (haven't seen Hancock).

My wife and I were amazed at how bad it was, and even Ledger was over the top.

I have no idea why it got such hype, the one two years ago was much better, but it looks like the Oscar people know it, too.

If you like westerns, rent Appaloosa. It's not as good as The Unforgiven, but pretty good.