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Oscar Time!

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message 1: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4545 comments What? No Oscar thread? We'll fix that!

I'm an optimist. I keep hoping that these little gold guys (in Jim Carrey's phrase: the Lord of All Knick-knacks) will finally go to the right, most deserving person. It seldom happens. This year, it seems less likely to happen than usual. After last year's entirely predictable triumph of the dullasdishwater NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN over the far tastier THERE WILL BE BLOOD, SWEENEY TODD and ZODIAC, and after the previous few years' senseless recognition of MILLION DOLLAR BABY and CRASH and others (THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING being the sole deserving winner in some time) I can finally say that I just don't give a damn anymore.

Aw, hell. Who am I kidding? Surely not you. I do care. I care deeply. I love this stuff. This hideous award show horror. I do love to bitch and moan and complain about who wins and who loses and who wasn't nominated and what were they thinking and well what can you expect from the people who've given Clint Eastwood two Oscars for Best Director and Brad Pitt nominated for Best Actor Oh my GOD and ha ha they shut out THE DARK KNIGHT and Christopher Nolan so there might be some hope after all. Nothing provokes a good solid rant like the OSCARS.

My picks/rants to follow. Come on. Join in. You know you want to.


message 2: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments i guess i'll have to get around to seeing what's been nominated.
oh, and remind me: when is oscar night?

i gave up caring a long time ago, but you just might inspire me to pay attention this year...for a minute.


message 3: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4545 comments I'm not sure when Oscar night is, sometime at the end of the month.


message 4: by Phillip (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:49AM) (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments here we go: these are the nominations for the 81st academy awards:

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins - THE VISITOR
Frank Langella - FROST/NIXON
Sean Penn - MILK
Brad Pitt - THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Mickey Rourke - THE WRESTLER

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin - MILK
Robert Downey Jr. - TROPIC THUNDER
Philip Seymour Hoffman - DOUBT
Heath Ledger - THE DARK KNIGHT
Michael Shannon - REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway - RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
Angelina Jolie - CHANGELING
Melissa Leo - FROZEN RIVER
Meryl Streep - DOUBT
Kate Winslet - THE READER

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams - DOUBT
Penélope Cruz - VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA
Viola Davis - DOUBT
Taraji P. Henson - THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
Marisa Tomei - THE WRESTLER

Animated Feature:
BOLT
KUNG FU PANDA
WALL-E

Art Direction:
CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE DUCHESS
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Best Cinematography:
CHANGELING
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Costume Design:
AUSTRALIA
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DUCHESS
MILK
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Best Direction:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
FROST/NIXON
MILK
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Best Documentary Feature:
THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON)
ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD
THE GARDEN
MAN ON WIRE
TROUBLE THE WATER

Best Documentary (Short):
THE CONSCIENCE OF NHEM EN
THE FINAL INCH
SMILE PINKI
THE WITNESS - FROM THE BALCONY OF ROOM 306

Film Editing:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
FROST/NIXON
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Best Foreign Language Film:
THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX
THE CLASS
DEPARTURES
REVANCHE
WALTZ WITH BASHIR

Make Up:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

Best Music (Score)
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DEFIANCE
MILK
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E

Best Original Song:
"Down to Earth"
WALL-E
"Jai Ho"
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
"O Saya"
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Best Picture:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
FROST/NIXON
MILK
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Best Short Film (animated)
LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES
LAVATORY - LOVESTORY
OKTAPODI
PRESTO
THIS WAY UP

Best Short (live action):
AUF DER STRECKE (ON THE LINE)
MANON ON THE ASPHALT
NEW BOY
THE PIG
SPIELZEUGLAND (TOYLAND)

Sound Editing:
THE DARK KNIGHT
IRON MAN
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E
WANTED

Sound Mixing:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
WALL-E
WANTED

Visual Effects:
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
IRON MAN

Writing (adapted screenplay)
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
DOUBT
FROST/NIXON
THE READER
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Writing (Original Screenplay)
FROZEN RIVER
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY
IN BRUGES
MILK
WALL-E

*******
check it out:
http://www.oscar.com/nominees/?pn=nom...


message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4545 comments Uh, Philip, there aren't any categories after the first few.

Funny though how they all seem to have the same few movies in them.


message 6: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments i was editing...sorry, the categories didn't carry over when i cut and pasted. now it should read properly....

that's my complaint...it always seems like they get lazy and just toss films in multiple categories.


message 7: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4545 comments Best motion picture of the year
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

I've only seen three of the nominees: BENJAMIN BOREDOM, MILK and SLUMDOG. Well. It looks like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE will win. One of My Oscar Theories: Each Oscar Is A Reaction To Last Year's, which this year means that an easy piece of feelgood sentimentality (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) will follow last year's easy piece of feelbad sentimentality (NO COUNTRY). I'm not entirely counting out BENJAMIN BOREDOM, as it does have a lot of what Oscar Seems To Like: epic storytelling, thwarted lovestory, big stars, no appreciable content but a clearly stated (more or less) message about something or other, and it does seem to inspire tears in those so inclined. It comes down to this: will they want to give the Best Picture Oscar to a piece of relentless fluff about slumkids in Mumbai? How's that going to look in future Oscar montages? I can't see it going to FROST/NIXON or THE READER, because they've just gotten zero serious consideration from anyone anywhere. MILK would also seem to have a lot of Oscar bait (big true story, martyred leader, big cast, easily digested Big Message about Hope that kind of ties in with Obama's message, etc.) but there's that pesky Gay Angle that will probably keep it from winning the big prize. Going by another of My Oscar Theories (the most useless of the nominees usually wins) I'll go with SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, with BENJAMIN BOREDOM a possible surprise. I'm not entirely counting out MILK, though, darker horses have won, and it might be a handy response to Prop. 8.


message 8: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I am anxiously awaiting the DVD release of WALTZ WITH BASHIR. But no GOMORRA in Best Foreign Film? And no Cinematography for MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS? And no Sally Hawkins for HAPPY-GO-LUCKY? I'll spend Oscar night with Bergman, Godard, or Hitchcock...haven't decided yet.


message 9: by Phillip (last edited Feb 06, 2009 04:17PM) (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments you can't go wrong with bergman...

it would be great if milk pulled in a home run. it has my vote for best (american) film. if i haven't raved enough about it, let the right one in still holds a very special place for 2008 new releases.

sally hawkins would have been someone i would have voted for. maybe we should start our own goodreads academy...?


message 10: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I just saw Milk today and thought it was great. I think Sean Penn did a really great job and am glad to see him nominated. I have not seen many of the others, other than Benjamin Boredom as Tom puts it. I am really glad I got to see MILK.


message 11: by Phillip (last edited Feb 07, 2009 07:28PM) (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments i thought milk was just fantastic all around. a great performance by penn, and one of van zant's better films in recent years.

i saw the reader today, which is also up for a nomination. i thought kate winslet was better in revolutionary road, but she did a good job in the reader - it's a more challenging part, so perhaps that's why they nominated her. not sure how i feel about the film as a whole - it was complex and gave you a lot to think about. i'm going to sit on it for a few days...


message 12: by Jo (new)

Jo (JoLelaK) | 32 comments I have seen all the Best Picture nominees, except Milk. I will try to catch that one next weekend. So far, my order is,
1. Reader
2. Frost/Nixon
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Benjamin Buttons

Buttons is well down the list. Milk will have to be pretty bad of knock it out of the bottom spot. All the others, it was the performances that knocked me out. None of the stories blew me away. I don't know if I am getting cynical, but I don't get carried away anymore.

What are some movies that left you breathless? I mean total package, characters, stories, and just the overall film's appearance.


message 13: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4545 comments Performance by an actor in a leading role
Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor”
Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn in “Milk”
Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”

Well, who can say. I'd guess Mickey Rourke, based on all the hype, but I think there may be a significant population who just can't bring themselves to check off the box next to Mickey Rourke for an Oscar. I haven't seen the performance, largely because I just can't bring myself to look at that hideously disfigured face for the better part of two hours. I'd like to see Penn win, myself, but I don't think it is terribly likely. After all, Penn plays a gay man who actually seems to be possessed of some measurable levels of testosterone, and that never goes over big with Oscar voters who like their gay performances to be as queeny/girly/femmy as possible: Hurt in SPIDER WOMAN and Hoffman's CAPOTE. Ugh. Pitt. My non-nominated choice: Colin Farrell for his funny and moving turn in IN BRUGES.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Josh Brolin in “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”
Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

I'd say give it to Josh Brolin, who actually had an actual supporting role, rather than Ledger who should be in the Best Actor category for what was for all intents and purposes the lead in that DARK KNIGHT thing. But Ledger will probably win, there's just no way to deny the brilliance of his work as the Joker, try as some might. I'd have liked to have seen Ralph Fiennes nominated for his total scary loon performance in IN BRUGES.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”
Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep in “Doubt”
Kate Winslet in “The Reader”

Don't know, don't care, haven't seen any of them, and without the sublime Sally Hawkins from HAPPY-GO-LUCKY it doesn't matter a damn. Toss it to Winslet, she's long overdue.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in “Doubt”
Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis in “Doubt”
Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”

As long as it doesn't go to Taraji P. Henson, they can give it to the janitor for all I care. I'm betting it will go to Viola Davis in DOUBT, for what it is worth.


message 14: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments i saw frost/nixon over the weekend and frank langela knocked it out of the park. an amazing performance.


message 15: by Jean (new)

Jean Liota (gardenlady56) | 30 comments I see Nate Silver is using his statistical formula to predict Oscars this year. Here's the link to the story I saw.



message 16: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 465 comments Sean Penn got an Academy Award for best leading actor and Milk for best original script.


message 17: by Diane (last edited Feb 22, 2009 09:55PM) (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I had such a hard time deciding between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke. I was rooting for Mickey Rourke because i just wanted him to win for his comeback, but after seeing both performances, Sean Penn really is brilliant as always. In my opinion, he is one of the GREATS. He didn't even have to say a word to fully portray his character in Mild. And hats off to Kate Winslett as well.

I loved how the best actors/actresses were presented the awards by 5 former great winners!


message 18: by Holli (new)

Holli I really enjoyed that part of the show too Diane. I thought it was nice to see former winners recognizing the nominees.


message 19: by Tom (last edited Feb 23, 2009 08:04AM) (new)

Tom | 4545 comments A surprisingly good show, overall. Less of the nonsense that has made the show such agony to sit through in the past, with people telling us what we've just seen, and fewer of the silly musical numbers, they just gave out the awards and got it over with.

They got a bit over-clever in places though. The Oscar Remembers montage was almost impossible to see, thanks to some really inept camerawork. And the addition of clips from past films during the 5 Best Picture nominee clips resulted in one really offensive moment: the clips from BRAVEHEART, a particularly homophobic film, appeared in the montage for MILK.


message 20: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) hi Tom - yes, I think you are absolutely right in that showing past film clips simultaneously as they were showing current nominations was a mish-mash and really took away from the current films footage.
Hope they don't do that again!


message 21: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) One last thing - I thought everyone looked wonderful, classy, sophisticated, except for - Goldie Hawn! What is up with her?


message 22: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4545 comments Someone online (not me, I promise) was wondering where they got that beef jerky statue of Sophia Loren.


message 23: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 362 comments I loved the women's gowns. That was perfect for me. I was embarassed for Goldie Hawn, that dress was hidious on her. What was she thinking?


message 24: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) I think Goldie is thinking she is still 20 something.


message 25: by Maryse (new)

Maryse (belle_maryse) | 66 comments I agree with Tom . Didn't like the camera work on the montages, couldn't see some of the clips because of that. But I'm happy no one made such a long speech or that no one got cut off. I always feels sorry for the guy who leans over to try and say something only to have the orchestra cut him. My favorite acceptance speech was for "Man on Wire" -- I'm a sucker for magic. Ehehehe




message 26: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments man on wire got the documentary award? that's great.

i was gigging and missed the show. i still don't know who won what. perhaps i'll find a listing and post it here.


message 27: by Phillip (last edited Feb 24, 2009 08:31AM) (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments ah, here we go...for those of us that didn't watch it, here are the results:


*Motion Picture: "Slumdog Millionaire."

• Actor: Sean Penn, "Milk."

• Actress: Kate Winslet, "The Reader."

• Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight."

• Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

• Director: Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire."

• Foreign Film: "Departures," Japan.

• Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire."

• Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, "Milk."

• Animated Feature Film: "WALL-E."

• Art Direction: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

• Cinematography: "Slumdog Millionaire."

• Sound Mixing: "Slumdog Millionaire."

• Sound Editing: "The Dark Knight."

• Makeup: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

• Animated Short Film: "La Maison en Petits Cubes."

• Live Action Short Film: "Spielzeugland (Toyland)."

• Visual Effects: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."


message 28: by Phillip (last edited Feb 24, 2009 08:41AM) (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments hmmmmm, well - can't really agree with all the love for slumdog...but WHATEVER.

great that penn got the best actor nod. very nice that milk also won best screenplay. i might have given josh brolin the award for best supporting actor. i really wanted penn to win, but i also was highly impressed with langella's performance in frost/nixon...that was the best ron howard effort ever.

i saw the dark knight twice - the first time i was really impressed with the ledger performance, the second time around i saw a lot of seams showing.

i thought winslet's performance in revolutionary road was better than her performance in the reader but i guess i'm not the only one who feels that way.

i haven't seen this japanese film that won best foreign film...have to check that out.

happy penelope cruz got some acclaim, she's a great actress. i still haven't seen the most recent woody allen film.

i honestly don't know who i'd give best director to...but not boyle.

i'm not a tech-geek, so the rest of the awards don't communicate much to me.

i'm glad for pixar that wall-e took the award, (looks like my friends that work there will still have a job next year) but animated films in general aren't really my cup of tea.


message 29: by Heidi (last edited Feb 24, 2009 06:07PM) (new)

Heidi For the most part, I enjoyed this year's show better than previous years, regardless of the fact that it hasn't been a good movie year for me (saw very few of the nominated flix). One thing I missed was seeing excerpts from the movies nominated (best acting, etc)... could have dropped that unfortunate musical spot and added the performance clips.




message 30: by Tom (last edited Feb 26, 2009 07:21AM) (new)

Tom | 4545 comments I'm a gay male New Yorker. I have to watch the Oscars. It's a rule. Your membership is revoked otherwise. I put this on my blog:

There seems to be a sort of "meh" feeling about the whole Oscar experience this year. And as far as the winners were concerned, yeah, I'll have to agree. Meh. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE for Best Picture and Best Director, uh huh. Fearless Prediction: this will come to be seen as the 21st Century equivalent of ROCKY having won Best Picture and Best Director. SLUMDOG and ROCKY are entirely adequate little comfort movies but Best Pictures they most certainly are NOT. I was glad that MILK picked up two prizes, though, and Penn's and Black's speeches were by far the best of the night.

But it was soon enough business as usual, as the Oscars went back to the sweep mentality that had been notably absent for a few years, with SLUMDOG picking up awards for Most Editing among other things. And the winners for BENJAMIN BUTTON made some of the dullest speeches imaginable, which I guess is appropriate for people who made the dullest film imaginable.

But there was something else going on that night. Something so astounding that no one seems to have noticed it. Get this folks. The Academy award ceremony was not an embarassment. I think I'll say it again, as it seems to be escaping everyone's notice: THE ACADEMY AWARD CEREMONY WAS NOT AN EMBARASSMENT. The show was a lean mean award show machine, with a minimum of the nonsense (bad hosts, bad musical numbers, self-congratulatory montages) that they seemed to cram into the proceedings to make it all last as long as possible.

There were some missteps. That song and dance thing about how Musicals Are Back was just a drag, but it did provide a handy bathroom break. The Oscar Remembers montage was a disaster, ruined by sloppy camerawork and a need to keep Queen Latifah in frame. The device of past Oscar winners announcing the names of the acting nominees was a bit much. Yeah, they did it well, I guess, but it doesn't need to be done again. And the idea of running Best Picture nominee clips interspersed with great Oscar-winning films of the past resulted in one really deeply offensive moment, as the montage for MILK included shots from noted bigot Mel Gibson's noxious BRAVEHEART, one of the most blatantly homophobic major studio releases ever. It was like including a clip of BIRTH OF A NATION in a montage for RAISIN IN THE SUN.

But overall, it didn't suck. Hugh Jackman was a charming host. The awards were presented speedily, so speedily that I remember wondering what they were going to do to fill up the rest of the time. Even Jerry Lewis was gracious and above all brief during his little moment of Jean Hersholt glory. I didn't miss the performances of the song nominees one little bit, the little bite-sized performances were more than enough, but two of the three nominated songs (from SLUMDOG) were only tolerable in bite-sized pieces anyway.

I wonder if that is contributing to the Meh Factor that seems to be so prevalent. There was no shock, no surprise, no moment of Supreme Tastelessness to make this year stand out from the rest. It will be remembered, by me, as the year that Sean Penn got an Oscar he deserved and made a genuinely moving little speech, rather than as the year that little cinematic Big Mac with Special Curry Sauce won Best Picture.


message 31: by Holli (new)

Holli Clapping and agreeing wholeheartedly with you over here Tom!! That was great.....


message 32: by Phillip (last edited Feb 26, 2009 08:39AM) (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments as i said elsewhere, i didn't see this year's ceremony, and now i really don't care! - this post has more entertainment value than any of the academy ceremonies i've seen over the past decade.

well done, tom!


message 33: by Diane (new)

Diane  (DianeDJ) Great job with this posting, Tom (and you blog summary of the show!) I enjoyed the back and forths with everyone and hearing everyone's thoughts; and I like being a part of a post where people can "agree to disagree" and share their opinions without others getting downright nasty (as i've seen on some other various posts throughout goodreads which is a shame)
Til next year!


Stormi (BMReviewsohmy) (BMReviewsohmy) | 96 comments Phillip wrote: "i guess i'll have to get around to seeing what's been nominated.
oh, and remind me: when is oscar night?

i gave up caring a long time ago, but you just might inspire me to pay attention this year...."


I could care less who wins a oscar as far as I am concerned they never pick good movies for best picture anyway. Most likely I never would watch those movies..I tried watching Slumdog and it was sooo God awful boring..I didn't even take a peek at the oscars this year. BLAH


message 35: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Great write-up Tom:) I never watch the Award show anyway but really enjoyed your descriptions and insight. I wrote my review of SLUMDOG back in November and stand by my firm (B) grade: well filmed, has CLASH sampled on the soundtrack (always a plus), and just well intentioned throwaway entertainment. Your analogy to ROCKY is spot-on! It wasn't even close to my Top Ten whereas HAPPY-GO-LUCKY just missed....and wasn't even nominated. I don't fully understand the politics of a film being nominated, but CHOP SHOP is an amazing little film that should have been recognized too. Oh well, we could all spew ad nauseum over our own picks:)


message 36: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 9618 comments i held chop shop in my hands the other night at the video store and remembered you had reviewed it, but passed it over for some reason. thanks for reminding me. i'll check it out.

i would also have liked to see happy go lucky get more attention. the first ten minutes of that film were kind of jarring, but once it settled into its groove, i really liked it.


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