The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn

2008 Oscar Nominations and Snubs

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Judy Thorburn

 

 

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2008 Oscar Nominations and Snubs

 

The 2008 Academy Award nominations were announced on January 22 and once again I have a bone to pick with some of the choices that have been narrowed down to five per category.  It’s not like all of the nominees are not deserving of critical praise.   It’s just that if you compare several of those who received nods with other contenders that were downright superior, I question the integrity and mindset of the voters.

In the category of Best Picture, Frost/Nixon, Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, are all excellent and deserve a nod.  However, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire, in my opinion, are way too overrated.  Ignored are the brilliant In Bruges and Burn After Reading, two of the most original and entertaining flicks of the year, as well as Christopher Nolan’s atmospheric masterpiece The Dark Knight that made my top ten list.   Out of the five nominees for best flick, for me it is a toss up between the sweeping, beautiful epic The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and the well crafted biographical drama, Milk.

For best actor I was sure Clint Eastwood would be among the Best Actor nominees for his fine work in Gran Torino. The fact that he was passed over in favor of veteran character actor Richard Jenkins in The Visitor is the biggest surprise.  Mickey Rourke, making a strong comeback as The Wrestler, does a notable job but, the way I see it, his work can’t hold a candle to several other superb male performances. Among those who could have filled his slot are Colin Farrell as a hit man hiding out In Bruges, Josh Brolin as W and Leonardo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road.  Nevertheless, Sean Penn gets my vote, hands down, as best actor for his impeccable portrayal of the late Harvey Milk, human rights activist and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office.

Kate Winslet, appears to be the favorite in the best actress category for her role in Revolutionary Road, having already walked away with the Golden Globe Award. As far as I am concerned her competitors, Meryl Streep (Doubt), Ann Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Angelina Jolie (Changeling) and Melissa Leo (Frozen River) deliver more Oscar worthy performances. Yet, I am confounded as to why Keira Knightly, shining in her best performance yet as The Duchess was snubbed, as well as Kristen Scott Thomas’s moving work as a troubled woman with a secret who is released from prison after 15 years in I Have Loved You So Long.

For best supporting actor there were two surprises. Since the Academy rarely rewards comedies or actors in comedic roles (Annie Hall was an exception) no one expected the Academy to recognize Robert Downey Jr. for his very funny and brilliant work in the hilarious Tropic Thunder. The other surprise was Michael Shannon for his role as the former mental patient and next door neighbor in the very dramatic Revolutionary Road.  Downey’s nod is well deserved.  But, in all fairness, Keira Knightly’s co-star in the historical costume drama, The Duchess, Ralph Fiennes, should have received a nomination for his multifaceted, complex role as her loveless, cold husband, The Duke in place of Shannon.  In any case, it is not much of a competition as the late Heath Ledger, undoubtedly, will posthumously win the award for his electrifying portrayal of Batman’s nemesis, the Joker, in The Dark Knight.

I was happy to hear that Taraji P. Henson is among the nominees for best supporting actress. She is simply wonderful as Benjamin Button’s adoptive mother. Henson is going against both Amy Adams and Viola Davis for Doubt, Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler.  Yet, I was disappointed to find out that my pick as best supporting actress of 2008 would have been an actress who didn’t even get nominated. Frances McDormand stood out among the rest for her memorable quirky, off beat character in the Coen Brothers’ hilarious, outrageous espionage spoof Burn After Reading which I previously mentioned was one the best films of the 2008.

Now that I got that this off my chest, I along with millions of movie buffs and worldwide fans, will have to wait and see who will actually win the prestigious Oscars when the Academy Awards are broadcast live on TV in late February. Whether we agree or not as to the winners, what it comes right down to is the only opinions that count are those of the Academy voters. And the opening of the envelopes will say it all.

 

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