Thursday, January 22, 2009

Very Brief, Very Immediate Oscar Nomination Thoughts

Nathaniel's got the full list for you, so go check 'em out.


Melissa Leo and the Frozen River screenplay nomination. I'm sad Sally Hawkins got snubbed too, but Melissa was more than deserving, and I always like when an unheralded indie script gets nominated.

In Bruges gets Original Screenplay nomination. Way too many deserving scripts this year, and this category also contained my two saddest snubs (Jenny Lumet for Rachel Getting Married and Robert Siegel for The Wrestler). But I'm glad that funny little comedy about Belgium can carry the "Oscar-nominated" moniker.

Kate Winslet once. For The Reader. In lead Actress. It kind of heads off that distasteful Winslet backlash that was brewing after the Golden Globes (because we want nothing but success for our favorite actresses -- just so long as it's not too much success and they're not too happy about it -- ugh), and it allows everybody who wants her to win the Oscar to funnel their votes into one category. Good stuff.

Richard Jenkins: Oscar nominee. Heck yes! Funny that it's a Best Actor nod when he's been the consummate supporting actor for so long, but right is right.

The Dev Patel snub. Not because I thought he was so awful, but because he would have been the only nominee with a chance to unseat Heath Ledger, and nobody wants to see a kid start getting death threats at such a young age.


Michael Shannon for
Revolutionary Road. God damn it. Just as I was getting my hopes up that awards season had justifiably passed over the year's most overpraised, hammy, scenery-devouring performance, the Academy has to go and remind me how much they love-a the BIG performance. And to top it off, every smug Revolutionary Road supporter who whined for two months about how Shannon was getting the shaft now gets to be smug for a week. Crap.

No Sally Hawkins. No Rosemarie DeWitt. No Darren Aronofsky. No Colin Farrell. No Debra Winger. No James Franco. No Eddie Marsan. Sad.

No Dark Knight or WALL-E. Yes, yes, just the other day I said they were overrated, and neither made my own Top 5. But they were better than 80% of the nominated Best Pictures, and they would have injected some interest into what is not a stultifyingly boringBest Picture race. Plus it gives the "Oscar is out of touch with Real America" reverse-snobbery proponents some (really good) ammunition.

His-n-Hers nods for Brangelina. Look. I'm no hater. They've both been worthy of nominations before that they didn't get, and I think they're still generally underrated for their acting ability. But these were not, in my opinion, award-worthy performances. That being said, I will once again attempt to throw cold water on the idea that the Academy is nominating them simply for their star power. For one thing, it's not like they wouldn't probably be there anyway, as presenters or whatever. Secondly, people have been glibly predicting Brangelina twin nominations practically since they got together. In 2006 (Brad for Babel, Angelina for The Good Shepherd); in 2007 (Brad for Assassination of Jesse James, Angelina for A Mighty Heart). Big snubs both times. It took Brad starring in the overall nominations leader and Angelina hooking up with Clint "Oscar magnet" Eastwood to make this grand photo op happen. It really does take more than just star power. Ask Leonardo DiCaprio.

I can't say it with any certainty, but I'm going to float my hunch that despite Kate Winslet's one nomination, she probably made the Top 5 in her category three times. With the preferential ballot system that the Academy uses, I'd be willing to bet Kate placed #1 on enough ballots to merit nomination for Lead Actress for Revolutionary Road, Lead Actress for The Reader, and Supporting Actress for The Reader. But since you can't be nominated twice in the same category, there goes Revolutionary Road. And since you (obviously) can't be nominated in two categories for the same performance, there goes the Supporting notice for The Reader. So what now looks like a partial snub might well have actually been a SUPER-DUPER LOVE FEST. But we'll never know.

What did you all think?


deirdre said...

I haven't seen Benjamin Button yet, but since I thought Fincher should have had the spot (for Zodiac) that went to Jason Reitman last year, I'm glad he's on the list.

So far my biggest surprise is Howard for Frost/Nixon: like, really? It was that hard to wrangle two guys in a room? I was bored out of my mind every second of The Dark Knight that Ledger wasn't onscreen, but even I think Nolan had a harder job than Howard this year.

adam k. said...

I think you're right about the Winslet love. She was probably on a LOT of ballots in both those categories. I'm sure she had the votes to get into supporting, but somehow she got even MORE votes in lead. With just a small shift in voting patterns, she would've had two easy nominations. Actually, I'd be willing to bet that a whole bunch of people put her Reader performance in both categories just to make sure it got noticed. And probably a bunch of them did NOT also put the Rev Road perf in lead actress, since they weren't crazy about the film. And that made the difference.

adam k. said...

I am kind of surprised, though, that enough people did not buy into the category fraud to just put her in supporting. She had to have MORE Reader votes in lead in order to placed there, meaning a lot of people were risking a no-nom situation (voting for her ONLY in the lead category for The Reader, not what the campaigns wanted).

There must've been some kind of orchestrated whisper campaign of people organizing to pull it off. Just sayin'.

Mark Blankenship said...

Wait a gosh-darned minute... you don't think Angelina Jolie gave an Oscar-worthy performance in Changeling? Really? I'll give you Brad Pitt, but the Angie denial cuts me to the quick.

Joe Reid said...

I do try to be delicate about it, but...not really, no.

Vance said...

Your Kate theory is an interesting guess and the more I think of it, hugely possible.

I actually guessed The Dark Knight would be shut out of BP because I think more people voted for it but put it lower on their list of 5 Best Picture noms and thus, doesn't get counted. People would list the "important" or "feelgood (aka Slumdog)" movie first, then add the "hit" at the end (if they are going to vote for it).

It's the natural inclination to prop up the underdogs thus leaving the big hit as the underdog in the end.


I've been thinking the same thing about Kate Winslet: I'm 110% certain that without those rules to prevent it, she would get not 2, but 3 nominations yesterday.