Oh hoorah, the Oscar nominations are out. I suppose that means it’s time for me to kvetch about them, so kvetch I will. First, let me mention something from the New York Times article:
Gus Van Sant, nominated for his direction of “Milk,” struck the cool I-didn’t-realize-nominations-were-this-morning pose. “I wasn’t that attuned to the thing,” he said in a telephone interview. “My reactions don’t bend to the gameshow style of screaming and jumping up and down.”
Memo to New York Times: you are supposed to be reporting facts, not making snarky Entertainment Tonight-style comments. It’s hardly the only offending line in there but, really, I expect more.
On to the awards! I’m pretty surprised Benjamin Button got so many nominations. It was a decent movie but it certainly wasn’t great. It did manage to make me think, about life and about the movie, and for that I will say it deserves something; few movies are able to really do that. However, thirteen nominations is a bit much for a movie that wasn’t really special.
Best picture should definitely be Slumdog Millionaire. This was far and away my favorite movie of the year. Danny Boyle can be hit-and-miss, but this time he struck the perfect tone. It was just great story-telling with amazing visuals and cinematography.
Best actor I’m split between Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke. Both were pretty splendid at their respective roles, with Penn absolutely capturing Harvey Milk and Rourke turning in the most believable acting job of the year. I guess I’d give the edge to Rourke.
Best actress is also mixed to me – I thought Meryl Streep was divine, as usual. She is always able to bring in the little tics that make a character truly breathe. Anne Hathaway was pretty good, so I wouldn’t be terribly dissappointed if she won, but she didn’t have the subtlety that Streep did.
Supporting actor is easy – Heath Ledger all the way. Hoffman was good, too, but Ledger really stole the show. Supporting actress is harder – not really that huge a fan of any of them. I guess I thought Tomei and Cruz were decent.
But the biggest sin was not nominating WALL-E for best picture. It may be an animated film, but it was easily one of the best films of the year and deserves a chance to win it all. That’s not unprecedented, and if any film deserved it, WALL-E did. How can you deny that lovable little box of rust after all he went through? Cold-hearted bastards.