The View From Here

Just in -- 2008 Oscar nominations

Michael Bonner

The nominations are just in for the 2008 Oscars, so here’s my first impressions of what’s what in the major categories. It’s no great shock to see No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood leading the field (8 nominations a piece), but there’s certainly a few surprises…

Here, anyway, are the nominations in the main categories.

FILM OF THE YEAR
Atonement
Juno
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

No major surprises here. No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood are both the kind of prestige pictures Academy voters favour, and Atonement ticks all the right boxes in terms of intelligent, classy period drama. I’m mildly surprised to see Michael Clayton in there – a good film, certainly, but not a great one. And, if you’ll permit me a moment’s rare excitement – hurray for the mighty Juno!

BEST DIRECTOR
Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly)
Jason Reitman (Juno)
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men)
Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)

The Coens – Joel and Ethan taking joint director’s credit for the first time – and PTA both delivered major career peaks here, so I suspect it’ll be a two-horse race. But Schnabel’s film about French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby, partly paralysed after a stroke, is the kind of story of folk struggling against adversity that also finds favour with the Academy. Brilliant to see Jason Reitman up for Juno, though I don’t think either he or Tony Gilroy stand much of a chance against this heavyweight competition.

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)
Tommy Lee Jones (In The Valley Of Elah)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Clooney’s done better films, but this is a really strong performance. All the same, it’s going to be hard to better Day-Lewis or Tommy Lee Jones, who both deliver powerful performances in their respective films. Nice, too, that Depp and Mortensen get nods, but it’s not really their best work.

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
Julie Christie (Away From Her)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Laura Linney (The Savages)
Ellen Page (Juno)

In what’s been a conspicuously weak year for strong female characters in films, though I suspect that Julie Christie will win for her sensitive and graceful performance of an Alzheimer’s sufferer. Blanchett gets a nod for Elizabeth here, and also a Best Supporting Actress for her “Dylan” in I’m Not There – a far better peformance, and one more likely to be recognised come Oscar night itself.

So, surprises: no Keira Knightley for Atonement, and apart from Cate Blanchett, nothing for I’m Not There (I’d thought Todd Haynes would have got some acknowledgment of his fantastic, impressionistic take on the life of Bob Dylan). Also, surprised to see The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford pretty much left out in the cold, aside from a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Casey Affleck.

Anyway, the awards themselves are on Sunday, February 24.

So, what do you think? Any glaring omissions? Who do you think’s likely to walk home with a statuette on the night..? Let me know your thoughts.


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