The View From Here
Here's the list of nominations in the key categories for this year's Academy Awards...
I'll be back with some no doubt vague and rather woolly thoughts after the list:
"The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button"
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"
Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, "Doubt"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader"
Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
Gus Van Sant, "Milk"
David Fincher, "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”
Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis, "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"
Well, I can't claim there's too many surprises here, though I'm delighted to see Richard Jenkins and Marisa Tomei acknowledged for their great work in The Visitor and The Wrestler. It's good to see, too, nods for Downey (for Tropic Thunder) and Anne Hathaway (for Rachel Getting Married). It would be churlish to grouch about the posthumous nomination for Ledger, even if I find the Internet obsession with both him and The Dark Knight rather tiresome.
If I had to predict anything -- gun to head, mind you -- I'd say Benjamin Button for Best Picture, Rourke for Best Actor and Boyle for Best Director. It strikes me, they'd represent a satisfyingly broad cross-section of where the Academy's heads are at.
Benjamin Button (which, I admit, I didn't like much) is a weighty prestige studio picture, that's done remarkably well despite it's relatively unconventional plot.
Rourke. Well, everyone loves a comeback, and he's on a roll at the moment with The Wrestler.
Boyle. Slumdog Millionaire is charming and feelgood, and has also racked up impressive box office takings in the US. I also think it's the most accessible movie in its category; which would be ideal for countering the criticisms last year that the Oscars were being too exclusive with movies like There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men having relatively low recognition value in middle America.
Of course, I reserve the right to be completely wrong come February 22.
And let us know what you think should win...