DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: 2008 OSCAR NOMINATIONS

Sunday 25 January 2009


It’s one of the most exciting times of the Hollywood calendar. Having just got back from Sundance, watching a new crop of great films, I got home and immediately put my head back into last year’s films. The Golden Globes were handed out two weeks ago, and, like usual, those results will be discarded from everyone’s memory and trumped by the awards that actually count, the Oscars. Click HERE for the full, easy to read list.

Here’s some general impressions:

Gran Torino

Perhaps the most notable omission was “Gran Torino”. The film received no nominations, a surprise considering the box office success it’s had over the past few days and that the Academy loves Clint Eastwood. Ironically Clint’s lesser film “Changeling” received three nominations (Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction). Most likely Eastwood’s Best Acting nod was taken by dark horse Richard Jenkins. Personally I have no complaint with these omissions.

Michael Shannon

The best part of “Revolutionary Road” was Michael Shannon’s entrance at the midway point of the film. The nomination is not only well-deserved, it also brings much needed recognition to one of the best character actors working today. His performances in “Bug”, “Shotgun Stories”, “World Trade Center” and almost anything he does steals his films. Although he has no chance to win against Heath Ledger the nomination is as good as a win for Shannon.

The Wrestler

The biggest disappoint for me personally is the lack of recognition of “The Wrestler”. It’s the most honest and truthful film in a long time. Of course Mickey Rourke’s powerful performance is the strongest part of the film and should be favoured to win, but Hollywood likes comeback stories, and I think Darren Aronofsky’s transformation as director is as compelling as anything behind the scenes of this film.

Frozen River

The inclusion of “Frozen River” on a some key critics' best-of lists helped this Sundance success story score some two huge nominations (Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay). Somewhere Sally Hawkins is cursing the name of Melissa Leo. I haven’t actually seen the film, but now I will definitely seek this one out.

Waltz With Bashir

The fantastic and powerful animated war film (for adults, not kids) ‘Waltz With Bashir’, scored a Best Foreign Language Film nod – yeah! Curiously it didn’t get a nomination for Best Animated Film. Really, who thinks “Bolt” is a better film than ‘Waltz With Bashir’???

Roger Deakins

Eighth time a charm? One of the best cinematographers working today just scored his eighth nomination. He has never won yet. Unfortunately his work on ‘The Reader’ is not his finest work. Expect Anthony Dot Mantle or Wally Pfister to take this one.

Best Directors

This year each Best Picture nomination was matched by a Best Director nomination. So there’s no sour grapes from a ‘wildcard’ addition. And thankfully we won’t have to suffer from that repetitive griping, ‘What? Did the movie direct itself?”

Stephen Daldry

Stephen Daldry (‘The Reader’) has made three feature films and received a Best Director nomination for each film. (‘Billy Elliott’ and ‘The Hours’ are the others).

Werner Herzog

Veteran maverick Werner Herzog scores his first Oscar nomination (Best Documentary ‘Encounters at the End of the World’). Though ‘Man on Wire’ is a better film the thought of Herzog on the stage on Oscar is too exciting not to cheer for him.

Bruce Springsteen

No Boss?? What happened here??

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