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January 22 2009

Richard Jenkins and Amy Adams nominated for an Oscar. Amy Adams of Buffy episode "Family" in a supporting role for "Doubt", and Richard Jenkins, of soon-to-shoot "Cabin in the Woods", for Best Actor in "The Vistor."


ETA. Found one. Next time, find a relevant link.

[ edited by Simon on 2009-01-22 15:07 ]
That's like perfect timing from a CITW-perspective.
Given the tendency of the Oscars to nominate recently released films, particular congratulations to Richard Jenkins. Having an Oscar nominated actor in Cabin in the Woods certainly won't hurt.
Very happy for the Richard Jenkins nomination. Also glad to see Melissa Leo nominated. Loved her from Homicide: Life on the Street (and she's also in SMG's upcoming Veronika Decides to Die).
Simon - Apologies. Could have sworn I pasted the link in there.
I am just so disappointed with the Oscars this year, it's just...ugh. Not that I hold them to any high standards, being the Oscars, but this is certainly the worst year in recent memory. I haven't seen The Reader yet, but not counting that, Milk is the only deserving Best Picture nominee. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was very good but not great (and Brad Pitt's Actor nomination is confusing, since the usually-awesome actor felt kind of off the entire movie), Slumdog Millionaire was silly, and Frost/Nixon was a boring borefest.

The one thing that really floors me is that The Wrestler wasn't nominated for song. I seriously considered that a lock for the win. But instead of Springsteen's beautifully haunting title tune, we've got two lame songs from Slumdog and an admittedly slight song from the great WALL-E.

But lest I am coming across as a hatemonger:

I am very pleased that Jenkins was nominated, as he was wonderful in The Visitor, and Adams also rocked in Doubt. There were several other terrific nominations, too: Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, all of the Supporting Actor nominees except for Michael Shannon, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Penelope Cruz, Marisa Tomei, Gus Van Sant.

(Heath Ledger for the win! I was hoping The Dark Knight would get more than Supporting Actor and technical nominations, but oh well.)
I really hope Milk wins for Best Picture. I enjoyed Slumdog Millionaire for what it was, but the plot was just too ridiculous. I didn't like that it explained the fact that everything was so obviously formulated by saying that it had to do with destiny. That seems cheap, to me. I wish The Dark Knight had been nominated. But I'd still be rooting for Milk, if it had.

I haven't seen The Wrestler, so I can't comment on Rourke's performance, which seems to be the other strong contender for Best Actor, but I'm also hoping Sean Penn will win for his performance.

Anyway, I think I'll end this love-fest for Milk now. Well, except to say that I really love Elfman's score. Especially the opening credits piece.
Slumdog Millionaire was . . . silly? The plot was ridiculous? Wow. I'm lost for words. It's one of the most powerful films I've *ever* experienced.

This just in: tastes really do differ. :-)
Wow. I am SHOCKED that The Wrestler didn't get more Oscar nominations. It at least deserves Best Song. Benjamin Button is good, but not Oscar good. The Wrestler should've taken its spot for Best Picture. Right now, without seeing The Reader, I agree with UnpluggedCrazy that Milk is the only deserving nominee.

I really enjoyed Wall-E though, and am glad to see all the nods, especially best original screenplay, which is awesome. It's already a lock for Best Animated, and Down to Earth is a fantastic song as well (at the very least, much, MUCH more memorable than the Slumdog Millionaire songs). Slumdog should win for Best Score though (even though I really liked Wall-E's as well). It was one of the few times during a movie that I noticed the music.

ETA: The one thing about Slumdog that really bothered me was the opening text with the answers a, b, c, and d. It was nice in the trailer, but came off LAME in the movie itself.

[ edited by whoisfriend on 2009-01-22 16:44 ]
Slumdog Millionaire was . . . silly? The plot was ridiculous? Wow. I'm lost for words. It's one of the most powerful films I've *ever* experienced.

Wasn't it also based on a true story ?

(not seen it yet but I like the premise, assuming it hasn't been over Boyle-ed, you can lose all the goodness that way ;)
There's just no love for Lifeforce.
The Reader being nominated is a joke. Enough with the holocaust stuff already, why does the Academy go weak at the knees for any poorly done holocaust story that comes along?

For comparison's sake:

The Reader
Rotten Tomatoes- 60% overall, 52% top critics, 6.3 avg
Metacritic- 58 ("mixed or average" by Metacritic standards) with ONE perfect score of 100
No nominations at all from PGA, DGA, WGA

The Dark Knight
Rotten Tomatoes-94% overall, 90% top critics, 8.5avg
Metacritic-82 ("universal acclaim" by Metacritic standards) with 16 perfect scores of 100
Nominated by the PGA, DGA, and WGA for Best Picture

I'm not a huge Batman guy, really (none of the other Batman movies really WOWED me in any way, though I did enjoy a couple) but The Reader getting in for BP & BD is a joke. Plan and simple.

Also, and I haven't even seen this movie, but Doubt gets FOUR(4!) noms for acting and a nom for Adapted screenplay but no Director or Picture? That hasn't happened since 1965 (pretty sure '65, but it's mid 60's for sure) Not even directing, instead the garbage that is The Reader gets a Directing nom.

Even a good chunk of The Reader's positive reviews at RT say that Winslet is fantastic but the movie itself is "meh".

And no, Slumdog Millionaire isn't based on a true story.

[ edited by Dhoffryn on 2009-01-22 16:53 ]
That's strange because I listened to a podcast with Danny Boyle (recorded around the time 'Sunshine' came out) and he seemed to think it was.

Must admit, I wasn't wowed by the novel of 'The Reader' (though it was a best-seller and critically quite well regarded) so i'm not in a huge rush to see it.

There's just no love for Lifeforce.

If there were a "Best Naked Mathilda May" category it'd be a dead cert Simon. That's one of my problems with the Oscars, the categories are so arbitrary and don't accurately reflect the viewing public's values.
SNT, I don't meant to say that I didn't enjoy Slumdog Millionaire - I really did. In fact, were we Facebook friends, you'd see it listed under my favourite movies. I just happened to find the neatness of it a little hard to take seriously.
Saje, I haven't listened to that podcast, but from what I understand, it's based on a novel called Q and A.
Slumdog Millionaire is based on a novel by Vikas Swarup, but is not at all based on a true story. Maybe Boyle thought it was a while ago, but I'm sure at some point he became aware.

I mean, I assume he became aware...
A quick google suggests the novel was based on a story which may or may not be true (but seems to be considered apocryphal). The answer Danny Boyle gives in that interview sounds like he's found out a bit more about it since he gave the 'Sunshine' interview in that podcast (when he'd, presumably, just have been starting pre-production on 'Slumdog Millionaire'). Or it could be true but they just don't wanna get sued I suppose ?

Other links do say, straight-out that it's based on a true story so it seems like the official line changed at some point.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-01-22 17:08 ]
I'm sorry, but if the authenticity of whether or not it's actually based on a true story is up in the air with different information depending on what you read/where you read it/when you read it, then it's not really sound enough to be considered true.

To me, anyway.
No Repo songs nominated (a few were submitted). Of course, they didn't submit "Legal Assassin", which would have been my choice.

I was also sort of hoping for a nod to "The Little Things" by Danny Elfman from Wanted, but only because that might have convinced him to do a new vocal album for those of us who miss Oingo Boingo much more than we really should ;-)
I'm sorry, but if the authenticity of whether or not it's actually based on a true story is up in the air with different information depending on what you read/where you read it/when you read it, then it's not really sound enough to be considered true.

Yeah, I agree Dhoffryn. As my previous comment reflects ;).

(of course, since you mention it, it being up in the air also means it's not really possible to say it's "not at all based on a true story" ;)
I am by no means a Danny Boyle fan (my favorite film of his is Millions, and even that was average), so that already put Slumdog at a disadvantage. But it was getting such raves that I put aside any kind of bias I may have had, and though it was interesting for a while, the entire narrative structure was annoying. I know that the themes of the film were fate and destiny, but having every single question relate to a crucial moment in his life, and having them conveniently asked in chronological order, felt like a cheap gimmick. If it had all been in his head, or had been a surreal counterpoint to the rest of the movie, maybe then it would've worked. But as it was, I just thought it was irritating.

And then they danced.

I'm not saying it's an out-and-out bad movie, but I can't say that I cared for.

I'm about to watch The Reader, so we'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, movies that needed more Oscar love this year:

The Dark Knight
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (yes, I laugh at me too, and I know it's not eligible for anything, but damn everyone, it's a frakkin' movie)
Synecdoche, New York
The Wrestler
Let the Right One In
Iron Man
Happy-Go-Lucky (I'm glad it got Best Original Screenplay, but I was shocked that Sally Hawkins wasn't nominated)
I've gotta go with Slumdog and AR Rahman's songs.

Is it wrong to hope Jenkins wins just for the publicity factor?
I've seen most of the nominated movies, but to be honest, I didn't enjoy a lot of them. I loved Slumdog Millionaire though. Glad to see it's gotten recoginized. It was nice to see The Class included, but I was hoping Happy-Go-Lucky would score more.

And I admit to owning and loving the Slumdog soundtrack. It's great to run with. :)

[ edited by piggiesfly yay on 2009-01-22 18:02 ]
I believe the reason Let the Right One In, which I adore, isn't getting any recognition is that it was not put forth by its home country as a contender for any awards. I think I read that somewhere... but I may be completely wrong.
Gotsta express some Amy Adams love -- haven't seen Doubt but she soared in Enchanted (and would rock a Dr. Horrible sequel as superhero or supervillain). ("The Princess?" ;-)

[ edited by Pointy on 2009-01-22 18:27 ]
This is Kate Winslet's year!!! She is the youngest to have so many noms and dang it she needs to WIN this year. I was sad to see that unlike the Golden Globes (which she won both!) she is only nominated for Best Actress--no Best Supporting nom...sadface.

Yay for Amy Adams though. I guess. Cousin Beth. ha
Biggest surprises (if you're me):
No The Dark Knight and no The Wrestler for best picture. And Sally Hawkins completely overlooked for best actress in Happy Go Lucky. And finally, the huge amount of nominations for Benjamin Button. Did I completely miss the giant oscar buzz surrounding that one? (Maybe it helps it hasn't been released here yet).

Other than that, there's some nice movies nominated. I haven't seen 'Slumdog Millionaire' (hasn't been released here yet), but I happen to like Boyle's work and the reviews are raving, so I'm sort of predestined to like it. Also nice to see two political movies up there: Frost/Nixon and Milk. And then there's 'The Reader', which has passed completely below my radar. Heh.

So, who's going to be the first to offer up predictions? ;)
Yay for Richard Jenkins. That was pretty much the only pleasant surprise, for me.

And "The Reader" was good, but it wasn't good enough to shut out "The Dark Knight."

I am so glad Richard Jenkins is nominated! The Visitor was wonderful and he was so good in it, but it's not a typical Oscar movie, so what a nice surprise!

I liked Benjamin Button, but it's ridiculous that Brad Pitt and that supporting actress got nominated, but not Cate Blanchett. I mean I know she has already had her share of nominations in past years, but still, she did a much better acting job than Pitt.

And I hope Milk wins something because that was a great movie, too.

[ edited by fortunateizzi on 2009-01-22 19:44 ]
GVH, yeah, the Oscar buzz for Benjamin Button sort of appeared out of nowhere a couple weeks ago. I mean, it's not a big hit, and critics liked it but weren't overwhelmingly positive about it. It's just odd.

If anyone should've gotten nominated for Benjamin Button, it should've been Tilda Swinton or Cate Blanchett.

I did watch The Reader a bit ago. A very frustrating film. The last act was really good, but the rest meandered a lot, and David Kross was sort of a blank. Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes were great, though. So, it's all right. Better than Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon, at any rate.

Okay, these are my predictions:

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke (though it could go to Sean Penn; either way, it will have been a well-deserved trophy)
Best Actress: Kate Winslet (Anne Hathaway might steal it, though)
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis
Hard to take all these Button nominations seriously after watching that video showing how it's just a repackaged Gump.
Yay for the Jenkins nod! I always liked him, but The Visitor and Burn After Reading got him a spot on my "I'll Give With Him/Her In It a Shot" list.

But please, galmightly od, do not let Kate Winslet win. I think she's a fabulous actress, but unfortunately she's also one who never learned the rule about showing your appreciation for an award by giving a short acceptance speech.
b!x, I realized that while watching it. It even had the same writer. Still a good movie, though.
showing your appreciation for an award by giving a short acceptance speech.

There are only two things I watch the Oscars for: frocks and acceptance speeches. If you ask me, the reason that the Oscars' ratings keep plunging is because they've made the acceptance speeches into a kind of harrassment-by-orchestra.

The Oscars are a variety-show with acceptance speeches. Do variety-shows get multiple millions of people to tune in from all around the world? No. People don't, actually, care about seeing an interpretive dance routine based on "The Wrestler," they don't much care about seeing someone perform the Oscar-nominated song that they never heard during the movie because it only starts up halfway through the closing credits.

What they want to see is a moment of genuine emotion from one of their favorite stars (or an embarrassing screw-up by someone they love to hate). Sure--nobody wants to hear lists of publicists and lawyers being thanked, and the Academy should try to bludgeon that message into everyone (perhaps by providing a pre-loaded screen crawl of such thank-yous for all the nominees). But what you REALLY don't tune in to hear is the host haranguing the talent about keeping their speeches short, and a great actor pausing to search for a phrase to sum up their complex emotions upon winning an award after a long career in the wilderness and suddenly finding their mike cut and the music swelling. If the message the whole show is sending is "jeez these people are a boring nuisance" then WHY AM I WATCHING THEM?

If I were director of the Oscars I'd cut ALL the stupid banter between the presenters (has any of that EVER been funny?). I'd cut ALL the dance numbers and ALL the nominated songs (Hollywood is no longer a meaningful forcing-ground for popular music--I'd be inclined to drop the whole category). I'd have the host's monologue be short and sweet, and then I'd triple the amount of time allowed to each Oscar recipient. Give them each enough time to say something genuinely moving, or hilariously stupid, or touchingly human, or revealingly formulaic--or all of the above. I'd only swell the music if they started thanking lawyers.

/rant off.
You are so right, b!x. That's why I'm a Slumdog Millionaire guy.
I'll watch, because I am a sucker for award shows, except for "People's Choice Awards". As long as Wall*E and Kate Winslet get their due, that would be enough.
Oh, and I also have my Oscar rant already on the net.

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2009-01-22 23:08 ]
SMFOT said: I'd only swell the music if they started thanking lawyers.

As a lawyer, I'd like to ask you to kindly refrain from this sort of anti-attorney hate speech. Even cold-blooded reptiles need love too.
Love, yes! And warm, warm sun. :-)

But otherwise I agree with the spirit of snot's comment. (I don't dislike the songs and interpretive dances either, mind you.) Seems strange to make a fuss of someone, and then not allow that someone to enjoy being made a fuss of. In this reptile's humble opinion, anyway.
Cold-blooded reptiles?! BUT I THOUGHT YOU WERE A BUNNY!

*world is thrown askew (Though on a brighter note, I now think a series about lawyer bunnies/reptiles would be pretty sweet)*
Notes that UC is clearly referring to BB, not SNT, who has never been mistaken for a bunny.
Well, you're almost the right colour for a Duracell bunny. Kinda-sorta-ish-but-not-really ;).
No nom for Bruce Springsteen is a travesty.
I now think a series about lawyer bunnies/reptiles would be pretty sweet

Give them enough time and maybe one of the network braintrusts will produce a show starring this kind of lawyer bunny. ;-)
"First he files suit...then he files his teeth. Caerbannog Law coming this season to Fox."
Another Academy year when politicking carries more weight than excellence. I haven't even seen The Dark Knight or The Reader, but I've read and watched enough reviews of both to know that TDK was a better movie overall.

Also, I don't understand why, when they have room for 5 or 6 songs, they didn't even nominate Springsteen. I'm not saying Springsteen was best, I really liked the music in Slumdog, but is the composer/songwriter division still that hidebound? I thought the Once win last year might lead the way to a change in the song category but I guess not. Maybe this is a reaction to last year, a step back by the old guard.

Oh, well. Congratulations to Richard Jenkins, my own pick for Best Actor (and The Visitor for Best Picture but I guess I won't win that ;). And congratulations to everyone else who was nominated, you are all worthy candidates, although some are less worthy than others. :P
So many congrats to Amy Adams (and no, I haven't been able to see "Doubt" yet; but if it's anything remotely on par with her performance in "Junebug"...)

Unfortunately I haven't seen many nominees this year. I liked "Benjamin Button" quite a bit, but I'm not positive whether I think it deserves this level of acclaim or not. (I'm planning on watching it again on DVD and try to suss it out, and whether it holds together well thematically, and is not too precious like its obvious forebearer "Forrest Gump" tended to be--although I did like that too.) "Frost/Nixon" was a good movie, with great performances, but I don't think it's nearly good enough for a BP nomination. (I haven't seen the other three, although I plan to.) I'd definitely take "BB" over "Frost/Nixon" (and Fincher over howard); on the other hand, I think both Pitt and Langella are deserving enough for best actor; it's very hard to decide between these two performances.

- Cheers to Heath Ledger. Certainly his performance was remarkable, nuanced, frightening. And I'm positive he'll win, because it's a great performance, and because of other factors--TDK's being shut out of other categories, and Ledger's untimely death. (Personally, I liked TDK a lot but I have problems with it, particularly the rushed pacing throughout, so I'm not personally broken up over the lack of picture/director/writer nods.)

- I personally preferred his work in "Iron Man," but it's good to see Robert Downey Jr. get a nom for "Tropic Thunder." (And of course, he probably didn't have a chance at getting a best actor nom for "IM," no matter how entertaining he was.) If he weren't up against Ledger I might say he had a chance....

- Obviously "Wall-E" will win best animated film. Probably it should have been nominated for best picture and Stanton for director (again, better than F/N at least); but c'est la vie. But hey--it did get a writing nom!
I saw Slumdog Millionaire last night, and really enjoyed it. I thought it managed to combine the silly and the horrific and the gritty and the sweet in a way I've never seen another film pull off. It certainly wasn't meant to seem realistic - I laughed out loud at the policeman saying "It's all strangely plausible," thought that was a little stroke of genius - and the final question being what it was felt inevitable and perfect and yet I didn't see it coming at all. And my god, the opening scenes when they are little boys, and the way it's shot, just amazing. I think what I loved about it was that it didn't shy away from anything awful and yet didn't insist on taking itself seriously either. I don't think I've seen any of the other nominated films, so it's all I've got to root for, anyway ;).

And I haven't seen The Reader but I have been madly in love with Kate Winslet ever since her debut in Heavenly Creatures and I would love for her to win an Oscar and would even enjoy hearing her give a rambling acceptance speech that went on too long. Yay!

I'm sure Heath Ledger will win. I thought he was utterly, utterly terrifying as the Joker.

Notes that UC is clearly referring to BB, not SNT, who has never been mistaken for a bunny.

Sure about that, are you?

"First he files suit...then he files his teeth. Caerbannog Law coming this season to Fox."

I haven't seen The Visitor yet but it's coming from Netflix before the awards ceremony.

There's just no love for Lifeforce. Simon, despite your love for the naked alien vampiress the film, it wouldn't even get the pity vote at Oscar time because there's no one disabled in it. The Academy voters just love to give it to the actor/actress who triumphs over all.

I'm very impressed by the lineup this year. Still have to see Doubt though I've seen the Broadway touring production on stage.

As to Heath Ledger, today (1/22) is the one-year anniversary of his death. Rolling Stone has remembered Heath.

Posthumous awards have been given before, but Heath did the work and he deserves it. Heath really came up with an inspired vision of the Joker. He actually mined real humor despite the evil villain's soul being as twisted as his face. I was fascinated every time he was onscreen.

As to speeches, oh, the SPEECHES! Probably the biggest bane of mine while watching award shows. This is my philosophy. There are a few types of speeches I like:

** The heartfelt (Daniel Day-Lewis using his SAG award last year to talk about Heath Ledger).

** The witty/intelligent/humorous (Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Helen Mirren).

** The mercifully brief (anyone who helps out in this area) and

** The slightly raunchy/bilious/louche (Ricky Gervais from the People's Choice Awards a couple weeks ago).

Rambling, unfocused, undignified, makes me want to set my hair on fire. I'm sorry, but I put Anne Hathaway in this category for her Critic's Choice Award speech recently. Actors have a bad rap for coming across as narcissistic, inarticulate, and undignified, and as nice a woman as she may be, she did not represent herself as an artist very well.

Kate Winslet, I'm looking at you dear. If you win at Oscars, don't mess it up.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-01-23 14:34 ]
I don't mind the speeches. What I do mind is that fucking orchestra. If I ever win an Oscar and they start playing the music, I am literally gonna tell them to shut it until I'm done talking.
Classiest moment in recent Oscar memory was Jon Stewart bringing the "Once" people back up to speak after the orchestra forced them to shut up.
I'm in the pro-speech, anti-interpretive dance & presenter-banter camp, too. The speeches are so boring because nobody has time to do anything but thank, and of course they need to thank. If they had more time, they could spice up the thanks with interesting anecdotes instead of just saying/reading lists.

I also agree with everything catherine said about Slumdog. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the first hour, and I thought its combination of too horrible & too sweet was kind of breathtaking.

Also, nothing wrong with cold-blooded reptiles in my book. It's those cold-blooded jelly donuts you have to look out for.
Jon Stewart was such a great host. It sucks that he's too "subversive" for the Hollywood peeps who just want a big ol' pat on the back the entire night.

Why is Hugh Jackman hosting? I like the guy, but...what? The rumors were saying that Ricky Gervais was gonna be the man. That would've been phenomenal. But then I guess we get back to the whole too subversive/cynical/satirical thing.
The people who run the Oscars seem to think that the only virtue the show needs is to be predictably dull. Heaven forbid that anybody make a political statement, or wear an outrageous dress, or say something completely wacky. But it's precisely the wacky and the outrageous that we remember. It's the "you like me, you really, really like me" speeches that go into the memory bank, alongside Sasheen Littlefeather showing up to collect Brando's Oscar, or Bjork wearing a swan dress, or Jack Palance doing one-armed push-ups. That's the stuff that gets people to tune in. That's the stuff that gets people talking about the event afterwards. Has anybody ever said "hey, did you hear that great Bruce Vilanch joke Presenter 1 said to Presenter 2 last night?"
You know, having Bruce Vilanch be a presenter would probably result in way more funny than having him script a presenter.
YEAH for Melissa Leo getting the nod! I haven't even seen her film, but based on "fill-in-the-blank" and Roeper's absolute RAVING about her performance, and her work on Homicide - YES for the recognition!

(Also - yay for heartfelt speeches, inc Cuba's backflip, and for innovative hosting like Dave Letterman's!)

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