The Oscar nominations were announced today, and there were some shockers! By now you've guessed that I love movies, so I'm going to comment on the main categories.
1. Best Picture: “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Queen.”
SHOCKER: Omission of Dreamgirls. I haven't gotten around the seeing this, but if you read Rachel's blog, she loved Dreamgirls. She's into movies and the Oscars as much as me. Dreamgirls was "the movie to beat" before it was even released, and that probably contributed to it's "downfall." Many of the critics raved about it, but there was a lot of negative written about it, mainly that it's all show and no heart, hallow beneath all the beauty. Haven't seen it myself.
2. Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, “Blood Diamond”; Ryan Gosling, “Half Nelson”; Peter O’Toole, “Venus”; Will Smith, “The Pursuit of Happyness”; Forest Whitaker, “The Last King of Scotland.” Whitaker has been winning everything.
SHOCKER. None. This field shaped up as expected. No one knew if Leo would get nominated for Diamond or the Departed. He was great in the Departed, and I guess better in Diamond. I am so excited Ryan Gosling was nominated! He received critical acclaim before, but this is his first nomination. He was great in Half Nelson. Most of you know him from The Notebook.
3. Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Volver”; Judi Dench, “Notes on a Scandal”; Helen Mirren, “The Queen”; Meryl Streep, “The Devil Wears Prada”; Kate Winslet, “Little Children.”
SHOCKER. None. This field has been locked for a while. Helen Mirren has been winning everything in sight, and it will be a HUGE upset if she loses.
4. Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, “Little Miss Sunshine”; Jackie Earle Haley, “Little Children”; Djimon Hounsou, “Blood Diamond”; Eddie Murphy, “Dreamgirls”; Mark Wahlberg, “The Departed.”
SHOCKER. Where's Jack Nicholson? Mark Wahlberg stole every scene he was in in the Departed, but everyone expected Jack to get a nom. A lot of critics thought he went over the top as the movie progressed, and I agree with them, but he's still Jack.
5. Supporting Actress: Adriana Barraza, “Babel”; Cate Blanchett, “Notes on a Scandal”; Abigail Breslin, “Little Miss Sunshine”; Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”; Rinko Kikuchi, “Babel.”
SHOCKER. None. Glad Abigail was nominated. She was the heart of LMS. This is Jennifer Hudson's to lose.
6. Directing: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Babel”; Martin Scorsese, “The Departed”; Clint Eastwood,H “Letters From Iwo Jima”; Stephen Frears, “The Queen”; Paul Greengrass, “United 93.”
SHOCKER. Paul Greengrass! United 93 has been showing up on all the critics lists, and won many awards from critic groups, but hasn't received any award love. I did not want to watch this movie, but I did and it was good, although chilling and difficult to watch. The decision to make it like a documentary using mostly unknown actors and some of the real people involved was the right choice. Paul directed Bloody Sunday and the Bourne Supremacy.
7. Foreign Language Film: “After the Wedding,” Denmark; “Days of Glory (Indigenes),” Algeria; “The Lives of Others,” Germany; “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Mexico; “Water,” Canada.
SHOCKER. Volver by Pedro didn't make the cut! He has won this category before and has won Best Original Screenplay as well, and Penelope Cruz was a best actress nom for his movie, so this is a surprise. Pan's Labrynth is one of the best reviewed films of the year, so go see it.
10. Animated Feature Film: “Cars,” “Happy Feet,” “Monster House.”
SHOCKER. I guess you could include Monster House as the surprise nom, but it's the only one I've seen and I liked it. Cars or Happy Feet are going to win anyway. Monster House had an interesting backstory (something about Spielberg giving a nobody director right out of college the job or something like that) and Maggie Gyllenhaal voiced a character, so it was a no-brainer for me.
So that is what I think about the big Oscar categories. The Dreamgirs omission is still shocking. It was a victim of it's own hype. And Letters from Iwo Jima got a lot of love, pitting Scorsese against Eastwood, again. Everyone thought this would be Scorsese's year. Leading up to the nominations, Eastwood hasn't won or been nominated for much. But the Academy loves him. I would like to see Iwo Jima because I found fault with the Departed, even though I liked it very much. I need to see that and the Queen to see all five Best Picture nominees. Right now the Queen isn't playing here but should get a wider release.
One of these days I'll write a more personal post, you know, with information about my life.