Thursday, January 22, 2009

2008 Oscar Nominations

Here are my initial reactions on the Oscar nominations that were announced this morning...

You can see the full list of nominees here:
81st Academy Awards nominees

Best Picture: The Dark Knight got snubbed. To be fair though I have only seen Benjamin Button and Slumdog thus far so I can't judge the others harshly because TDK got left out. I hope to see more if not all of the nominees before the ceremony though. (It sounds like they will have a screening series of nominated films at work so hopefully we can catch some there) Right now my vote and my money is on Slumdog.

To be honest I don't care enough about the acting categories to make a fuss about here. If I had to say anything I'd say that I hope Heath wins Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the Joker.

Director: I really hope Danny Boyle takes this home. He took what could be quaint material and turned it into something utterly unique and captivating. The more I see of his work (Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Millions) the more and more I am really impressed with him.

I don't have much of an opinion on the Screenplay categories yet. I have started to read some of the nominated screenplays though. If you are interested in reading them yourself you can browse on over to the awards websites the studios have set up to hock their films to voters.
(Go to this LINK and look for the web addresses in the FYC Ads)

Foreign Language Film: Again haven't seen many of these but I saw Waltz with Bashir and it was nice to see it get recognized here if not for Best Animated Feature. Is this the first Animated film to get nominated in this Category?

Art Direction: Changeling or Revolutionary Road. I pick both of these because I love the early and mid century America looks.

Cinematography: I would go with The Dark Knight on this one for two major reasons. First is the bold and challenging choice to shoot parts of the film in IMAX and the other is the fact that they achieved all of the look of the film with a DI.

Costume Design: I don't have a strong opinion at this moment in time, but we'll go see the annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design show at FIDM and I'm sure one will stand out. For now though I'd say Revolutionary Road or Milk.

Film Editing: Slumdog!

Makeup: It's interesting to see Benjamin Button and The Dark Knight in there. I'm sure there is practical makeup used but there is also quite a bit of digital augmentation going on in those films. Either way at least there isn't a Click or Norbit type film nominated again.

Original Score: Once nominations are out I usually go to iTunes (or amazonMP3 as was the case this year) and download a track from each of the nominated score to get a feel for the music. I have to admit I am disappointed that The Dark Knight got left out. It's nice to see Danny Elfman recognized with a nomination for his work on Milk. Not sure who I'd pick but my gut is telling me Wall-E or Slumdog.

Original Song: I don't get what is going on with this catagory?! It used to always be 5 nominees. Then a few years ago it was cut down to 3... then last year it was back to 5... and now it back to 3 again?! I'm content with all three nominees this year. I know I said I liked the song "Jai Ho" but giving it more though and another listen I think I would be happy seeing either "O Saya" from Slumdog or "Down to Earth" from Wall-E win.

Sound (Mixing & Editing): I would pick Wall-E easily for Sound Editing. Mixing is not as easy but I think I would go with Slumdog because I remember thinking to myself that the atmosphere created by the sound and music in that film were part of what was so enchanting about it. (It may have also been that we saw it in a fantastic theater with a great loud but clean sound system)

Visual Effects: I'm just happy there isn't a "Golden Compass" in the bunch this year. It's still such a shame that it beat Transformers last year. This years picks though are all worthy and I would be happy seeing any of them win. If I had to pick I think I would go with Benjamin Button.

And last but not least is Animation. I would have to say that the most exciting nominee announced this morning, out of any category, is La Maison en Petits Cubes. I expressed the love I have for this film in my last post and I said I had hoped it would at least get nominated so that it can get the exposure it deserves. I am thrilled it was nominated!! I hope it gets released on iTunes soon. And on the Animated Feature front Bolt, Wall-E, and Kung Fu Panda got nominated. I also spoke a bit about this category in my last post and expressed that I was somewhat torn between KFP and Wall-E. Ultimately I'm going to have to go with Kung Fu Panda though. Now I hope that people don't think I'm picking it simply because I work at DreamWorks. People may think that, but let them... there is no truth in it. I truly believe given a choice between the two.. and that's what this is... KFP is a superior animated film. And I'm going to call it right here and now... KFP will sweep the Annies and Wall-E will go on to win the Oscar. I would love to see KFP win this but there is so much vocal support out there for Wall-E that it is going to be hard to overcome.

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