Oscar Nominations Count Thirteen For Benjamin Button

By Rafe Telsch 2009-01-22 07:34:28discussion comments
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The nominees are out, and while their arenít a ton of surprises, for those of us who have been optimistic about The Dark Knightís chances of getting some statues have some disappointment. Christopher Nolanís escalation of the comic book movie was overlooked in most of the big categories, which means this isnít the comic book movie to transcend Academy expectations.

Instead, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leads the pack with thirteen nominations. Considering all of the talk Slumdog Millionaire has gotten, I expected it to dominate the number of nominations, but David Fincherís exploration of life and death got the most attention, despite the repeated criticism that the movie is more about the spectacle than the journey.

Will Slumdog take top honors despite not having as many nominations? Weíll find out on February 22nd when the winners are announced. That gives us a month to debate, speculate, and complain about who was included and who was left out.

The Nominees Are...

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Richard Jenkins - The Visitor
Frank Langella - Frost / Nixon
Sean Penn - Milk
Brad Pitt - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke - The Wrestler
Rafe says: A bit surprised to see both DiCaprio and Eastwood shut out. I fully expected one of the two would worm their way in, especially over Pitt.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Josh Brolin - Milk
Robert Downey Jr. - Tropic Thunder
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - Doubt
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon - Revolutionary Road
Rafe says: Nice to see RDJ get some recognition for his awesomely transformative role in Tropic Thunder, but this one goes to Ledger.

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Anne Hathaway - Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie - Changeling
Melissa Leo - Frozen
Meryl Streep - Doubt
Kate Winslet - The Reader
Rafe says: No real surprises here, except for Winsletís nomination coming from The Reader and not Revolutionary Road. Either way she was getting nominated though.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams - Doubt
Penelope Cruz - Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis - Doubt
Taraji P. Henson - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei - The Wrestler
Rafe says: Tomei getting a nomination here may finally silence people about her previous Oscar win. Supporting Actress is always a hard category for me to pick, but there are some great contenders here.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
Wall-E
Rafe says: Pretty much what I expected, with Disney dominating as usual. Would have been nice to see Horton take a place here so three separate entities were in competition. Not going to matter since Wall-E was a contender for Best Picture in most peopleís eyes, so definitely should take this as a consolation.

DIRECTING
Danny Boyle - Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry - The Reader
Gus Van Sant - Milk
David Fincher - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard - Frost/Nixon
Rafe says: Again, the nominees arenít surprising me as much as what they were nominated for. Bummed not to see Christopher Nolanís name here though.

BEST PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost / Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire
Rafe says: Like Best Director, Iím disappointed not to see The Dark Knight listed here. I guess itís expected, but still disappointing to me. Slumdog was expected to be the major contender here, but with Button leading the nominations, I have to wonder if an upset isnít going to take place.

And then there are the categories that are just as important, but Iím not going to comment individually on. In interests of time and space I havenít listed each individual person, just the film involved, but those peopleís families know who they are. Here are the rest of the Oscar Categories...

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Frozen River
Happy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Milk
Wall-E

MUSIC (SCORE)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Defiance
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E

MUSIC (SONG)
"Down to Earth" - Wall-E (Peter Gabriel)
"Jai Ho" - Slumdog Millionaire (A.R. Rahman)
"O Saya" - Slumdog Millionaire (A.R. Rahman & Maya Arulpragasam)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory - Lovestory
Oktapodi
Presto
This Way Up

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
Auf der Streke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Der Bader Meinhof Komplex
The Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz with Bashir

ART DIRECTION
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

COSTUME DESIGN
Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

FILM EDITING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost / Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

MAKEUP
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

SOUND EDITING
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E
Wanted

SOUND MIXING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
Wall-E
Wanted

VISUAL EFFECTS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Iron Man
The Dark Knight

The 81st Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 22nd on ABC Television at 5pm PST/8pm EST. If youíre online while they are going on, you should join us for Oscar Chat 8 here at Cinema Blend, where weíll no doubt make fun of the winners, losers, and sum up everything everyone will be talking about at the water cooler the next day.
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