We may not get to vote in the Academy Awards, but here at Cinema Blend we've got opinions as strong as anyone's-- and of course, we know we're always right. So even though Slumdog Millionaire will probably win Oscars in categories it's not even nominated for, we've got our own idea of where the Academy should go. Some of our picks are frontrunners-- it's hard to argue against Heath, right?-- and some have even admitted themselves that they don't have a shot at winning. But they've won our votes, and our affection. Check out our list below.
By Josh Tyler
I’m here for the other guy. Richard Jenkins has been the other guy for his entire career. He’s that guy from that movie. He’s “oh yeah he looks familiar”. Even though he’s been nominated for an Oscar this year, nothing has changed. In a category filled with star-studded, high-profile nominees, he’s still that other guy. He’s not Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke, he’s not the guy who played Nixon or Brad Pitt. He’s Richard Jenkins, one of the best actors working in Hollywood who no one pays any attention to. You don’t notice him precisely because he is so good. When Richard Jenkins shows up in a movie, he becomes that character, fully and then goes home. He makes his living not based on name recognition, but on being good. In 2008 he was very good indeed in The Visitor, a quiet movie which no one saw, probably because it didn’t have Brad Pitt’s name splashed all over it. Maybe it’s time we struck a blow for the other guy, the guy who’s good at his job and never gets any recognition. Give an Oscar to Richard Jenkins.
By Katey Rich
It's not just that Anne Hathaway broke out of her pretty princess mold in Rachel Getting Married, or that she was willing to curse and hit and have sex on screen. Her creation of Kym, a narcissistic, unbearable drug addict, was the liveliest acting onscreen all year, as full of nuance and character as the movie itself. When she gives that painfully awkward toast, aware that she's derailing the party but not really caring, she uses all that movie star charisma to remind us of every person we've ever known who would settle for nothing less than being the center of attention. Sure, she'll have plenty more opportunities for great roles, and it's Kate Winslet's year and all. But Hathaway, of all the actresses up for awards this year, was the best to watch-- and not just because she's gorgeous.
By Josh Tyler
In 1993 Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her supporting role in My Cousin Vinny… and she’ll never live it down. Her win has long been considered a low point in Oscar history, a mistake, a goof, a colossal joke. Let’s do it again! She’s nominated this year for her work in The Wrestler, in which she gets naked and pretends to like Mickey Rourke. She’s good, maybe even Oscar good, but that’s not the point. She deserves it simply to shut people up, or in the case of elitist award whorers, piss them off. A vote for Marisa Tomei is a vote against the naysayers and Oscar prima donnas. A vote for Marisa Tomei is the world’s biggest fuck you to the Academy for all the other horrible screwups they’ve perpetrated on us over the years. Give Marisa Tomei another Oscar. Payback’s a bitch.
By William Usher
It's good that Ledger was nominated for the role of the Joker, although if it was actually for the performance or from the early death, is still something that's up for debate. Nevertheless, he was an undeniable force to be reckoned with on-screen and helped push the other actors forward that much more. And while we will never get to see how Mr. Ledger would have followed up on the role in the third installment of Nolan’s Batman movies, fans will at least have an opportunity to stand behind his performance in The Dark Knight and hope that he captures the win at the Oscars.
By Pete Haas
No matter what your views on the afterlife are, I think we can all agree that Heath Ledger doesn't give a shit whether he wins Best Supporting Actor. He'll still win the award anyway but Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Kirk Lazarus, an Australian actor playing an African American soldier, is just as deserving of the award. Of all the nominees, he had the most challenging task. White people acting like black stereotypes is not only a tired shtick but a tradition with racist roots. Downey charts a careful course in Tropic Thunder, playing an over-the-top stereotype for laughs while keeping the character human and sympathetic. He's able to make us believe that Lazarus is an actor who gets "buried" in his roles and can't help it if he's being offensive. By pulling off such a risky, difficult role, Downey not only outshone his high-profile co-stars Ben Stiller and Jack Black but earned serious consideration for this Oscar.
By Steve West
As a huge fan of martial arts films, Kung Fu Panda is at the top of my list of the genre. Forget that it’s animated. This is a classic story told with depth, humor, and amazing choreography. Master Oogway taking down Tai Long when Master Sifu fails is a beautiful moment that any film would be proud to have. And the bridge fight is an artful and brilliant sequence that utilizes the philosophy of kung fu along with the animation of the animals the form represents. Let’s not forget story. WALL-E opens on equal footing with Kung Fu Panda with its Chaplinesque qualities, but quickly falls short as it becomes an environmental message. Panda stays true through to the end. Kung Fu Panda is the best animated film of 2008. Skadoosh.
By Katey Rich
Batman punches a bad guy. Batman jumps off a building. Batman stands, brooding, on a pile of rubble. We've seen shots like these before in the five movies that came before it, but cinematographer Wally Pfister outdid himself in The Dark Knight, lending a grittiness and weight to Gotham that it never had before. Pfister was nominated for Batman Begins as well, and given that The Dark Knight has twice the Academy support that film had, Pfister should be a lock. He'll lose to Slumdog's Anthony Dod Mantle's on Sunday, but the visceral visual style he gave the Caped Crusader won't be forgotten.