The Oscar nominees have been announced. My reaction is, as usual, lukewarm. From the top (of the page):
DiCaprio did not deserve a Best Actor nod. Jude Law might have. Bill Murray might also have, but I didn’t expect anything there — the Academy seemed unlikely to recognize his work twice in a row. You only get one quirky nomination per decade, or something. Paul Giamatti, however, is the big slight. What’s up with that? My choice would be Clint Eastwood, but if Giamatti had been nominated it’d have been a tough choice.
Alan Alda for Best Supporting Actor? Uh. Also, Morgan Freeman? Uh. This is just the halo effect; the Academy likes giving the hot films lots of nominations. Peter Sarsgaard deserved a nomination for Kinsey. I give this one to Clive Owen either way, though.
As I’ve mentioned before, Natalie Portman should have been nominated as Best Actress, not as Best Supporting Actress. That’s purely people not wanting to piss off Julia Roberts. Laura Linney also deserved a nomination for Kinsey. If Portman had been nominated, she’d be my choice; failing her, I think Kate Winslet, but I have no strong opinion.
If Natalie Portman had been nominated for Best Actress, Cate Blanchett would be my choice here; as is, Portman will win and probably deserves to win. It’s an immensely strong category, though. Hey, there’s Laura Linney! I couldn’t really object to any of the nominees winning; this is a very strong group.
How cute. They nominated Shark Tale to fill out the Best Animated Feature group. Incredibles will win and should win.
Art Direction, Cinematography — I think these are deserved for The Aviator. It looked incredible.
Directing, um. Nothing for Gondry? How about Brad Bird? Although there’s a long argument to be had about animated feature directors; in some ways it’s apples and oranges. But it’s tough, directing an orange, so I tend to think Bird deserves a nomination here. Of the nominees I’m hard-pressed to choose, but I guess either Million Dollar Baby or The Aviator. I thought the latter was directed well; the problems come from DiCaprio’s acting and the meandering screenplay. But the Best Director of the year was Richard Linklater, for Before Sunset, an absolutely outstanding achievement.
No opinions on some of these… The Aviator again for Film Editing. No, wait, Collateral is nominated. That was awesome. Actually, where’s the Collateral nomination for Cinematography?
Hm — ah, Last Life in the Universe was submitted for the 2003 Best Foreign Lanaguge Oscar and, regrettably, was not nominated. Hero was nominated in 2002. And didn’t win. Man, those Academy voters are dorks.
I wouldn’t give Best Picture to any of the nominees. Admittedly, I didn’t see a couple of them, so what do I know? If I had to choose, it’d be Million Dollar Baby, but I don’t see how Closer wasn’t a better film.
Since when is Before Sunset an Adapted Screenplay? Weird. Give it the win in this category, especially since I’m not enthralled by any of the other nominees as screenplays. Too many structural flaws. And, again, where’s Closer?
And finally, I would just barely choose The Incredibles for Best Original Screenplay over Eternal Sunshine. It’s a very close call. Move Before Sunset to this category, and I throw my hands up and declare a three-way tie.