2008 Oscar Nominations

Oscar Nominations were announced earlier in the week, though they’ve been somewhat eclipsed by Heath Ledger’s untimely death. Note to young Hollywood: Just say no. Sheesh.

I’ve seen only two of the best-film nominees–Juno and Michael Clayton. Both were excellent. I have several more to see, though, if I’m going to feel at all informed about the competition. It was an Oscar season of years past, probably the one after Drake was born, that inspired me to start my annual film challenges. I’d seen none of the films; I’d seen no films in a long time. I’d allowed a baby to keep me from one of the things I love, so I rearranged my priorities, set myself a challenge, and have seen lots and lots of films since.

I use the Oscars as a guide, not a list. There are lots of good movies that don’t get nominated for Oscars, and plenty of mediocre movies that do. The foreign and documentary films seem to have an especially poor selection process.

I had a few “wherefore art thou” moments going over the nominees. The Bourne Ultimatum was a very good film. It should have been considered for bigger awards. Knocked Up had some of the funniest writing this year, and newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse stole all his scenes in Superbad.

My plan this year is to see There Will be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and Persepolis, as soon as I can. They’ve been the best reviewed films and ones I think I will enjoy. Sweeney Todd, Into the Wild, and I’m Not There also sound worthwhile. All these films also sound as if they’re good as a whole. Many of the others boast good aspects, like a performance or the cinematography, but not enough holistically to draw me. I’m curiously indifferent about Atonement; it feels like a film calculated to win awards.

From Oscar.com:

80th Academy Awards - Nominations

LIVE Telecast: Sunday, February 24, 2008

Performance by an actor in a leading role
George Clooney in “Michael Clayton”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah”
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War”
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild”
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton”

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Julie Christie in “Away from Her”
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose”
Laura Linney in “The Savages”
Ellen Page in “Juno”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster”
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement”
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone”
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton”

Achievement in directing
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”, Julian Schnabel
“Juno”, Jason Reitman
“Michael Clayton”, Tony Gilroy
“No Country for Old Men”, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“There Will Be Blood”, Paul Thomas Anderson

Best motion picture of the year
“Michael Clayton”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

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