The 81st Annual Academy Awards

The 81st Annual Academy Awards

It’s that time of the year again! Yet another year where the whole world is ridiculing the Academy Awards aka The Oscars, yet looking forward to it (to ridicule it of course!). With each film site/blog on earth trying to crack the ever controversial results, I too decided to give it a shot. Originally, I just wanted to cast my vote among the nominees. But hey, a prediction is a win-win situation. If you get them right, a pat for yourself and if not, you get to curse the Academy! Of course, the nominee list itself is ultra-absurd and carefully leaves out the really good films. Here it goes anyway.

 

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Ceán Chaffin, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall

Frost/Nixon (2008): Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Eric Fellner

Milk (2008): Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks

The Reader (2008): Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Christian Colson

 

Academy’s Vote: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Christian Colson

Emotions are soaring high for this harmless and lightweight contender among the residents. And the path to the Oscar doesn’t disagree. This one has got odds of 99 to 1. That 1 is for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that may just be the darkest horse ever.

My Vote: The Reader (2008): Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris

This is an easy choice for me. Not just that the other nominees don’t hold a candle to this one, but The Reader is made in the tradition of finest contemporary films from Europe and its value is going to just escalate with the years. A film that grows on you in the truest sense of the word.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Richard Jenkins for The Visitor (2007/I)

Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon (2008)

Sean Penn for Milk (2008)

Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

 

Academy’s Vote: Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

Oh, it looks like this is a three way race between our horses Rourke, Penn and Jenkins. Oh no, our first horse has fallen. It is Jenkins and it looks like it is going to be a photo finish…. No, no wait. Look at Rourke The Ram Robinson go… Blazing away as if on steroids. He’s taken it and how!

Penn has got the award in 2003 and the Academy will not hesitate from giving it whole heartedly to Rourke.

My Vote: Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

Sean Penn may be Frank Capra of the actors, but what Rourke‘s got here is a Citizen Kane. There wasn’t and will never be any performance like this from him. The Wrestler is a great example of what Method Acting could do to a film and there isn’t anyone else who could be cast so effectively. Go Randy Go!

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Angelina Jolie for Changeling (2008)

Melissa Leo for Frozen River (2008)

Meryl Streep for Doubt (2008/I)

Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)

 

Academy’s Vote: Melissa Leo for Frozen River (2008)

This category mirrors the previous one closely with the last three actresses coming in big time (and the Brangelina pair being the filler noms). Kate Winslet seems to be the absolute favorite everywhere. And Meryl Streep would be here even if she had played the lead in Rambo 5. But I have a gut feeling that the Academy will snub the last two again to make up for their mistake that they did with Gena Rowlands

My Vote: Melissa Leo for Frozen River (2008)

Both Streep’s and Winslet’s acting enhance the written characters, but Leo’s performance defines it. Like Rourke, Ms. Leo has pulled off something very unique and probably once is a life time. I would have given an arm for Meryl Streep’s win until I saw Frozen River.

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Josh Brolin for Milk (2008)

Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder (2008)

Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt (2008/I)

Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)

Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road (2008)

 

Academy’s Vote: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)

Right from the day Ledger passed away, there has been an onus placed on the Academy. But luckily for them, Ledger comes up with this. Strange that the Academy took it for granted that in a Batman film the villains are always supporting actors. Why do they notice only the unstoppable force and not the immovable object?!

My Vote: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)

It would be a crime or a plea for insanity if I vote otherwise. All the other actors in this category, who had done great work actually, had it coming. Downey Jr. plays a very tough character that works on multiple levels of self-consciousness, but The Joker is untamed savagery.

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams for Doubt (2008/I)

Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Viola Davis for Doubt (2008/I)

Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler (2008)

 

Academy’s Vote: Viola Davis for Doubt (2008/I)

No, no. She’s not the token black person. Her performance comes as a surprise, both on and off the screen. Her role could have been called badly cast for she was pitted against three established actors. But she shows otherwise.

My Vote: Viola Davis for Doubt (2008/I)

For me, this boiled down to Ms. Davis and Ms. Cruz. I would have blindly given it to the latter if not for the feeling that she has done this kind of charming act somewhere before, many times.

 

Best Achievement in Directing

Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Stephen Daldry for The Reader (2008)

David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon (2008)

Gus Van Sant for Milk (2008)

 

Academy’s Vote: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Danny Boyle has reinvented something as far as the West is concerned. They never could come to terms with Bollywood until Slumdog Millionaire showed up to appease them. Mr. Fincher could have posed some threat, but he fails himself. And so does Van Sant.

My Vote: Stephen Daldry for The Reader (2008)

Another sitter of a choice. Stephen Daldry’s direction is uncompromising and his mise-en-scene, meticulously controlled. His immense confidence on his actors and script are one for the arthouses. Take a bow Mr. Daldry. You have to be satisfied with my vote alone though.

 

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Frozen River (2008): Courtney Hunt

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008): Mike Leigh

In Bruges (2008): Martin McDonagh

Milk (2008): Dustin Lance Black

WALL•E (2008): Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Jim Reardon

 

Academy’s Vote: In Bruges (2008): Martin McDonagh

I may have just gone against my better side of the brain. Though WALL•E is the kind of material that Academy considers its 2001, the film turns spoof-like and a tad restless. Not that the committee considers all that, but WALL•E already has a lock and would have to let go of this one.

My Vote: In Bruges (2008): Martin McDonagh

In Bruges is my favorite fiction of the year and its script would show why. Awe-striking use of the material at hand, McDonagh should have been nominated for the director category too. Genre-bending and genre-blending isn’t restricted to French films and Tarantino alone, says McDonagh

 

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Roth, Robin Swicord

Doubt (2008/I): John Patrick Shanley

Frost/Nixon (2008): Peter Morgan

The Reader (2008): David Hare

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Simon Beaufoy

 

Academy’s Vote: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Simon Beaufoy

Academy: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is too long, Doubt is too stagey, Frost/Nixon is real, The Reader is too Cannes. Slumdog Millionaire is just about perfect”

Beaufoy packs all that is wanted in this kind of a film with all the vignettes from the country of the snake charmers that is just too good to resist.

My Vote: Doubt (2008/I): John Patrick Shanley

Sober, neat and beautifully rendered script stands out among the five and is going to become one of the most respected films of the decade. Characters are written without prejudices, interaction between the film and the audience remains pristine, never once incriminating or loving its central characters. Top Notch.

 

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Changeling (2008): Tom Stern

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Claudio Miranda

The Dark Knight (2008): Wally Pfister

The Reader (2008): Roger Deakins, Chris Menges

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Anthony Dod Mantle

 

Academy’s Vote: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Anthony Dod Mantle

There is no stopping Slumdog Millionaire. Mantle’s camera is “energetic” and seems to intensify the visuals of the film, though it never determines it. This would seem like a easy choice for the committee.

My Vote: The Dark Knight (2008): Wally Pfister

I would have loved to see Kaminski for Indiana Jones 4 here in the list. Watching The Dark Knight is an experience and Wally Pfister is a prime reason. The tag of an action film will hurt him in the awards ceremony, but the truth is that he has pulled off something humongous and something sweeping that can’t just be covered up.

 

Best Achievement in Editing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

The Dark Knight (2008): Lee Smith

Frost/Nixon (2008): Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill

Milk (2008): Elliot Graham

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Chris Dickens

 

Academy’s Vote: The Dark Knight (2008): Lee Smith

This is a close call between Slumdog Millionaire and The Dark Knight, but the Oscar committee would not want to increase the ire of the Batman franchise fans and would give this category to it.

My Vote: The Dark Knight (2008): Lee Smith

Slumdog Millionaire does well, but The Dark Knight’s editing literally zips the film from a 4 hour drag to what it is. Making the audience restless in every sense of the word, The Dark Knight’s Editing hits the nail on the forehead.

 

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Changeling (2008): James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo

The Dark Knight (2008): Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando

The Duchess (2008): Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway

Revolutionary Road (2008): Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt

 

Academy’s Vote: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo

This one is essentially a competition between the first three nominees. Changeling has been done before numerous times. The Dark Knight doesn’t show out its fantastic art work. And The Curious Case of Benjamin Button visibly makes emphatic statements as far as its production design is concerned. Sweeney Todd (2007), had a similar footing and it went all the way.

My Vote: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo

The Dark Knight’s vision of a nihilistic world is extremely well designed. Gotham City is crafted to perfection, but the film otherwise takes place indoors or in utter blackness. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button wins by a micro margin here with its mystical brown and progressively empty spaces in the film.

 

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Australia (2008): Catherine Martin

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Jacqueline West

The Duchess (2008): Michael O’Connor

Milk (2008): Danny Glicker

Revolutionary Road (2008): Albert Wolsky

 

Academy’s Vote: The Duchess (2008): Michael O’Connor

Hold on. I have not seen the film per se, but heck, here is a costume drama arriving after a long time and the Academy will not forget to pounce on it. It looks like this one has a lock and I go with the mass opinion.

My Vote: Milk (2008): Danny Glicker

This may be a case of Emperor and his New Clothes (no, pun unintentional) like Van Sant’s films themselves, but Milk’s costume is deliberately sober and simple like the film. There are no special costumes designed to highlight Harvey but makes him one of the very many people of the world. For once, a costume design that conforms to the film’s theme.

 

Best Achievement in Makeup

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Greg Cannom

The Dark Knight (2008): John Caglione Jr., Conor O’Sullivan

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008): Mike Elizalde, Thomas Floutz

 

Academy’s Vote: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008): Mike Elizalde, Thomas Floutz

The Academy has two choices – to award either the Rick Baker kind of extravagance or to surprise all with the low-key but formidable make up used in the first nominee. The fact that they did not nominate the first installment in the Hellboy series makes me suspicious.

My Vote: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008): Mike Elizalde, Thomas Floutz

I may have voted for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button if not for the intervention of CG that prevents clear classification. Hellboy II: The Golden Army takes extreme pains to present us a world full of unimaginable creatures that should not go unnoticed.

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Alexandre Desplat

Defiance (2008): James Newton Howard

Milk (2008): Danny Elfman

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman

WALL•E (2008): Thomas Newman

 

Academy’s Vote: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman

Slumdog Millionaire isn’t like anything Hollywood has ever heard before. Luhrmann teased them with it, but Boyle floods them. If they loved Slumdog Millionaire to death, it is largely due to the emphatic soundtrack that stands tall among mellower tunes.

My Vote: Take a guess!

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Gulzar(”Jai Ho”)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Maya Arulpragasam(”O Saya”)

WALL•E (2008): Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman(”Down to Earth”)

 

Academy’s Vote: A.R. Rahman, Gulzar(”Jai Ho”)

Finally a Masala song to which the westerners have shamelessly let their legs loose. If one loved the film, one would doubly love the fascinatingly-ludicrous end credits pepped up by the fizzy voice of Sukhwinder Singh.

My Vote: A.R. Rahman, Maya Arulpragasam(”O Saya”)

This is essentially choosing one out of two songs for me and O Saya is magical on screen. I would have loved to see The Wrestler and Gran Torino over here, but the votes wouldn’t have changed.

 

Best Achievement in Sound

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten

The Dark Knight (2008): Ed Novick, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty

WALL•E (2008): Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt

Wanted (2008): Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt

 

Academy’s Vote: WALL•E (2008): Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt

Another close call between WALL•E and Slumdog Millionaire as both of them rely heavily on the environment in the film. WALL•E wins by a margin because the whole of its first half is communicated almost only by sounds and the Oscar people would not hesitate to convert their “aaws” and “oohs” into an award.

My Vote: WALL•E (2008): Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt

It’s a real joy watching a film that builds its atmosphere on silence, grunts and only a couple of syllables – “Eeeevaaaaa”. The first half of the film is up there with the greatest of silent films and its sound design is extends the possibilities.

 

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

The Dark Knight (2008): Richard King

Iron Man (2008): Frank E. Eulner, Christopher Boyes

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Tom Sayers

WALL•E (2008): Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood

Wanted (2008): Wylie Stateman

 

Academy’s Vote: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Tom Sayers

Slumdog Millionaire may lose out to The Dark Knight in the Editing category, but this one would be a revenge of sorts. This is one dark horse of a category where it seems like anyone could win without a surprise.

My Vote: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Tom Sayers

The sounds in the film zip back and forth in time and space like the movie itself and Sayers uses clever sound bridges to extract jolts and jumps from the audience to the maximum. This would be one award that the movie really deserves.

 

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron

The Dark Knight (2008): Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Timothy Webber, Paul J. Franklin

Iron Man (2008): John Nelson, Ben Snow, Daniel Sudick, Shane Mahan

 

Academy’s Vote: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron

This is the pacifier for what is going to be one of the biggest snubs of recent years. The CG team here blurs the line between, acting, make-up and animation seamlessly and the others have to nod.

My Vote: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron

This is serious LOL stuff. In a year with a dozen superhero films, only 3 nominees? And what ever happened to Speed Racer? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has to satisfy itself with one of the minor awards, for which it has done darn well.

 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Bolt (2008): Chris Williams, Byron Howard

Kung Fu Panda (2008): John Stevenson, Mark Osborne

WALL•E (2008): Andrew Stanton

 

Academy’s Vote: WALL•E (2008): Andrew Stanton

Is there even a question? The Academy invented this category for Pixar. And Pixar follows the decision up with such gems.

My Vote: WALL•E (2008): Andrew Stanton

I feel bad for Kung Fu Panda. It had wanted so much and did it with all sincerity. But Pixar make it seem like they are in a different genre altogether.

 

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008)(Germany)

Entre les murs (2008)(France)

Revanche (2008)(Austria)

Okuribito (2008)(Japan)

Vals Im Bashir (2008)(Israel)

 

Academy’s Vote: Vals Im Bashir (2008)(Israel)

Aah, The Middle East, the oil nations, war, anti-war, politics, wrath of Persepolis. All the Oscar ingredients. Only The Class might stop this one.

My Vote: Revanche (2008)(Austria)

Only seen two films here. I liked Vals Im Bashir very much. But Revanche – what a sleeper of a film! Never thought this one would make it here and turn out so good. A film that I would like to compare with The Reader. This one stays with you long after the end credits roll. That is if you are game for it.

 

Best Documentary, Features

The Betrayal – Nerakhoon (2008): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath

Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog, Henry Kaiser

The Garden (2008/I): Scott Hamilton Kennedy

Man On Wire (2008): James Marsh, Simon Chinn

Trouble the Water (2008): Tia Lessin, Carl Deal

 

Academy’s Vote: Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog, Henry Kaiser

It would seem like the Academy would not award another eco-friendly documentary and give it to the unstoppable Man On Wire. But going by the reputation and long overdue recognition of Herzog (who was promoting the film at the Oscar meet), the Oscar may just go to Encounters at the End of the World.

My Vote: Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog, Henry Kaiser

I’ve seen only a couple of films here too. But an easy choice nevertheless. Encounters at the End of the World is my favorite film (along with In Bruges) of all those in the list and perhaps of the year too. There is no way I can stop myself from voting for and recommending this film. It’s a relentless and shattering exploration of human instincts that just wouldn’t leave you alone.

 

Predictions Tally: It looks like it is Slumdog Millionaire all the way. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ate up worthier nominees and in turn is going to be eaten up by the minnows. What a waste!

Slumdog Millionaire (7), WALL•E (2), The Dark Knight (2), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2), The Wrestler (1), Frozen River (1), Doubt (1) In Bruges (1), The Duchess (1), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (1), Encounters at the End of the World (1), Vals Im Bashir (1)

 

Watch this space for the results and comments on those! By the way, there is another set of awards being given away a day before The Oscars – The Independent Spirit Award. If you are a person who takes awards as recommendations, watch out for that one.

That’s it from the Road to the Oscars (RTTO) series from me. Hope we have a great year for cinema ahead.

Good Bye and Good Luck!

 

[Edit] The Results:

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Christian Colson

Best Actor: Sean Penn for Milk (2008)

Best Actress: Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)

Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Best Original Screenplay: Milk (2008): Dustin Lance Black

Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Simon Beaufoy

Best Director: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Best Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Editing: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Chris Dickens

Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo

Best Costume Design: The Duchess (2008): Michael O’Connor

Best Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Greg Cannom

Best Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman

Best Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty

Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight (2008): Richard King

Best Original Song: Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Gulzar(”Jai Ho”)

Best Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron

Best Foreign Language Film: Okuribito (2008)(Japan)

Best Animated Feature: WALL•E (2008): Andrew Stanton

Best Documentary feature: Man On Wire (2008): James Marsh, Simon Chinn

Best Documentary Short: Smile Pinki (2008) – Megan Mylan

Best Animated Short: Maison en petits cubes, La (2008) – Kunio Katô

Best Live Action Short: Spielzeugland (2007) – Jochen Alexander Freydank

 

Endnote: The Academy has been pretty safe afterall! Except for the odd snubs like Waltz with Bashir and Martin McDonagh, it has played considerably safe and comforming to the previous award ceremonies. Strange to see Asians all over the Kodak theater – more than the amount they were seen in the films of 2007. Whatever. Let’s hope there are some really good and worthy films next year.

oscarYes, the nominations are out and we have an interesting line up dominated by The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire with 13 and 10 nominations respectively. The Mozart from Madras A R Rahman gets 3 nominations – two for best original song and one for best original score. He may become just the third Indian after Bhanu Athaiya (Best Costume design , Gandhi (1982)) and Satyajit Ray (Honorary Oscar). Incidentally, another Indian, Resul Pookutty has also been nominated for the award in Best Sound Mixing category. 

 

Here is the complete list of nominees (courtesy: IMDB)

 

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Ceán Chaffin, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall

Frost/Nixon (2008): Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Eric Fellner

Milk (2008): Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks

The Reader (2008): Nominees to be determined

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Christian Colson

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Richard Jenkins for The Visitor (2007/I)

Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon (2008)

Sean Penn for Milk (2008)

Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Angelina Jolie for Changeling (2008)

Melissa Leo for Frozen River (2008)

Meryl Streep for Doubt (2008/I)

Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)

 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Josh Brolin for Milk (2008)

Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder (2008)

Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt (2008/I)

Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)

Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road (2008)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams for Doubt (2008/I)

Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Viola Davis for Doubt (2008/I)

Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler (2008)

 

Best Achievement in Directing

Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Stephen Daldry for The Reader (2008)

David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon (2008)

Gus Van Sant for Milk (2008)

 

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Frozen River (2008): Courtney Hunt

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008): Mike Leigh

In Bruges (2008): Martin McDonagh

Milk (2008): Dustin Lance Black

WALL·E (2008): Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Jim Reardon

 

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Roth, Robin Swicord

Doubt (2008/I): John Patrick Shanley

Frost/Nixon (2008): Peter Morgan

The Reader (2008): David Hare

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Simon Beaufoy

 

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Changeling (2008): Tom Stern

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Claudio Miranda

The Dark Knight (2008): Wally Pfister

The Reader (2008): Roger Deakins, Chris Menges

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Anthony Dod Mantle

 

Best Achievement in Editing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter

The Dark Knight (2008): Lee Smith

Frost/Nixon (2008): Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill

Milk (2008): Elliot Graham

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Chris Dickens

 

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Changeling (2008): James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo

The Dark Knight (2008): Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando

The Duchess (2008): Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway

Revolutionary Road (2008): Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt

 

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Australia (2008): Catherine Martin

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Jacqueline West

The Duchess (2008): Michael O’Connor

Milk (2008): Danny Glicker

Revolutionary Road (2008): Albert Wolsky

 

Best Achievement in Makeup

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Greg Cannom

The Dark Knight (2008): John Caglione Jr., Conor O’Sullivan

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008): Mike Elizalde, Thomas Floutz

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Alexandre Desplat

Defiance (2008): James Newton Howard

Milk (2008): Danny Elfman

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman

WALL·E (2008): Thomas Newman

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Gulzar(“Jai Ho”)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Maya Arulpragasam(“O Saya”)

WALL·E (2008): Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman(“Down to Earth”)

 

Best Achievement in Sound

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten

The Dark Knight (2008): Ed Novick, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty

WALL·E (2008): Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt

Wanted (2008): Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt

 

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

The Dark Knight (2008): Richard King

Iron Man (2008): Frank E. Eulner, Christopher Boyes

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Tom Sayers

WALL·E (2008): Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood

Wanted (2008): Wylie Stateman

 

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron

The Dark Knight (2008): Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Timothy Webber, Paul J. Franklin

Iron Man (2008): John Nelson, Ben Snow, Daniel Sudick, Shane Mahan

 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Bolt (2008): Chris Williams, Byron Howard

Kung Fu Panda (2008): John Stevenson, Mark Osborne

WALL·E (2008): Andrew Stanton

 

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008)(Germany)

Entre les murs (2008)(France)

Revanche (2008)(Austria)

Okuribito (2008)(Japan)

Vals Im Bashir (2008)(Israel)

 

Best Documentary, Features

The Betrayal – Nerakhoon (2008): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath

Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog, Henry Kaiser

The Garden (2008/I): Scott Hamilton Kennedy

Man on Wire (2008): James Marsh, Simon Chinn

Trouble the Water (2008): Tia Lessin, Carl Deal

 

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

The Conscience of Nhem En: Steven Okazaki

The Final Inch: Irene Taylor Brodsky, Tom Grant

Smile Pinki: Megan Mylan

The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306: Adam Pertofsky, Margaret Hyde

 

Best Short Film, Animated

La Maison en Petits Cubes: Kunio Kato

Ubornaya istoriya – lyubovnaya istoriya (2007): Konstantin Bronzit

Oktapodi (2007): Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand

Presto (2008): Doug Sweetland

This Way Up (2008): Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes

 

Best Short Film, Live Action

Auf der Strecke (2007): Reto Caffi

Manon sur le bitume (2007): Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont

New Boy (2007): Steph Green, Tamara Anghie

Grisen (2008): Tivi Magnusson, Dorthe Warnø Høgh

Spielzeugland (2007): Jochen Alexander Freydank

 

 

And as a part of this run up to the Oscars, I would like to present brief opinions on the films that are hogging the limelight this evening.  This will not be an exhaustive series by any chance, but will be trying to cover only the biggies.

Cheers

Road to the Oscars?

Road to the Oscars?

The official entries for the Academy Award have been made and as many as 67 countries are vying for the coveted award this year. Among the leading contenders for the nominations are Germany’s The Baader Meinhof Complex, Italy’s Gomorra, France’s Palm D’Or winner The Class, Iran’s The Song of Sparrows directed by Majid Majidi and Israel’s Waltz with Bashir. And the Italian entry is already making waves and being termed as one of the best crime dramas from the country.

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Verdict: