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January 22, 2009

"Benjamin Button" Leads Oscar Nominations

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All right movie fans, the Oscar nominations are out!  "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" leads the Oscar field with a total of thirteen nominations.  Among those star Brad Pitt was nominated for Best Actor, co-star Taraji P. Henson was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and the film was nominated for Best Picture.

Coming in second with ten nominations was the feel good movie set in the slums of Mumbai, "Slumdog Millionaire."  Though it didn't receive any acting nominations, it was singled out for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. 

Here are the major nominations:

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Hensen, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road 

Surprises:  

Kate Winslet was nominated for "The Reader" instead of "Revolutionary Road:"  Winslet was astounding in "Revolutionary Road" so I find this one surprising.

Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't nominated for "Revolutionary Road:"  Leo was robbed.

Clint Eastwood wasn't nominated for "Gran Torino:" Especially since Eastwood has reportedly said this is his last film and we know how Hollywood loves sentiment.  It's possible Eastwood was handicapped by some of the themes in the movie relating to race and gang violence.  Joanna Eng, guest posting for Racialicious has some fascinating thoughts on the film and race.

Richard Jenkins nominated for Best Actor for the little known film, "The Visitor:"  Jenkins is one of those actors whose face you know, but not usually his name.  His most recent prominent role that I know of was as the father in HBO's "Six Feet Under."  What a nice surprise for a veteran actor.

The top Oscar acting nominations almost exactly mirror the top Screen Actors Guild acting nominations:  In fact all the actors and actresses are exactly the same.  The only difference is Kate Winslet is nominated for a SAG for "Revolutionary Road," and she's nominated for an Oscar for "The Reader."

Things you can pretty much guarantee:

Best Actor is really between Brad Pitt, Frank Langella and Sean Penn

Best Actress is really between Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.  Though Anne Hathaway has a chance to sneak in there.

The late Heath Ledger is a lock for Best Supporting Actor for "Dark Knight." 

Some funny sidebars: On "The View" this morning, Whoopi Goldberg and the Gabby Girls were talking about the nominations and when they got to Frank Langella there were a few knowing chuckles from the audience.  You see, Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Langella used to be an item.  In fact they once lived together. 

So Whoopi admitted to that and then said, "Let's get it out of the way.  'Cause I know y'all know."  Barbara Walters then started to talk about the rest of the Best Actor nominees when Joy Behar interrupted and asked Whoopi "How many (of those) have you slept with?"

Director Ron Howard who's been nominated for "Frost/Nixon" was a guest later on in the show.  He talked about being nominated for Best Director. "It's a real thrill. It's not my first but what I'm learning is it never gets old."

He said when casting the film "Frost/Nixon," several Oscar winning actors sent him tapes on how they would play Nixon, but they begged him not to put them on YouTube.  Frank Langella was also being considered but the studio wanted a bigger name than Langella's fronting the film.  Howard said he always wanted Langella and after he won a Tony for the stage play he got pushed to the front of the casting list for the film.   

Some reaction in the blogosphere:

Over at Diary of An Anxious Black Woman, the ABW was very happy about two nominations:

Congratulations to two awesome sistas - Viola Davis (pictured left) and Taraji Henson (right) - who were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress for their respective roles in Doubt (See My Review) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Julie at Julie on Film was a little shocked:

Biggest shock of the morning! Hugest gasp! The rug was pulled out from under the female acting races when Kate Winslet was left off the Supporting Actress list, but then her bid for The Reader bumped out her bid for Revolutionary Road. Shocking. Absolutely stunning.

The Hollywood Dame made note of the fact that it's a year to the day since Heath Ledger died:

It is bittersweet that his role in “The Dark Knight” as the Joker has earned him an Oscar nomination. Today, a year later, friends and family are still grieving and healing. Let’s hope that this recognition can give them something to further their pride in Heath and provide a small light to focus on.

You can see the complete Academy Award nominees list on the Oscar website.  The 81st annual Academy Awards will air on February 22nd on ABC.

Before the Oscars though, we have the Screen Actors Guild Awards coming up this Sunday, January 25 on TNT and TBS.   I'll have a live blog of the show posted on Monday.

Cross Posted From BlogHer

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