The nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards were announced today, and aside from an insane comedy like Tropic Thunder actually being recognized for once and a strong showing from the little-seen Frozen River, the Academy seemed to play it very safe, giving 13 nominations to David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a really good movie that’s also right in Oscar’s wheelhouse.
Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire came in second with 10 nods, Gus Van Sant’s Milk nabbed 8 after being mostly ignored by the Golden Globes, and rounding out the Best Picture category are The Reader and Frost/Nixon, with 5 nods each.
The Dark Knight got its expected Best Supporting Actor nomination for Heath Ledger on the anniversary of his death, and while fans are disappointed that it didn’t break the Best Picture barrier for a comic book movie, they should really keep in mind that a Batman movie actually got nominated for non-technical Oscars. This is a wall broken.
Among the notable snubs – Revolutionary Road, for which Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, only got one nomination among the big six, and that was the surprise appearance of Michael Shannon as Best Supporting Actor.
Kate will be fine, though, as she’s in the Best Actress category with The Reader, and she has the momentum to finally bring the big prize home this year. Clint Eastwood’s highly entertaining grizzle-fest Gran Torino was also completely shut out, although his Changeling got 3 nods (including one for Angelina Jolie) and surprisingly enough, Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wrestler,” which won the Golden Globes, didn’t make the cut, in favor of two songs from Slumdog Millionaire.
Globe winner Sally Hawkins didn’t make it in, but her film Happy-Go-Lucky earned itself a screenplay nod.
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Screenplay
Best Animated Film
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Documentary (Short Subject)
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306
Best Art Direction
James J. Murakami & Gary Fettis, Changeling
Donald Graham Burt & Victor J. Zolfo, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Nathan Crowley & Peter Lando, The Dark Knight
Michael Carlin & Rebecca Alleway, The Duchess
Kristi Zea & Debra Schutt, Revolutionary Road
Best Costume Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects
Best Original Score
Best Original Song
Best Animated Short
La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory – Lovestory
This Way Up
Best Live-Action Short
Auf Der Strecke (On The Line)
Manon on the Asphalt