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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What are your thoughts on the Oscar nominations?

The nominees for the 81st annual Academy Awards were announced this morning — get the full list here.

What are your thoughts on the Oscar nominations?

I’m stunned that I’m not stunned by any of the nominations. Usually there’s at least one outlier that makes you go, What? Really? And the only nomination that comes even close is Melissa Leo for Best Actress for Frozen River. Not that she doesn’t deserve it — I’m just a bit surprised that she wasn’t forgotten.

But the rest of the nominations? It’s yet another year in which the Oscars play it safe… and there’s nothing surprising about that at all.



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  • MBI

    Goddamn, Academy. “The Dark Knight,” “Wall-E” — two of the biggest movies of the year, impossibly popular and yet also dark and complex and rapturously acclaimed — fuck, it’s a present dropped in your lap.

    But no, by all means, pick the safest and most boring pics you can find. Why honor “The Dark Knight” when you can honor mediocre ethnic uplift stories and other middlebrow crap?

  • Markyd

    I’m with you on this. Everything just seems so…safe.
    “lets nominate Meryl Streep! Because she’s Meryl Streep!”
    Ugh.
    I was hoping to see Wall-E under Best pic noms, but I should have known better.
    I want to see Slumdog, but can’t convince the wife to go.
    At this point I can’t say I’ll be watching this year. I just don’t care that much.

  • Kate

    Some disappointmentS:

    1. Winslet going up against Streep for Best Actress.
    2. Wasn’t Winslet slated to be (deservedly) nominated for both Best Actress (Revolutionary Road) AND Best Supporting Actress (The Reader)? Since when did her part in The Reader make its way from Supporting to Best?
    3. No Revolutionary Road for Best Picture at all. And many other nominations it deserves.

  • Ryan

    The only two things I wished for came true.

    1. Slumdog Millionaire gets lots and lots of love. It did. 10 Nominations!

    2. Kate Winslet is not snubbed completely. And she didn’t. Of course I expected two nominations, but one is definitely better than none.

  • Liz

    There were a few things about this round of nominees:

    1. I am glad that Slumdog Millionaire got the love it did from the Academy, it was truly an amazing movie. (In the Best Pic. Race I will be rooting for it)

    2. Although I would have love WALL·E to get a Best pic nomination, I wasn’t surprise it was in the Animation category, because the Academy is not that bold, and has an inherent bias against animated movies, despite the fact it was one of the most critically acclaimed movie of this year. (I hope that it wins multiple awards though)

    3. I am going to watch the Oscars, still…

  • MBI

    I’m sorry, maybe I’m spoiled by back-to-back Oscars for “The Departed” and “No Country for Old Men,” but this reads like the worst crop of Oscar nominations ever, especially compared with last year. Last year our Best Picture nominees had not only “No Country” and “There Will Be Blood,” but also the surprisingly complex “Atonement,” the surprisingly complex last half of “Juno,” and the not-at-all-complex-but-had-the-decency-to-fake-it “Michael Clayton.” There’s nothing at all dark or interesting about this year’s Best Pic nominees (I assume, having not seen “The Reader”), especially the frontrunner “Slumdog Millionaire,” which is not much more than a cute kid’s movie (and not as cute as the far smarter “Wall-E,” I note). Shouldn’t we, the moviegoers, be embarrassed by the critical praise for “Slumdog Millionaire”? Seriously, we’re going to anoint that as one of the best movie of the year? Why not “Karate Kid” next?

  • Where’s Clint Eastwood’s Best Song nomination for Gran Torino!?!

  • Ryan

    Shouldn’t we, the moviegoers, be embarrassed by the critical praise for “Slumdog Millionaire”? Seriously, we’re going to anoint that as one of the best movie of the year?

    No. And yes.

  • Spencer

    Honestly, I was floored by Robert Downey, Jr. for Tropic Thunder. That didn’t seem “safe,” to me.

    But for the rest of it, ditto.

  • MBI (Thu Jan 22 09, 12:43PM):

    Shouldn’t we, the moviegoers, be embarrassed by the critical praise for “Slumdog Millionaire”? Seriously, we’re going to anoint that as one of the best movie of the year? Why not “Karate Kid” next?

    Don’t be ridiculous, The Karate Kid came out in 1984. It isn’t even eligible!

    Slumdog Millionaire was really good, but I wouldn’t pick it as my favorite this year, not with Synecdoche, NY, The Wrestler and The Dark Knight out there. Meh, fuck awards shows anyway.

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