81st Academy Awards


Well-Known Member
Jan 19, 2007

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire


Best Director
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant – Milk

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

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

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

Best Original Screenplay
WALL-E - Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter
Happy-Go-Lucky - Mike Leigh
Frozen River - Courtney Hunt
In Bruges - Martin McDonagh
Milk - Dustin Lance Black

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
Frost/Nixon - Peter Morgan
The Reader - David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire - Simon Beaufoy
Doubt - John Patrick Shanley

Best Animated Feature
Bolt – Chris Williams and Byron Howard
Kung Fu Panda – Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
WALL-E – Andrew Stanton

Best Foreign Language Film
Revanche (Austria) in German
The Class (France) in French
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany) in German
Departures (Japan) in Japanese
Waltz with Bashir (Israel) in Hebrew

Best Animated Short
La Maison En Petits Cubes - Kunio Kato
Lavatory - Lovestory - Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi - Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
Presto - Doug Sweetland
This Way Up - Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best Art Direction
Changeling – James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
The Dark Knight – Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
The Duchess – Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
Revolutionary Road – Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt

Best Cinematography
Changeling – Tom Stern
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Claudio Miranda
The Dark Knight – Wally Pfister
The Reader – Chris Menges, Roger Deakins
Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Costume Design
Australia – Catherine Martin
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Jacqueline West
The Duchess – Michael O'Connor
Milk – Danny Glicker
Revolutionary Road – Albert Wolsky

Best Documentary Feature
Nerakhoon (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

Best Documentary Short
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306

Best Film Editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
The Dark Knight – Lee Smith
Frost/Nixon – Mike Hill, Daniel P. Hanley
Milk – Elliot Graham
Slumdog Millionaire – Chris Dickens

Best Live Action Short
On the Line (Auf der Strecke)
Manon On the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Toyland (Spielzeugland)

Best Makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Greg Cannom
The Dark Knight – John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan
Hellboy II: The Golden Army – Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Alexandre Desplat
Defiance – James Newton Howard
Milk – Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire – A.R. Rahman
WALL-E – Thomas Newman

Best Original Song
"Down to Earth" from WALL-E – Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman (music), Peter Gabriel (lyrics)
"Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman (music), Gulzar (lyrics)
"O Saya" from Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best Sound Editing
The Dark Knight – Richard King
Iron Man – Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
Slumdog Millionaire – Tom Sayers
WALL-E – Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
Wanted – Wylie Stateman

Best Sound Mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten
The Dark Knight – Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
Slumdog Millionaire – Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
WALL-E – Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt
Wanted – Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt

Best Visual Effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
The Dark Knight – Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin
Iron Man – John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan

The 81st Academy Awards ceremony will honor the best films of 2008 and is scheduled for Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. It will be televised in the United States on ABC. Australian performer Hugh Jackman is set to host the ceremony for the first time. Academy Award nominated producer Laurence Mark has been tapped to produce and Academy Award winner writer/director Bill Condon to executive produce. The expected SAG actors strike is unlikely to affect the awards ceremony. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leads the nominations with a total of 13 nominations. Slumdog Millionaire received ten nominations, Milk and The Dark Knight received eight nominations and The Reader and Frost/Nixon received five nominations apiece. The animated film WALL·E received six nominations, tying it with Beauty and The Beast for the most nominated animated film.

The nominees for the 81st Academy Awards were announced live on Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC) by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis and Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy's Beverly Hills headquarters. The winners are to be announced during the awards ceremony scheduled to take place on February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. Jerry Lewis will be honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Reactions were diverse; some pronounced the Oscar nominations this year to be surprising, particularly at Kate Winslet's sole nomination for The Reader, and not for the expected film Revolutionary Road. Nominations for Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road and Viola Davis for Doubt were also met with surprise, as both have under ten minutes of screen time. Furthermore, the Academy has been heavily accused of snubbing WALL-E and The Dark Knight, both of which were considered contenders for Best Picture nominations. Both films were also expected to receive a nomination for Best Director. Wall-E (96% positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes) and The Dark Knight (94% positive reviews in Rotten Tomatoes) scored equally, usually higher, than most of the five films selected by the Academy for Best Picture, especially The Reader, which received only lukewarm reviews from nearly all major film critics and review sites.
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Best Picture
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Actor
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best Actress
Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actor
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Best Supporting Actress
No clue really.

Best Original Screenplay
In Bruges - Martin McDonagh

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Eric Roth and Robin Swicord

Best Animated Feature
WALL-E – Andrew Stanton

These are the ones I would like to see win though I think Milk might upset some of the categories.
I'll probably watch them, but I'm not expecting much. Unfortunately, I was unable to see Slumdog Millionaire a couple of weeks ago when it was playing in my theater - but, AMC is doing a promotion when they're showing all five Best Picture contenders in one day for only $30 dollars, and assuming it's not on a school day (fingers crossed!) I will DEFINITELY be doing that.

On the plus side, I did see Revolutionary Road today, and it was an amazing, fantastic film. On the minus side, Leo DiCaprio gave the performance of his career, and Brad Pitt has been nominated in his place :sick: I mean, Pitt's not a terrible actor (he was excellent in Babel), and I haven't seen BB so who knows, maybe he's better. But I somehow doubt it.

I'm very happy that Shannon was nominated, though. He was superb. I almost want to give him the win over Ledger, just because he managed to make such an impact with so little screen time.

I should also be getting The Visitor from Netflix any day now, so I'm looking forward to that. I don't know though, is it just me, or do none of these movies scream "instant classic" or "masterpiece" like, say, No Country for Old Men did last year? I obviously say this without having seen the vast majority of them, but aside from Slumdog, they all seem to be getting rather lukewarm responses. Oh well. I suppose I'll list my hopefuls after I've seen the best picture contenders, assuming of course that I do sometime in the near future.
It is just a shame that if Heath did win the award, there would be so many people saying "Oh he got it because he died", not because of his awesome performance.
Well, I did it. I was up at the theatre for approximately 13.5 hours yesterday just watching all of the nominees for Best Picture. It was quite an experience, and I'll definitely be doing it next year. The only real drawback was that the movies started sort of running together by the end, so that by the time I'd seen four of them and was watching the movie trivia that plays in-between films, I was thinking, "Well, Benjamin Button may have contacted Levi's to authenticate their clothing for the time period, but they used a modern edition of The Odyssey during the 1940's! Major goof!"

The Odyssey, by the by, was used only in The Reader.

But that's neither here nor there. Here's my thoughts on the movies, in the order I saw them; bear in mind I hadn't seen any of these films before yesterday, so I'm still kind of reeling and collecting my thoughts.

MILK - An excellent film. Much better than I thought it would be. Sean Penn is fantastic, and unlike in most of his flashier "Look, ma, I'm acting!" performances, this one actually felt pretty realistic. All of the supporting players were great, especially Josh Brolin, even if his character was underdeveloped. And that leads me to the film's weakest point - I really felt it could have spent more time on Dan White, the person who killed Harvey Milk (I'm not spoilerizing this as (a) it's a real-life, pretty major event that you probably already know about if you're interested in the movie, and (b) it's "revealed" in the first minutes of the movie, so really you're supposed to know going in that he's assassinated); his character is never really revealed - he's kept at such a distance that there's no real emotional resonance when he finally snaps. Josh Brolin's great performance saves it, but frankly, it's a weak point. Otherwise, though, great movie.

THE READER - Ah, The Reader. The movie that took The Dark Knight's spot. For a film everyone seems to hate, it wasn't really all that bad. The first and last thirds of the movie seem to drag on, but for that middle third, it's actually a very good movie. Kate Winslet is excellent, and probably deserves a win, although I say that without having seen Rachel Getting married or Doubt, her two biggest adversaries. All in all, it's easily the weakest of the nominees (and also the most sexually explicit), but it's not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON - The fact that Jon Stewart couldn't get through the name of this movie without snoring worried me, but it was actually quite good. I think it was Robert Osborne who said this movie needed to be seen on the big screen in order to be appreciated, and I have to agree; it's very much in the vein of those old Hollywood epics like Lawrence of Arabia (though not as good). And the special effects are outstanding, though it's hard to tell how much was makeup and how much was CGI. It's a great film; my favorite scene was the one leading up to
Daisy getting hit by the taxi
; those who have seen it will understand.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE - Very good. Not fantastic, but very good nonetheless. Never falls into that schlocky territory of "everything goes right for the main character," because it doesn't. It also asks interesting moral questions - for example, his brother is an unbearable ******* for most of the movie, but
redeems himself in the end by letting Latika go and sacrificing himself so she could get away (and intercutting Jamal winning the 20 million with his brother getting shot to death in a tub full of money? Brilliant.) By the way, is it just me, or could they not decide how to pronounce Latika? Sometimes it was Lat-ee-ka, and sometimes it was Lat-ih-ka. O well.
. My biggest problem with the movie was the false sense of tension it tried to establish; I didn't understand how we were supposed to feel any emotion at all during the question sessions, because we are told in the first seconds of the movie that he gets it right. Why are we supposed to suddenly worry about him getting a question right when we already know he does? For example, when the host
tells him the "right answer," I got the impression we as an audience were supposed to be on the edge of our seats. But we know he gets it right.
But that's a minor complaint. It is a great movie.

FROST/NIXON - When I saw that we would be watching Frost/Nixon last, I heaved a huge sigh (figuratively speaking, of course). I was looking forward to it least, and I would have to stay at the theatre until nearly midnight to see it? I seriously considered just skipping it altogether. Luckily, I stayed, because it was fantastic. Here was a movie that achieved was Slumdog, as good as it was, couldn't: I knew how it would end. I knew how it all had to play out in the end. But it was still incredibly intense, probably because of the two amazing actors, Michael Sheen and Frank Langella (indeed, that was the other big problem with Slumdog - the acting was almost uniformly mediocre). I don't give Frank Langella my win, but he was excellent, and it's a shame Michael Sheen wasn't nominated for at least supporting actor (or even actor - really, anyone could take Pitt's place in that category. He was nothing particularly special). All in all a really good movie.

So, perhaps surprisingly, all of them were good movies. Indeed, I'd say that the category this year is, as a whole, much better than last year's (which had the resolutely annoying Juno, the barely-above-mediocre Michael Clayton, and the good-but-flawed There Will be Blood). Of course, whatever wins this year, nothing is even on the same level as No Country for Old Men, which is an absolute masterpiece and nearly flawless.

Here's how I would order them, by the by:

  1. Milk
  2. Frost/Nixon
  3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  4. Slumdog Millionaire
  5. The Reader

But they're all excellent. Oh, and after having seen all of the Best Actor nominees as well, Richard Jenkins is still my win, but if anyone but Pitt wins I'll be extremely happy.
I've only seen Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

I loved them both, but I liked Benjamin Button more.
I don't understand RDJ's nomination for Tropic Thunder. He had a good performance, but seriously, it wasn't really anything spectacular. He played a funny caricature, but I honestly think that anybody could do what he did (act like a black dude for the whole movie).
Ah, but could just anyone be the dude playin' the dude disguised as another dude? :D

I do see where you're coming from, though, but I just think he brought a peculiar energy to the role that no one else could have, all the while being not only completely convincing but also completely hilarious (to take an example from the film, could you see Ben Stiller doing what RDJ did? Or for that matter, any of the other nominees in the category? You might could make an argument for Josh Brolin, but as for the rest, though all great actors, I don't think they could've pulled off the role half as well as RDJ did).

To be honest, I can't decide between RDJ, Ledger, and Shannon for the win. I mean, we all know that Ledger will win, but if any of those three found their names called out tonight, I would be pleased.
That's pretty awesome, VFD. I wish my cinema would do something like that.

This is on in about three hours, correct?
Heath Ledger wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Anyone else who's watching enjoyed Jackman's performances? I've thought it's been all great.
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Slumdog Millionaire isn't doing too bad. :)
I think they've won about every award nominated. They are sure cleaning house.

I'm guessing they'll win BEST PICTURE, too.
Well deserved. Magnificent, inspiring film.
Generally I don't really care about Oscars but my professor for Film as Art, who is a professional critic, always goes off on a little rant whenever the subject of Batman or the Oscars comes up. He always states "The Reader is the best movie and the Dark Knight isn't?" Just kind of nice to hear a professional who loves movies and can really look at them objectively as oppose to some nerd on the internet who will never get laid.
Kate Winslett just won her Oscar for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"! How wonderful!

I wonder what great performances will be stepped over to give Anne Hathaway the Oscar she deserved for "Rachel Getting Married"?

For more on the phenomena, read this great column from MCN.
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I really didn't enjoy the show this year. The awards were pretty much spot on, with only a few places where I deferred from the academy, (Micky Rourke, for example) it was just missing something, and kind of felt like a waste of my time.

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