Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reflections on the Oscar Nominations

While still reeling with mixed feelings about the 80th Academy Award nominations announced yesterday, I feel compelled to document my reactions. After all, what do you expect from a confirmed movie addict like me?

Yes, I’m excited about three of my top ten films of 2007 (“Michael Clayton,” “Juno,” “There Will Be Blood”) earning nominations as Best Picture, and I’m very happy Alan Menken received three – count ‘em three – nods for his delightful “Enchanted” songs. But I can’t believe the Academy voters snubbed Angelina Jolie’s terrific lead performance in “A Mighty Heart.” What were they thinking? Although four of the nominees in that category (Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard), deserve Oscar recognition, I think Jolie should have Laura Linney’s spot. Linney is always reliable and sometimes even brilliant, but her excellent work in “The Savages” can’t compare with Jolie’s superb acting as the widow of a murdered journalist.

Other nominations that both pleased and surprised me include: the legendary Ruby Dee for her supporting role in “American Gangster,” Tommy Lee Jones as Best Actor for “In the Valley of Elah,” “Ratatouille,” an animated movie, for original screenplay.

As the world’s most avid movie musical fan, I’m disappointed, of course, because “Hairspray” received no nominations. However, I wasn’t predicting any. (I still think it’s the best and most entertaining movie of 2007.) And, speaking of predictions, it looks like a close race between “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” in the Best Picture category. These films tied with the most nominations – 8 each. My only predictions right now? Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor for his complete transformation into a ruthless oil tycoon in the latter film and Javier Bardem will walk away with the Best Supporting Actor statuette for portraying the most menacing villain of the year in the former movie.

And now a word about my favorite actor, Johnny Depp. It’s wonderful to see his name in the Best Actor category, but I would prefer it to be for something other than “Sweeney Todd.” Don’t worry, Johnny, I still love you.

We’ll find out who wins in all categories on February 24.

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