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Tony’s 2008 Oscar Nominations & Winners

by Tony Medley

Some things don’t seem to change. Once again the Oscars® have nominated films most normal movie-goers would view as unworthy, which is why most people watch the Oscars® to see what the women are wearing (the main reason I watch). The idea of a “best” is that it be entertaining. But Oscar® eschews the importance of entertainment in making its evaluations for its awards. It’s getting so that all one need do to qualify for a nomination is produce a film that fits into Hollywood’s political slant. Hence we have “Milk,” which is an embarrassingly fawning homage to a leftwing politician without a hint of evenhandedness. Then there’s “Frost/Nixon,” a medieval vilification of Richard Nixon by leftwing director Ron Howard. Normal moviegoers have stayed away from both in droves.

Mediocrity, too, is still rewarded. Last year, “Little Miss Sunshine” got the nod over two films, “Thank You for Smoking” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” that were so superior to “Sunshine,” it was stunning. This year “Slumdog Millionaire” pales in comparison with “Frozen River,” “Smart People,” “The Wrestler,” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” to name just four basically ignored Indies that come to mind without thinking too hard that are far superior. Of those actually nominated, only “The Reader” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” are Oscar®-quality.

The best category this year is Best Supporting Actress, with Best Director not far behind. All the nominees deserve the Oscar®. Awards shows are goofy in any event. At the BAFTA, “Slumdog” was nominated for “Best British Picture, but lost out to “Man on a Wire.” Then BAFTA turned around and named “Slumdog” best picture of the year. How can a British film be “Best Picture” but not “Best British Picture?”

Here’s the way I would have nominated (since they are my nominations, I’m not limited to five). My winner is indicated by an asterisk:


Best Original Screenplay

Daniel Taplitz (Chaos Theory)

*Mark Poirier (Smart People)

Courtney Hunt (Frozen River)

Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

J. Michael Stracynski (Changeling)


Best Adapted Screenplay

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)

*David Hare (The Reader)

Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Sergei Bodrov & Arif Aliyev (Mongol)

Jeremy Brock and Andrew Davies (Brideshead Revisited)


Best Supporting Actor

Jason Butler Harner (Changeling)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)

*Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder)

Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder)


Best Supporting Actress

Kristin Scott Thomas (The Other Boleyn Girl)

Misty Upham (Frozen River)

Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

Amy Ryan (Changeling)

*Amy Adams (Doubt)

Viola Davis (Doubt)


Best Actor

Dennis Quaid (Smart People)

Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

*Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Sean Penn (Milk)


Best Actress

Angelina Jolie (Changeling)

Amy Adams (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day)

Melissa Leo (Frozen River)

*Keira Knightley (The Duchess)

Meryl Streep (Doubt)

Kate Winslet (The Reader)


Best Director

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)

Courtney Hunt (Frozen River)

Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

Clint Eastwood (Changeling)

*Saul Dibb (The Duchess)

David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Stephen Daldry (The Reader)


Best Movie


The Dark Knight

Frozen River

*The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Reader

The Duchess

Vicky Cristina Barcelona