With today’s announcement of the Oscar nominations, we are now down to one question: will it be Slumdog Millionaire or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for Best Picture? For an awards season that became predictable, the Academy threw a few wrenches into everyone’s predictions. For example, The Dark Knight was shut out of all major categories, save for Heath Ledger’s unstoppable nod for Best Supporting Actor. Kate Winslet got her nomination, but for The Reader, and in the Best Actress category, instead of Supporting Actress (where she won a Golden Globe for the same role). Meanwhile, you gotta hand it to Harvey Weinstein, who managed to get The Reader a boatload of unexpected nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. Other surprises: Michael Shannon, who I just spotted last night at a screening in Park City, earned a Supporting Actor nomination for his brief but terrific role in Revolutionary Road. Speaking of brief, Viola Davis garnered a nod for her one-scene wonder in Doubt.
The big Dramatic Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance last year, Frozen River, pulled in two major nominations: Best Actress (Melissa Leo) and Best Original Screenplay. The Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner last year, Trouble The Water, is joined by fellow Sundance 2008 alums Man On Wire and The Betrayal in the Best Documentary Feature category. The other nominees in this section are Encounters At The End of the World by Werner Herzog and Scott Kennedy’s sleeper festival favorite, The Garden. In the Foreign Language category, it was all business as usual, except for one notable snub: longtime Oscar veteran Jan Troell’s Everlasting Moments. Other eyebrow-raising snubs included: Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed performance in Gran Turino, Sally Hawkins’s Best Actress hopes for Happy-Go-Lucky, Bruce Springsteen left off of Best Song for The Wrestler, and after weeks of controversy, The Dark Knight did not receive a nomination for Best Score. Despite all the hoopla over 2008’s biggest blockbuster, and its Oscar chances, it appears the Academy had little love for Batman.