The 2009 Oscar Nominations

The 81st Annual Academy Award nominations have been announced with a few surprises and some glaring omissions.

‘Best Film’ played it safe – though four (Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Slumdog) were pretty much locked, that fifth slot many were hoping the Academy would go for something acclaimed but more risky or mainstream than they usually go for like “The Wrestler” “Revolutionary Road” or “The Dark Knight”. Instead they opted for the little seen but very Academy-friendly Weinstein-produced vehicle “The Reader”.

In fact that trio of films (Wrestler, Road, Knight) were awkwardly missing in some other key areas like director and screenplay, though all got acting noms and ‘Knight’ in particular scored a lot of technical nods.

In sheer number of nominations “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” lead the way with thirteen; followed by “Slumdog Millionaire” with ten; “The Dark Knight” and “Milk” with eight; “Wall-E” with six; “Frost/Nixon”, “Doubt” and “The Reader” with five.

Notable omissions and strangeness – “Gran Torino” “Che” “I’ve Loved You So Long” not getting any major nominations. “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” only scoring a nom for Cruz, “Happy-Go-Lucky” scoring a best script but not a best actress nomination, “In Bruges” only getting a screenplay nom, and “Gomorra” missing out on Best Foreign Language Film.

One very welcome surprise was Michael Shannon, the actor who has essentially been ignored by most of the other critics and guilds getting a nomination for his brilliant supporting turn in “Revolutionary Road” (as I said in the first part of my Best Films of 2008 list).

Here’s the complete list:

BEST PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Richard Jenkins (“The Visitor”)
Frank Langella (“Frost/Nixon”)
Sean Penn (“Milk”)
Brad Pitt (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”)
Mickey Rourke (“The Wrestler”)

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Anne Hathaway (“Rachel Getting Married”)
Angelina Jolie (“Changeling”)
Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”)
Meryl Streep (“Doubt”)
Kate Winslet (“The Reader”)

DIRECTING
David Fincher (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”)
Ron Howard (“Frost/Nixon”)
Gus Van Sant (“Milk”)
Stephen Daldry (“The Reader”)
Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Josh Brolin (“Milk”)
Robert Downey Jr. (“Tropic Thunder”)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Doubt”)
Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight”)
Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams (“Doubt”)
Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”)
Viola Davis (“Doubt”)
Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”)
Marisa Tomei (“The Wrestler”)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhoff Complex
Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz With Bashir

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
“Wall-E”

SCREENPLAY (Adapted)
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Doubt”
“Frost/Nixon”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire””

SCREENPLAY (Original)
“Frozen River”

“Happy-Go-Lucky”

“In Bruges”

“Milk”

“Wall-E”

ART DIRECTION
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

COSTUME DESIGN
“Australia”
”The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
”The Duchess”
”Milk”
”Revolutionary Road”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
”Encounters at the End of the World”
”The Garden”
”Man on Wire”
”Trouble the Water”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
”The Final Inch”
”Smile Pinki
”The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306″

FILM EDITING
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
“Slumdog Millionaire”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Beaufort”
“The Counterfeiters”
“Katyn”
“Mongol”
“12”

MAKEUP
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
”The Dark Knight”
”Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

MUSIC (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”

MUSIC (SONG)
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E”
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire”

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
“La Maison en Petits Cubes”
”Lavatory — Lovestory”
”Oktapodi”
”Presto”
”This Way Up”

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
”Manon on the Asphalt”
”New Boy”
”The Pig”
”Spielzeugland (Toyland)”

SOUND EDITING
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

SOUND MIXING
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“‘WALL-E”
“Wanted”

VISUAL EFFECTS
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”