Until Death Do Us Part - Jonas

Selasa, Februari 17, 2009

#124.Oscar buzz amid gloom

This year’s batch of movies nominated for the Academy Awards collectively strikes a more uplifting chord, or at least a more introspective one, write BROOKS BARNES and DAVID CARR.

THE nominations for the 81st annual Academy Awards, which will be held on Feb 22 and hosted by actor Hugh Jackman, have lined up Big Hollywood against Little Hollywood, with a sprawling studio movie squaring off against an unusual independent film.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the US$150 million (RM525 million) Paramount Pictures film starring Brad Pitt as a man ageing backward, picked up 13 nominations, including ones for Best Picture and Best Director.

Close behind with 10 nods, also including ones for Best Picture and Director, was Slumdog Millionaire, a Fox Searchlight entry that was filmed on a relative shoestring budget (US$15 million), had an unknown lead and was presented partly in Hindi.

Unlike last year’s competition, when a lineup of films bleak in tone and world view dominated, this year’s batch collectively strikes a more uplifting chord, or at least a more introspective one.
Other Best Picture nominees included Frost/Nixon from Universal Pictures and Milk, a Focus Features release that zeroes in on the struggle for gay rights.

“After all of the doom and gloom, and at this moment in our culture, people were perhaps looking for films that were a little different and a little more meaningful,” said Michael London, executive producer of Milk.

It received eight nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Sean Penn. The showing was a comeback for the film, which the fluffier Golden Globes had mostly ignored.

But by far the biggest coup was pulled off by the Weinstein Company with The Reader, a Holocaust-themed film focusing on a German woman with a dark secret, which grabbed the other Best Picture slot.

The Reader showed surprising strength, muscling past behemoths like The Dark Knight in the top category and securing nominations for Best Actress (Kate Winslet), Best Director (Stephen Daldry), Best Adapted Screenplay (David Hare) and Best Cinematography (Chris Menges and Roger Deakins).

Harvey Weinstein had pushed for the film to be eligible this year over objections of his erstwhile producing partner Scott Rudin, which motivated Rudin to remove his name from the movie.

The picture Rudin had been trumpeting, Revolutionary Road fared poorly, receiving only one nod in the major categories, a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Michael Shannon’s portrayal of a clear-eyed mental patient.

As always, the Oscars have the power to catapult a niche film into the mainstream and rewrite Hollywood’s pecking order. Rocketing to the top from that list were Richard Jenkins, nominated for his starring role in The Visitor, and Melissa Leo, who was nominated for Best Actress as a woman living in rural despair in the little-seen Frozen River. Each is a first-time nominee.

Leo got the news while at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, where she is doubling up in a hotel room to cut expenses. She said the Oscar buzz could help her land even better roles.

“The door already got cracked open because of the accolades for Frozen River,” she said, but thanks to the Oscar nomination, “it might just open wide, and I will go carefully and try to choose wisely and, oh, just be so happy.”

Jenkins, who at first thought his son-in-law’s father was playing a joke on him when he called to offer congratulations, said he had no idea what effect the nomination will have on his career.

“I’m 61; Brad’s not going to have to move over,” he said with a laugh, referring to his fellow Best Actor nominees.

Hollywood will be just as interested in upsets, of course, and there were a few. Clint Eastwood was not nominated for Best Actor (and his Gran Torino was shut out). Christopher Nolan failed to gain attention for his direction of The Dark Knight, and Bruce Springsteen’s composition The Wrestler was not nominated for Best Song.

That Winslet was nominated as Best Atress was not a surprise, but there were gasps in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater when the recognition came for her role in The Reader and not for her turn as an unhappy housewife in Revolutionary Road.

The blockbusters The Dark Knight and Wall-E, both considered to have good shots for Best Picture nominations, had to make do with nods in secondary categories, though Wall-E was nominated for Best Animated Film and for its original screenplay, a stunning feat for a picture with very little dialogue.

Heath Ledger was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Dark Knight.

Among the surprises, Robert Downey Jr was nominated for his comedic turn in Tropic Thunder as a self-absorbed Australian method actor who undergoes pigment alteration to play a black soldier. And in a first for the foreign-language category, attention went to an animated film, Waltz With Bashir.

Still, most of the nominations were expected. Mickey Rourke, whose portrayal of an over-the-hill athlete in The Wrestler has already won him a wheelbarrow-full of accolades, including a Golden Globe, received a Best Actor nomination.

He will square off against Penn, Jenkins, Pitt and Frank Langella, noted for his depiction of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon.

Winslet has made much of her failure to win an Oscar despite years of critically acclaimed work and multiple nominations. She’s even joked about it, on an episode of the television series Extras a few years back.

Joining Winslet and Leo in the Best Actress category are Meryl Streep, who earned her 15th nomination (she has won twice) for her portrayal of a harsh nun in Doubt; Anne Hathaway, nominated for her role as a recovering drug addict in Rachel Getting Married; and Angelina Jolie, singled out for playing a mother searching for her son in Changeling.

Gus Van Sant, nominated for his direction of Milk, struck the cool I-didn’t-realise-nominations-were-this-morning pose. “I wasn’t that attuned to the thing. My reactions don’t bend to the gameshow style of screaming and jumping up and down.”

Another nominee for Milk, Dustin Lance Black for Original Screenplay, was not quite so put together. “The tears started when I saw that Gus was nominated, and the meltdown built from there.

“I’m just so grateful and hopeful this will get the movie’s message out to a wider audience.” he said.

What the ceremony itself will look like is also unclear, with producers promising to inject more frivolity into the proceedings to combat sinking television ratings but, so far, keeping details to themselves.

The awards show is set for broadcast on the morning of Feb 23 in Malaysia. — NYT

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan

Catat Ulasan

Layar Reader

Layar Komuniti II

Empunya Diri

Foto saya
Nature Luver, Movie Buff, Bookworm, Photogeek, Bread Krazy,

Layar Frenz I

Layar Subscribe

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to My AOL

Subscribe in Bloglines

Layar Frenz II

Layar Community

  ©Layar 2009 Template by Our Blogger Templates

Back to TOP