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Snap Judgment: The 2008 Oscar Nominations

The Oscars ceremony simply must go on. When else am I ever going to see Michael Cera in a tux?

Seriously, though. Now that I've seen the nominees the Academy plucked for this year's awards, I'll be truly upset if the strike keeps actors and writers from attending the show. Some of my favorite films of the year got major nominations, while others were recognized in smaller (but still significant) ways. Overall, the nominations feel spread out, with seven films receiving four or more nominations each. There's also quite a range in tone, from bleak (There Will Be Blood) to delightful (Juno). There are quite a few categories where I'd feel satisfied no matter who won, and that's rare for any awards show.

Here are a few of my other thoughts on the nominees:

  • Of course, I have to celebrate the nominations for Juno, my top movie of '07. Ellen Page pulled off what could have been a cheesy or simply unbelievable role in less adept hands, and Diablo Cody's screenplay shined. It gets notice for its witty language, but beneath those tricks, it was purely a great story.
  • Speaking of which: This is the first time three of the Best Original Screenplay nominees have been penned by women. Congrats to Cody, Nancy Oliver (Lars and the Real Girl), and Tamara Jenkins (The Savages). Add in Sarah Polley's Best Adapted Screenplay nod for Away from Her, and I think we can officially call this a banner year for female writers.
  • That said, you know what literally made me yelp with joy? Brad Bird's writing nomination for Ratatouille, especially after his call for more respect for writers on animated films.

Lots more — including my thoughts on a couple of snubs — so


  • I figured The Diving Bell and the Butterfly would have a tough time since it's not eligible for Best Foreign Film and might have been a long shot as Best Picture, but I still can't help but feel that it got snubbed. I finally saw it, and I thought it was a powerful example of what movies can be at their best. At least it's nominated for many awards — for its director, cinematography, script, and editing — that recognize how strong it was.
  • I'm aware that a lot of people liked Michael Clayton a lot more than I did, but I'm still surprised to see it get quite so much love. Its seven nominations cover all the major categories except Best Actress — quite the Oscar darling.
  • On the other hand, Atonement also got seven nominations, and yet they feel more minor. I'm surprised to see Joe Wright left out of the Best Director category, since I thought his direction was such a major part of the film. I am glad to see Jason Reitman and Julian Schnabel in that category, though.
  • Cate Blanchett was easily the best thing about I'm Not There, so I'm glad she's getting recognition. Her nomination for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, though, seems a little too easy.
  • What an age range in the Best Supporting Actress category — from Ruby Dee (83) to Saoirse Ronan (13)!
  • Speaking of Dee, I'm a little surprised the Academy generally shied away from American Gangster — or, for that matter, 3:10 to Yuma, both of which had major Oscar buzz when they were released.
  • Maybe it's the Curse of Tim Burton rubbing off, but I practically expected Johnny Depp to get snubbed.
  • Last year, it was three songs nominated from Dreamgirls; this year, it's three from Enchanted. Does this mean Amy Adams gets to sing at the Oscars?
  • Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood was thought to be a shoo-in for the Best Original Score category for There Will Be Blood, but his work was disqualified at the last minute because the film also includes music that was not written specifically for it.
  • Finally, I couldn't be happier to see Hal Holbrook get his due for Into the Wild. Fun fact: He's now the oldest supporting actor nominee ever at age 82.


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