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Snap Judgment: The 2009 Oscar Nominations

  • OK, just for the record: I liked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I did. I didn't think it was the best movie of the year, and I still don't, but it was definitely a good film. So now that I've got that out of the way, 13 nominations? Thirteen? I think that seems like a little much.
  • However: I will absolutely not argue with any of the technical nominations (though does putting an aged Brad Pitt face on a tiny old-man-baby body fall more under makeup, editing, or visual effects?) or with Taraji P. Henson's Best Supporting Actress nod. The more I think about it, her performance might have been my favorite in the whole film.
  • The Golden Globes snub had me worried, but I'm glad to see Milk among the Best Picture contenders. Well-deserved, as far as I'm concerned.

For more of my thoughts,


  • Overall, all the movies I wished would get nominated at least got something, even if it wasn't always the thing I had hoped for. I'm glad Happy-Go-Lucky got nominated in the screenplay category, but I would have loved to see Sally Hawkins get recognized for her performance. And while Anne Hathaway's performance in Rachel Getting Married was practically a lock, I would have liked to see some love for it in the writing or directing categories, too.
  • Also of note: Wall-E basically getting the Ratatouille treatment, with nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Screenplay but not breaking into the Best Picture category. Sigh.
  • Interestingly, all four main actors from Doubt are nominated for Oscars, but I have some doubts (Ha. Ha.) that any of them will win.
  • This song category? Baffling to me. I love the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, and the song from Wall-E was . . . a Disney song. But where's Bruce Springsteen for The Wrestler? Heck, where's that Miley Cyrus song from Bolt? I'd like some variety and more than three nominees, please!
  • Back to Benjamin Button for a sec. . . I'm not surprised to see Eric Roth's screenplay nominated in the adaptation category, but honestly: All he took from F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story was the name "Benjamin Button" and the idea of aging in reverse. Maybe it's adapted from Forrest Gump?
  • After years of love for Richard Jenkins, I'm so thrilled to see him nominated for The Visitor. He's always been a great "hey, it's that guy!" but how lovely that a starring turn could bring him Oscar recognition!
  • Speaking of happy Oscar recognition, I'm definitely on board with the nomination for Michael Shannon's performance in Revolutionary Road. Kate and Leo are great in their roles, but Shannon adds this electricity to the entire film and I think it would be a completely different thing without him.
  • I know many people think it's just a given that Heath Ledger will posthumously take the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. . . but what if he doesn't? It's interesting to think about. Would there be outrage? Or would people be satisfied to know that Ledger didn't get the "sympathy vote"?
  • "The Oscar-nominated Tropic Thunder!" Who ever thought we'd be saying that?
  • Crackpot theory o' the day: Slumdog Millionaire, which was just behind Benjamin Button with 10 nominations, stood a better chance of winning big at the Golden Globes because the Hollywood Foreign Press might be more inclined to recognize a "world" movie, while the Oscars might lean toward rewarding Benjamin Button because it's more a classic, American/European ideal of a film. Discuss.


Join The Conversation
thom227 thom227 8 years
I caught The Visitor when it was in theaters, and it was one of my favorite films of the whole year! Richard Jenkins from Six Feet Under was outstanding, and I really hope he wins the Oscar for best actor! The Visitor is now on DVD, and I definitely plan on getting a copy. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you can find more info here:
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
I think Heath Ledger deserves to win because of his talent, not just because of his death. There was a huge buzz about his performance before he died and I think he lived up to the hype and surpassed people's expectations. I'm surprised Benjamin Button got so many nominations and that Revolutionary Road & Bruce Springsteen were shut out of their categories (Best Picture & Best Song).
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
For all of those who think Heath Ledger is a lock to win just because he died, that hasn't been the rule in the past. There have been, I think, nine other posthumous acting nominations and only once has that person won the award. James Dean was nominated TWICE after he died, and he didn't win either of them. So if Heath Ledger wins, and I think he will, I will feel comfortable knowing that the majority of the academy truly felt that his performance was the best. As for the song category, from what I read, the song noms are done totally weird. The voters attend screenings of all the eligible songs and are asked to give a score on a scale of 1-10 to each film. Only those songs that average above an 8.5 (or something like that) get nominations. Totally bizarre, if you ask me.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I saw Slumdog and I thought it was good, but honestly I didn't think it was as AMAZING as people are saying. The movie was great, but I don't think the acting was super memorable. I think Milk should win for best picture. I think Changeling deserves some credit too I thought it was great. I love the RDJ got nominated! I love that a funny movie got in there, it's usually just the super serious ones! And I agree with Lukin about Heath Ledger. I thought it was a great movie and Great portrayal but I always wonder if people would be talking about it differently if he hadn't died. I don't want to sound mean or anything, but I don't think it woud've been as big of a deal if he was still alive.
If Heath Ledger wins its because he deserved it. His performance was amazing and I have seen a good many of his movies and this was such an incredible piece of work. I highly doubt this has anything to do with sympathy. We are sad is he gone but people wouldn't feel so passionately about him being nominated if his role wasn't that good.
rivrchild rivrchild 8 years
Why all the hate for Benjamin Button? I think it deserves to be nominated for Best Picture, but I don't think it can beat Slumdog. Slumdog really deserves the win. 13 nominations for BB is a lot, but I think they are all deserved. It's one of those sentimental, epic, sort of period films thus the majority of the nominations are in the technical and artistic categories of costume, art direction, score, visual effects, etc. I think all of those nominations are deserved, because it was all around a beautifully crafted film.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that we're always surprised a bit by the oscars since there are at times greats that are left off and randoms that are included. i 'm just waiting for keira to FINALLY get a nomination and a win. she's really fantastic and it seems like the academy just doesn't see it. as for BB, well, i think that there are too many nods there but i will admit that i enjoyed the movie. i think that we'll all be surprised by who wins what . it's going to be an interesting show.
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
I was very disappointed that Winslet wasn't also nominated for Revolutionary Road.
kafarine-tin-tin kafarine-tin-tin 8 years
I have the same thoughts about Heath Ledger. I'm scared that he'll win simply because he is dead, regardless of how amazing his performance was. All the other actors nominated in the supporting category were equally amazing, but I'm sure that none of them would feel right about taking the Oscar from Heath. And I agree Buzz, what would happen if someone else did win? I, personally, would be happy that Heath didn't get it because of his death, but I think I may be in the minority in thinking that.
Lukin Lukin 8 years
I don't really believe in the idea of posthumous Oscars (as a separate category, not awarded to those who died before the ceremony like Mr. Ledger), but I also don't know if it's "fair" (as much as I despise the word) to ask the other actors nominated in the Supporting Actor category to compete with sentimentality. Regardless of whether or not his was the best performance, no one wants to be the actor who steals the Oscar from the dead guy. I'm glad that Robert Downey Jr. is getting this kind of recognition for "Tropic Thunder," personally! He gave an absolutely brilliant performance that showcased all his talents, even if it was in a lowbrow Ben Stiller comedy. I think anyone who's seen the movie can agree he definitely carried it and made it something memorable. I probably would have liked it without him, but he was hands down the greatest part, and unbelievably hilarious.
shafiii shafiii 8 years
Ben Button and 14 nominations is a joke. The movie was not that great and it is over-rated. I'm rooting for Slumdog all the way. and like I said with Heath and his win at the Golden Globes. I hope he wins for his outstanding performance and if he doesn't it would be unfair because the role was amazing and no one has done a better job in this category. His death shouldn't play a factor in this, only his ability as an actor should.
superstar2780 superstar2780 8 years
I hate that all these films come out at the end of the year and start getting awards before I have a chance to see them! I did see benjamin button, and I was surprised to hear it received 13 nods ... I mean it was a good movie, entertaining, incredible special effects and makeup with the baby-old-face thing, but 13, really? the only other films I've seen are frozen river, tropic thunder and dark knight. I loved frozen river, I saw it randomly one afternoon without having any idea what it was about, and it was just one of those great little indies with relatively unknown actors and a completely engrossing story, and melissa leo was fantastic! robert downey jr was the only good thing about that awful tropic thunder, but an oscar nod? again - really? I think heath ledger could take it but I hope people will vote because of his incredible performance and not out of sympathy.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Milk is so deserving of the nomination, as is Slumdog, but Benjamin Button? I think not. Buzz, I agree that it should be nominated for the many technical awards, but it just doesn't compare with the others nominated for Best Picture. I, too, doubt that the cast from Doubt will win in their respective categories. And I also am baffled by having only three nominees for Best Song. Seriously, where is Springsteen? But, yay for Richard Jenkins and for Sean Penn, both deserving of the nominations for sure.
fireyelectra fireyelectra 8 years
And I agree with you completely about Benny Butty and its 13 noms. It's good, but that frame story ruins it. Eric Roth just can't write movies without emotion-ruining frame stories . . . that share a curious number of similar scenes. Benny Butty deserves its technical accolades, esp in art direction, visual effects, costume and the like. I thought Brad Pitt was also very good in it, but not better than Taraji P. Henson, whom I have loved ever since Hustle & Flow (which was the last time she was at the Oscars). But Best Picture Benny Butty is not. It's good. It's just not as good as Slumdog or the Reader or Milk.
fireyelectra fireyelectra 8 years
Regarding Ledger and posthumous Oscars: Anyone who read last week's EW article looking back one year after Ledger's death would be fine with him not winning. All of his friends and colleagues, especially Terry Gilliam, seem pretty sure that Ledger never wanted to win an Oscar, fearing it would have ruined his ability to freely choose the kinds of projects he wanted to do. (Which, if you look back at his resume, were all over the freakin' place. Who makes The Order AND Brokeback Mountain?)
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