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  • Kate Winslet looked amazing.
  • Meryl Streep is apparently not used to winning despite the fact she is the greatest living actress, for which I apologize calling her, since she seems clearly embarrassed when people call her that, even though she is. Just not in Doubt.
  • Sean Penn needs to shut up. Che? Seriously, dude? ( I am looking forward to it, but I’ll follow Soderbergh to the grave he dug for me and praise him as he tosses handfuls of dirt until I’m buried and have suffocated, so I might not be the best judge, as I also sat through Solaris and Bubble).
  • Heath Ledger won-again. The term shoo in at the Oscars no longer applies, it’s destiny in possibly the saddest possible way.
  • Jane Krakowski should be forbidden to give acceptance speeches anymore on the behalf of 30 Rock . That was agonizing.
  • James Earl Jones is God.
  • Anthony  Hopkins looked shockingly frail, and now I’m fretting about him.
  • Surprise of the night, TV side- Well, Hugh Laurie beating out Jon Hamm and then being funny.
  • Surprise of the night, Movie side- Meryl. Meryl. Oy, Meryl.
  • Slumdogcontinues on it’s way to coronation.
  • Let’s face it based on the cheers from the audience- any other year, Ben Button would win. Or come in a close second to Milk. But this year, the little British and Indian film has stolen the thunder.
  • I wanna be Tina Fey. I know I say that ever award show.

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Ah, yes, so it arrived with much fanfare, and some choices have left me puzzled, other delightfully surprised. More on that later. But first, the list.

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

BEST DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Gus Van Sant, Milk

BEST ACTOR
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Frozen River , Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh
Milk, Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E, Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

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

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

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

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

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306

BEST EDITING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The Class (France)
Departures (Japan)
Revanche (Austria)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

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

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

BEST ORIGINAL 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

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
”Down to Earth,” (WALL-E)
”Jai Ho,” (Slumdog Millionaire)
”O Saya,” (Slumdog Millionaire)

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

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

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

Notes on the nominees:

1) Pleasant surprises: Richard Jenkins and Melissa Leo’s nominations for two very small indie flicks that were much revered ( Frozen River was a Sundance 2008 fave and award winner). They were also early 2008 releases and i was afraid they’d both be lost to later, showier parts. Leo you may remember from Homicide: Life On the Street. Jenkins is one of those ” That guy” actors ( I remember him as the psychiatrist Ben Stiller talks to at the beginning of There’s Something About Mary).

2) Stunned- STUNNED- but overjoyed by Michael Shannon’s nomination for Revolutionary Road. He had little buzz due to the Heath Ledger noise. He also has no shot, nor do Robert Downey Jr., Phillip Seymour Hoffman, or Josh Brolin, although Brolin has an outside shot ( he has actually won some critics awards). But if he was noticed by the Academy, Shannon’s odds might be better than we realize.

3) Expect Wall-E to win Animated. The other two flicks don’t stand a chance.

4) Dance With Bashir will win the Foreign Language award, even though Italy’s Gommorra was by far the best foreign film of the year ( it wasn’t nominated. What up?)

5) Peter Gabriel will be an Oscar winner for best song.

6) Best Doc Feature is a toss up between the stunning and engrossing Man On Wire, which has dominated pre Oscar shows. But do not count out the moving Trouble The Water. It’s about Katrina and the aftermath.

7) Robert Downey Jr’s nomination is only his second. Seriously.

8) Kate Winslet was nominated for the wrong movie. Therefore she will lose to Anne Hathaway unless they give it to Meryl, who gave what is possibly my least favorite performance of these nominees, but it’s MERYL.

9) Expect Mickey Rourke, Penelope Cruz to win for their categories. Cruz is a supporting actress nominee in a Woody Allen film. It worked for Mira Sorvino and Dianne Weist ( twice).

10) Benjamin Button leads with thirteen, Slumdog has ten, Frost/Nixon five, Milk eight, The Reader five, Doubt five, The Dark Knight  eight ( mostly in lesser tech categories), and Wall-E five.

11) Movie that gets to call itself an Oscar nominee despite being crap- Hellboy II.

12) Viola Davis is onscreen in Doubt for about five minutes.

13) Apparently the Academy preferred the turgid, lumbering The Reader to the astonishingly acted, but cutting and depressing Revolutionary Road, which is clearly the superior film. Kate was resplendent in the latter, and as much as I love her, her performance in the former left me cold. RR picked up a few nods in lesser categories.

14) All the best directors have their pictures nominated as well. Remember, the Academy has a tendency to have a best picture nominee that apparently directed itself in the mix.

15) If Slumdog does indeed prevail, it will have done so without a single acting nomination. I can’t recall the last time that happened off the top of my head.

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I know I have not posted much on the Globes Sunday ( or much at all this week), but I must post from an undisclosed location until my Internet issues are all worked out. And American Idol has started, but those posts do not start till the real competition starts after Hollywood week. Although I must say this about Idol- they’re trying to kill me with sadness this year.

But back to what I’m really here to post about, and maybe a post script or two afterwards. It’s still Award season. Oscar noms come out in a few days and you know I’ll be all over that. The race got really interesting over GG weekend as Slumdog Millionairepulled into front runner position over Benjamin Button, and Kate Winslet’s stock rose 1000% with her double win- we knew she’d score one if not two noms, but she’s now on the inside track to win one, as Anne Hathaway’s stock drops and Sally Hawkins must convince Academy voters happy is just as difficult to play as middle class ennui. Kate is one of the most deserving actresses out there, and a double shot of Oscar love next week would top her out at seven nominations by the age of 32. Even Meryl didn’t do that. I’m still not convinced Kate will win one, though, as Penelope Cruz is tough competition. But seeing that both Cruz and Hawkins are in lighter films, maybe Kate the Great will sneak in and win one. She will definitely not win both. Look for Mickey Rourke to be the front runner as well, but don’t count out Sean Penn. Heath Ledger is the closest thing to a sure bet this year. Say what you will about Oscar- every once in a while, he gets some interesting material to work with.

PS- still loving Hugh Jackman as Oscar host, but I love the guy anyway ( WOLVERINE! Sorry…). And I’m actually in favor of keeping the names of presenters secret till show time. We know some will be there ( tradition states last years acting winners present the acting awards). But the rest- well, makes me wonder.

BAFTA noms were announced today, and are as follow ( my picks for winner in bold, naturally):

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

DIRECTOR
Clint Eastwood (Changeling)
David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon)
Stephen Daldry (The Reader)
Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Burn After Reading— Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Changeling— J. Michael Straczynski
I’ve Loved You So Long— Philippe Claudel
In Bruges — Martin McDonagh
Milk — Dustin Lance Black

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — Eric Roth
Frost/Nixon — Peter Morgan
The Reader — David Hare
Revolutionary Road— Justin Haythe
Slumdog MillionaireSimon Beaufoy

LEADING ACTOR
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Brad Pitt (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

LEADING ACTRESS
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Robert Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder)
Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Brad Pitt (Burn After Reading)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams (Doubt)
Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)
Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire)
Tilda Swinton (Burn After Reading)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
Hunger
In Bruges
Mamma Mia!
Man on Wire
Slumdog Millionaire

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Gomorrah
I’ve Loved You So Long
Persepolis
Waltz With Bashir

ANIMATED FILM
Persepolis
Wall-E
Waltz With Bashir

Also on the horizon- the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. Granted, this is not really an award show award show, but I still love it. This year, our inductees are Metallica ( well, okay, while their attitude about fan sharing pisses me off, they did define modern heavy metal, so yeah, they deserve it), RUN-DMC ( hellz yeah, they made hip hop mainstream, used rock riffs as samples, and btw, ” It’s Tricky” is on SingStar 80s, and it’s really difficult for this rock girl, who bombed), Jeff Beck ( duh! moment), Bobby Womack ( sure, why not?), and Little Anthony and the Imperials ( 50s era- nice throwback, more influential on soul than you might think). Nice list, a fair list, and people who bitch about hip hop being in the HOF need to shove it up their asses. Country and pop artists get inducted. In all honesty, while called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s always been more inclusionary and has come off as a music Hall of Fame. But no Heart and no Cheap Trick makes me cranky.

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Michael Phelps, the 2008 Summer Olympics

Seriously, it’s an achievement that transcends nationality. Eight gold medals in the pool, and the guy becomes an instant celebrity.

Kristy Yamaguchi, Dancing With the Stars

The spring season was far superior to the recent fall one, despite the telegraphed ending. There was no way Kristy could lose outright, as she had the poise, elegance, and flexibility engineered into her figure skater’s soul. But the touching back story presented made me shed a tear, and her beautiful family made me smile. No one deserved it more. And her dancing? Phenomenal.

Heath  Ledger as the Joker, The Dark Knight


I finally saw it people. And it blew me away. Never big on Batman ( I prefer Batman, though, to Superman, but the X-Men rock my universe), But Ledger’s deliciously over the top, yet oddly restrained mad man just made me smile, then I remembered what we lost, and the sadness can be all consumming.

Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

3

An astonishing comic performance from start to finish, a man blessed with impeccable timing and a fastidiousness that puts Niles Crane and Felix Unger to shame. But most crucially is despite Sheldon’s arrogant and haughty demeanor, we adore him, mostly because he really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about social mores and conventions, but also because he is actually surprisingly sweet in his own geektastic way, as the Saturnalia miracle hug he gave Penny indicated. It’s enough for this reviewer to admit that, yeah, I have a bit of a crush. I would not, however, give him a healthy ovum to grow his own Leonard Nimoy. That borders on supervillain-esque. And yet, I like how supervillain-esque Sheldon is. Jim Parsons is a comedic gem, and damn it, he deserves that Emmy slot currently taken up by Charlie Sheen ( I know I’m digressing, but the Emmys voted the wrong Chuck Lorre comedy into the awards- The Big Bang Theory is far superior).

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