My Alternate Oscar Nomination List

Over at yesterday, I wrote about who I predicted would win this Sunday’s Academy Awards. I mentioned that this year’s nominations were among the worst I’d ever seen, and that if I could come up with my own nomination list, it would probably be about 80% different than what the Academy came up with. Well, below is my own alternate set of nominations in fifteen of the top categories (totally disregarding eligibility rules). And it looks like they are actually 73% different… but you get the point.

Best Picture
Paranoid Park
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Rachel Getting Married
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Director
Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park
Charlie Kauffman, Synecdoche, New York
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Woody Allen, Cassandra’s Dream

Best Actor:
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Benicio Del Toro, Che
Michael Fassbinder, Hunger

Best Actress:
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Kristen Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Michelle Williams, Wendy & Lucy
Juliette Binoche, Flight of the Red Balloon

Supporting Actor:
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Chris Messina, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Jeffrey Wright, W.

Supporting Actress:
Viola Davis, Doubt
Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married
Tilda Swinton in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Documentary:
Man on Wire
American Teen
Encounters at the End of the World
Standard Operating Procedure
The Unforeseen

Best Foreign Film:
The Class (France)
Hunger (Ireland)
Silent Light (Mexico)
Let the Right One In (Sweden)
Waltz With Bashir (Israel)

Best Original Screenplay
Synecdoche, New York
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Rachel Getting Married
Gran Torino
Burn After Reading

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Dark Knight
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Paranoid Park

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Synecdoche, New York
Revolutionary Road
Cassandra’s Dream

Best Original Song
Bruce Springsteen, “The Wrestler” (The Wrestler)
Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, “Gran Torino” (Gran Torino)
Peter Gabriel, “Down to Earth” (Wall E)

Revolutionary Road
Paranoid Park
Chop Shop

Art Direction
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mister Lonely
The Fall
Synecdoche, New York

Costume Design
The Fall
Mister Lonely
Revolutionary Road
The Dark Knight

15 responses to “My Alternate Oscar Nomination List

  1. Burn after reading? Best screenplay?? Wow, I need to hear a justification for this one.

  2. Me, too…horrible movie.

  3. I know movies are subjective, and I know from reading your blog that you weren’t impressed with Slumdog, and that you loved button.

    My subjective opinion is that you have really odd tastes. I loved slumdog and hated button. Maybe it’s the people I hang with, but the best “informal” rating for button is mediocre at best.

    Whatever kool-aid you’re drinking, I want some too.

  4. I defend the choice of Burn After Reading, which is great AND horrible at the same time (I saw it twice). I have to agree that Button was painfully mediocre…and there is no way that I would nominate it for Best Pic over the Fall.

  5. Oh, I wanted to like “Silent Light,” I really did. But just couldn’t. Did I miss something? What landed it on your Best Foreign Film list!?

  6. Man, the only list I would put “Vicky Christina Barcelona” on is Films That Remind Me That Woody Allen Is Over-rated..

    Sorry, couldn’t stand it.

    I still can’t believe how badly “The Dark Knight” got shafted in the nominations. It should’ve been up for Best Screenplay easily. Thematically it was one of the best developed scripts that I saw last year.

  7. I loved Vicky Cristina Barcelona but Chris Messina was the worst part. For me, he and his portions of the script kept the film from standing with Allen’s very best work.

  8. That’s funny.

    Chris Messina was the only palatable part of the film for me. The only voice of reason in an whine-fest. The whole film was holding up this European/bohemian lifestyle as superior to American puritanism (typical Hollywood fare). But in the end, one character’s sexual consumerism was unsatiated and the other’s marriage was crumbling due to selfish decisions and fear. Predictable moral relativism colors the film through-out and I couldn’t find any redeeming features beyond Messina and the soundtrack. For me, Allen is a one-note filmmaker who makes movie in various locales. Give me a Scorcese, Eastwood, or Mamet film anyday. I can’t stomach Woody. But, to each his own.

  9. Luke: I think you misread the film if you see it upholding the “European/bohemian lifestyle as superior to American puritanism.” It clearly makes fun of this mindset in the way that it portrays Scarlett J’s character. If anything I think Woody is making a critical comment here about European liberalism–that, ultimately, the sort of “free-love, no restrictions” lifestyle that the characters experiment with is morally unsustainable. And when you say Allen is a one-note filmmaker, are you saying that his films are all amoral whine-fests? Did you see Match Point or Cassandra’s Dream? These films are very strongly moral–showing the clear and dire consequences of sin in a way that is prescriptive and in no way relativistic. I don’t mean to defend Woody (b/c heaven knows there are many bombs in his oeuvre), but I do think his recent films have been highly accomplished on a number of levels.

  10. To the Burn After Reading script haters (Brian and Shawn): I think the script is incredibly sharp and economical, with brilliant comedic structuring, beats, etc… which has been the direction of Coen Brothers films of late.
    Kristy: re: Silent Light. I’ll be writing about that film in the coming weeks, so I’ll wait till then to explain my admiration for it.

  11. Exactly how do you justify not having Kate Winslet on the list in any category? Especially when you have Juliet Binoche nominated for Best Actress! C’mon! Winslet is arguably the best living actress – and to put up incredibly strong performances in two movies the same year – how can you not reward that!

  12. and leaving off sean penn? i didn’t even recognize him in his portrayal of harvey milk. he deserved it.

  13. Interesting. I didn’t get that take from “Christina” at all, Brett. At the end, Christina seemed to have learned nothing besides some photography skills and had simply put another notch in her bedpost and Vicky (originally the moral one) was left to stew in her minefield of a marriage. I did see Allen sending up European Liberalism a bit in the film, but if this doesn’t effect either of the main characters in any sustainable fashion, it would seem to be a half-hearted statement.

    You busted me. I have not seen “MatchPoint” or “Cassandra’s Dream”. I will retract my statement until I am more informed. My point with Allen is that I always seem to be left with the feeling that his characters are all miserable by the choices that they have made, yet they had no choice but to make them. It’s a kind of neurotic pre-determinism. But again, I haven’t seen many of his recent films, so I will check them out.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  14. I like all the attention you put on Rachel Getting Married. It should have been nominated for best original screenplay.

  15. I am with you in not selecting Slumdog Millionaire. I liked the film but I wasn’t exactly bowled over by it. I think the story of the Danny Boyle’s struggle to get the film made was more likely the reason that it won the Oscar for Best Picture.

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