Oscar Buzz

An Examination of the Nominees for this year’s Oscar race

This is a tough year to call for the Oscars. Not so much that there really isn’t one particular film that naturally stands out as a winner, but I personally have only seen a handful of the nominated movies. It’s a rare thing for me, but a natural result of having a 20-month-old son who eats up a lot of my free time.

Thankfully, I will most likely get the opportunity to see most if not all of the films before the awards are dished out. But right now I thought I’d go over some of my initial reactions, and invite anyone to post their own thoughts below about who they think will take away the famed naked statuettes.

First and foremost, I was given the opportunity to see Hotel Rwanda several weeks ago before it’s release — see that review here — and thought it was an excellent film. Don Cheadle delivered, I think, the performance of his career. Johnny Depp was also excellent in Finding Neverland, but I think his chances are pretty slim. If I had to guess, I’d say that Jamie Foxx would take this award away for his performance in Ray, but I still haven’t seen that film (look for our upcoming DVD review of Ray in February). I’m impressed to see that they nominated him for two categories, although I would be shocked if he actually won them both.

In the field of Animated Films, I’m really hoping that The Incredibles takes the night. The folks at Pixar were robbed of the award when they went head to head with the original Shrek when the Best Animated Film award was first given out, and this time they should walk away with the Oscar.

Kate Winslet delivered a beautifully natural performance in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I think the nomination is all she’ll get for it. Mostly because the roles performed by the other actresses were more demanding. Hillary Swank walked away with the Golden Globe, but I’m not totally convinced she’ll get the Oscar this time around.

When it comes to the best director, I’m personally hoping that honor will go to Clint Eastwood. I think if anything, he’s proven that he can take talented actors and provide them with an atmosphere where they deliver their strongest performances. That alone should earn him the statuette.

And Best Picture? I don’t think I’m ready to give my final thoughts on that one just yet.

I was also surprised by the “best song” nominations. Two of them are from foreign films, which is something I don’t recall seeing before.

Okay, so that’s all for now. Below are the list of nominees for the 77th Annual Academy Awards, which will be distributed on February 27th. You can read reviews of most of the movies below by clicking on the titles.

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Actor In A Leading Role
Don Cheadle—Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp—Finding Neverland
Leonardo Dicaprio—The Aviator
Clint Eastwood—Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx—Ray

Actor In A Supporting Role
Alan Alda—The Aviator
Thomas Haden Church—Sideways
Jamie Foxx—Collateral
Morgan Freeman—Million Dollar Baby
Clive Owen—Closer

Actress In A Leading Role
Annette Bening—Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno—Maria Full Of Grace
Imelda Staunton—Vera Drake
Hilary Swank—Million Dollar Baby
Kate Winslet—The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Actress In A Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett—The Aviator
Laura Linney—Kinsey
Virginia Madsen—Sideways
Sophie Okonedo—Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman—Closer

Directing
Martin Scorsese—The Aviator
Clint Eastwood—Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackforth—Ray
Alexander Payne—Sideways
Mike Leigh—Vera Drake

Best Picture
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby
Ray
Sideways

Animated Feature Film
The Incredibles
Shark Tale
Shrek 2

Writing (Adapted Screenplay) 
Before Sunset
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby
The Motorcycle Diaries
Sideways

Writing (Original Screenplay) 
The Aviator
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Hotel Rwanda
The Incredibles
Vera Drake

Cinematography
The Aviator
House Of Flying Daggers
The Passion Of The Christ
The Phantom Of The Opera
A Very Long Engagement

Documentary Feature
Born Into Brothels
The Story Of The Weeping Camel
Super Size Me
Tupac: Resurrection
Twist Of Faith

Foreign Language Film
As It Is In Heaven
The Chorus
Downfall
The Sea Inside
Yesterday

Film Editing
The Aviator
Collateral
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby
Ray

Music (Score) 
Finding Neverland
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
The Passion Of The Christ
The Village

Music (Song) 
“Accidentally In Love”—Shrek 2
“Al Otro Lado Del Río”—The Motorcycle Diaries
“Believe”—The Polar Express
“Learn To Be Lonely”—The Phantom Of The Opera
“Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)”—The Chorus

Short Film (Animated) 
Birthday Boy
Gopher Broke
Guard Dog
Lorenzo
Ryan

Short Film (Live Action) 
Everything In This Country Must
Little Terrorist
7:35 In The Morning
Two Cars, One Night
Wasp

Documentary Short Subject
Autism Is A World
The Children Of Leningradsky
Hardwood
Mighty Times: The Children’s March
Sister Rose’s Passion

Art Direction
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
The Phantom Of The Opera
A Very Long Engagement

Costume Design
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Ray
Troy

Makeup
Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
The Passion Of The Christ
The Sea Inside

Sound Editing
The Incredibles
The Polar Express
Spider-Man 2

Sound Mixing
The Aviator
The Incredibles
The Polar Express
Ray
Spider-Man 2

Visual Effects
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
I, Robot
Spider-Man 2

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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