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This year this category is full of very strong contenders with no clear front runner.

Prediction:

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke. There’s the chance that Sean Penn could upset this as he’s gotten a lot of praise for his Harvey Milk, and Langella is the dark horse here, but everyone has just adored Rourke this awards season. He’s quirky, he gives crazy acceptance speeches, and above all, he freaking deserves it. I think the Academy will do the right thing here.

Who Should Win:
Mickey by a mile.

I saw this film back in November just a few weeks after the election, so I was still in the politics mind set.

Milk with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk and Josh Brolin

The film tells the story of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), California’s first openly gay elected official, who after a life of struggling against oppression, is assassinated by a fellow politician, supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin).

I loved this film and it really struck a chord with me, and I’m sure many fellow Californians as well, as one of Milk’s campaigns against a Prop so closely resembles that of the recent Prop 8. While Sean Penn is great, I think the supporting cast is ever better. James Franco, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch are all fantastic as supporting cast. The only critique I’ve heard about this film is that the documentary is better. I’ve never seen it, so I really enjoyed it, but maybe if I had I’d feel differently. Either way, as much as I loved this film, I don’t predict it taking home any awards come Oscar night.

Nominations:

Best Picture
I just don’t think this film has generated enough buzz to really give Slumdog or The Reader a run for their money. But, it’s one of my favorites in the category, so I’m glad to see it here.

Best Director – Gus Van Sant
I’ve said before that whatever takes Picture will take Director as well, and I just don’t think Van Sant will take it home over Boyle.

Best Actor – Sean Penn
Penn is fantastic as Milk and a lot of people seem to think he’ll take this one home, but I’m standing by Mickey. He’s more deserving and everyone loves a good comeback.

Best Supporting Actor – John Brolin
This nomination seems to be nominating his recent career choices than the actual role. He didn’t get any recognition for No Country and I hear that he was the only reason to watch W. Brolin followed all that up with a great supporting performance in Milk and here he is. Personally, I think Franco has the most stand out performance next to Penn, but either way no one’s taking this award from Ledger.

Best Original Screenplay
This, I think, is it’s best chance to take an award home for the night. The problem is that this category is just so unique. Recently there’s always been a breakout winner (Juno, Little Miss Sunshine), but this year I loved all the entries. However, Milk has the most nominations out of all the films in this category, so it does stand apart from the rest in that regard.

Best Editing
This is a good entry here, but I just don’t think it has enough to cut it against the beautifully cut Slumdog.

Best Costumes
This is an interesting nomination, but I don’t think that the dated clothing will be enough to take home the win as the Academy tends to favors lavish costumes such as those in The Duchess.

Best Score
I wish I could recall a single note of the score, but it just didn’t seem memorable enough to me. Those that I remember, such as Changeling and Revolutionary Road, didn’t get nominated. My score radar was definitely a tad off this year. Either way, I think that Slumdog will take this home on Sunday.

****

Phasekitty and the Oscars

Before I break it down film by film, here are some of my initial, knee jerk reactions to the Oscar nominations this year:

First and foremost, this year has been a major disappointment to me for one movie: The Wrestler. This was by far the best movie I saw this year and it is being largely ignored. Not only do I feel that it should have been up for Best Picture, but more importantly Darren Aronofsky deserved a Best Director nod for it as well. I have yet to watch anything this year that impressed me as much as that film did in directing, writing, and acting. I do believe that Mickey will win and deserves the Oscar, but I’m pretty disappointed in the academy for not giving Aronofsky credit for his best work to date. And what is up with the song category? Did they pair it down to three nominees so that we won’t have to sit through 5 live performances during the ceremony? Because I kind of like the performances. Either way, Bruce Springsteen got screwed out of a nomination and that bugs me.

Despite this glaring omission, I do have to hand it to the Academy for giving just one (deserved) nomination to Revolutionary Road, for leaving Doubt out of the Best Picture and Director races, and for shutting out Gran Torino altogether- all were movies that were overly hyped and really just not that great. The nominations for Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep’s incredibly over the top performances in Doubt are disappointing, but expected.

Let’s talk about supporting actors. I love Robert Downey Jr., but his nomination for Tropic Thunder is out of place. I expect that sort of thing from the Globes, but not the Oscars. While RDJ was certainly the standout performance in that film, I can think of plenty of other actors whose performances deserve this spot just off the top of my head: James Franco (Milk), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight), Viggo Mortensen (Appaloosa). There are a ton of performances that would suit this category better than “the dude playing a dude disguised as another dude.” Even if they would inevitably lose it to Heath, it’s still nice to get the recognition.

A few more things:

  • It’s nice to see The Dark Knight get all the technical nominations, even though it didn’t make it into the big categories. Despite how you feel about big, action super hero films, no one can deny the fact that technically, it’s a fantastically made film.
  • I love the surprise acting nominations this year- Michael Shannon brings a brief breath of life to Revolutionary Road and while I haven’t yet seen The Visitor, who doesn’t adore Richard Jenkins?
  • Angelina and Brad’s nods seem like a ploy to keep them front and center, in case anyone forgot that Hollywood adores them. What a waste of two perfectly good nominations.
  • I’m not usually as surprised by the score nominations as I was this year. It’ll likely go to Slumdog, but I also expected to see Changeling and Revolutionary Road in this category. And I don’t recall a single note of Milk’s score- I would have liked to see one of those two movies in its place instead.

How do you feel about this year’s nominations?

Best Picture

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

Best Director

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

Continue reading to check out the full list of 2009 Oscar Nominees! And keep checking back with the site as Phasekitty watches and takes a look at all of the nominees as we march towards the awards show.

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