Oscar nominations: Surprises and sure things

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As usual, this morning’s Oscar nominations announcement provided its fair share of ho-hum results and truly surprising developments. Strangely, four of my 10 possible surprise outcomes from yesterday ended up coming true. Here are my 5 biggest surprises and sure things.

SURE THINGS

Benjamin Button leads the pack With 13 nominations, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was far and away the most recognized film of the year. But after going home empty-handed at the Broadcast Critics awards and the Golden Globes, can it actually win?

Slumdog Millionaire places second The crowd-pleaser of the year landed 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and three nods for composer A.R. Rahman. My hunch is that it won’t end up placing second on Oscar night.

Double nods for Brangelina First of all, I can’t believe I actually just typed “Brangelina.” Secondly, I’m sure Oscar network ABC is thrilled Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie both made it into their lead-acting categories.

Milk‘s resurgence After earning only one Globe nomination, the stirring biopic scored eight Oscar nods. I give Sean Penn the edge in the Best Actor race.

No Doubt for Best Picture Even though the thought-provoking drama landed four acting nominations, the Academy didn’t recognize the film in the Best Picture or Best Director categories.

SURPRISES

The Dark Knight left out of the big dance Even though it earned eight nominations (including Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger, the Batman film didn’t make it into the Best Picture or Best Director races. There must be a lot of disappointed fans out there today.

Winslet in Best Actress for The Reader The Academy overruled a campaign and placed Kate Winslet in the lead-acting category for The Reader instead of Revolutionary Road. She may not have gotten two nominations, but this increases her chance at an eventual win.

Gran Torino skids out Despite its strong commercial performance, Clint Eastwood’s drama didn’t pick up a single nomination. At least his other directorial effort, Changeling, managed three.

No Slumdog acting nods The British Academy recognized Slumdog stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto last week. Today, nothing for the cast at all. Perhaps SAG will honor them with their ensemble prize this weekend.

Big stars snubbed in Best Original Song No Beyonce, no Miley, no Springsteen? Don’t get me wrong, I love Peter Gabriel’s Wall-E tune and both nominated songs from Slumdog, but the Academy certainly didn’t need to cut the category down to three nominees this year.

Also, please check out our brand-new Oscars cheat sheet, listing all the nominees and winners of the season.

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  • Rye

    Hmmm, you think being nominated for “The Reader” increases Winslet’s chances? Cause I think it decreases her chances, considering it was thought of as a supporting role, not a leading role. Hope she goes home with it, but she’s up against Meryl, who was in a leading role.
    Nonetheless, saw Gran Torino and loved it, too bad it wasn’t nominated.

  • pai

    Only two of your outcomes came true. The other two, the people allegedly pushed out got nominations. You don’t get credit for that, you had the wrong person pushed out. OK, I’ll give you a half. You had three then.

  • Dark Knight for Mayor

    Goes to show you that the so called academy knows nothing. Dark Knight was not only the Best Batman movie ever, it was one of the best movies of the last ten years. They have to be kidding, I think every year they look up and say, what was Leo Dicaprio in so we can nominate his movie! I am disgusted with these people and the way they treat Action and Comedy movies!

  • Noah

    I’m pretty sure M.I.A counts as a big star for the original song category for O… Saya. Paper Planes much?
    I just hope the vote doesn’t split between that and Jai Ho [which should probably win].

  • maureen

    Am I wrong or do I remember that the best original song now has to play/be a part of the movie, not just played over the credits like the Springsteen song?

  • CJ

    Slumdog was FANTASTIC!!!! It’s a shame that the cast didn’t get any nominations. While the direction, editing, and screenplay were great it was Dev Patel’s visible yearning that made it all seem real. He really took me on that wonderful ride with him.

  • hc

    no Gran Torino?! WTF. And Dark Knight not in best picture is a shame. But really, Clint Eastwood got nothin’ for Gran Torino…. I want to take the Oscars seriously but they always lead me in the opposite direction.

  • J

    It’s the fact that Kate only received one nomination that increases her chances of winning. If she had been nominated in leading and supporting, it would have split the votes.

  • R Rothchild

    It’s absolute BS that Milk and The Reader get nominations over Gran Torino and the Dark Knight.
    Good work academy. Way to select the most boring films possible.

  • RonnieBarzel

    “I think every year they look up and say, what was Leo Dicaprio in so we can nominate his movie!” Let’s take that as your hypothesis. Now we test it. What movie did Leonardo DiCaprio star in in 2008? ‘Revolutionary Road.’ Was ‘Revolutionary Road’ nominated for Best Picture? No. Does the original hypothesis stand up? No.

  • AAR

    Maureen- I think you’re right. But if that’s the case, why was the WALL-E song nominated. That was played over the credits too, wasn’t it? Maybe because the credits also advanced the story, it counts?

  • Geo

    I was releived that Gus Van Sant was nominated. I was beginning to notice how little we heard about him in all this; and some saw his directing as “by the book biopic.” Personally, I am amazed at how well he hewed to the conventions of the drama, then made the story bigger than the life of its protagonist: Milk is about a movement as much as it is about a man, which shows some pretty awesome directorial choices.

  • Stephie

    I agree that this won’t increase Winslet’s chances whatsoever. She’ll now be a 6 time loser. There’s no way she’ll win vs. Meryl and Anne. She would have most def. won in a supporting category. Look at Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind. Lead role, nominated for supporting and was a shoo in.

  • Manny

    Dark Knight, The Wrestler, Wall E. These were all better than Milk and The Reader. The Academy makes sure not to nominate movies that are good AND entertaining.If Rourke and Winslet don’t win then the night will be a complete waste.Maybe they should make another ridiculous category like Best animated movie so dark knight can win.How about best superhero movie?Lord of the Rings is a fantasy and it won.Chicago is a musical.Is there a genre more ridiculous than the musical?!Yet they’ve won many times.They need to realize that comics can be legit literature and Batman is one of the greatest characters of the last century.His plight and what it makes him do relates to everyone living in these times.He is a Jesus figure by taking it upon himself to fight crime without reward and like Satan in that he has left the heaven of America’s hollow riches to do this and simultaneously bring forth the best (less crime) and worst (the Joker) the world has to offer.

  • Dawn Selya

    Slumdog Millionaire? Good, but not great.

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