Another year, another predictable round of nominations. So predictable, in fact, that I'm tempted just to repost this piece, since it once again sums up most of my feelings. I've yet to see any of the Best Picture nominees (although I'm hoping to get to Frost/Nixon this weekend), so I can't really do much but wish them well, and note that they all had "Oscar Bait" scrawled in invisible ink across their cinephilic bodies (I also can't help but think that the Oscars remain the Revenge of the Tradition of Quality; I suspect it will be awhile before we see anything but prestige adaptations and social problem films nominated in the Best Picture category).
Two pleasant surprises: the Best Actor nod for the fabulous Richard Jenkins in The Visitor, which was my favorite film from last year, and Robert Downey, Jr.'s nomination in the Supporting Actor category for Tropic Thunder (even if I was holding out hope that his pitch-perfect combination of quirk and action hero in Iron Man might shake the Academy out of its stuffiness and score a nod). These are wildly different performances-- Jenkins is quiet, low-key and almost immobile in much of the film, while Downey, Jr. is baroquely over-the-top-- but both show a certain amount of courage in their choices, and in their different ways of fully embodying their characters without shame or apology. Bravo to the Academy for recognizing them.
Of course, I'm thrilled that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were both nominated, as those two under-promoted kids need all the publicity they can get.
Oh, and Batman didn't get nominated. Shrug. I liked the film, but think the real push should've been for Aaron Eckhart's multilayered performance as Two-Face, rather than Heath Ledger's skillful impersonation of House. Honestly, I found both Iron Man and Hellboy II to be far richer and more skillfully made superhero movies this year, so I can't be the conduit for fanboy outrage.
Anyway, enough about Dark Knights-- what are your Oscar impressions?