Academy Award nominations (2009 for 2008 films)

Nominees for the 81st Academy Awards
Best motion picture of the year

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production,Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
* “Milk” (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Nominees to be determined
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production,Christian Colson, Producer

Achievement in directing

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Performance by an actor in a leading role

* Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
* Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
* Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
* Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

* Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
* Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
* Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
* Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

* Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
* Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
* Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

* Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
* Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
* Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
* Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Best animated feature film of the year

* “Bolt” (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
* “Kung Fu Panda” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton

**Achievement in art direction
* “Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
* “The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
* “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Achievement in cinematography

* “Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in costume design

* “Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
* “The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
* “Revolutionary Road”  (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky

Best documentary feature

* “The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
* “Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
* “The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
* “Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
* “Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

**Best documentary short subject
* “The Conscience of Nhem En” A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
* “The Final Inch” A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
* “Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
* “The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306” A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

Achievement in film editing

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

Best foreign language film of the year

* “The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production, Germany
* “The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
* “Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
* “Revanche” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
* “Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel

Achievement in makeup

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
* “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Alexandre Desplat
* “Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

* “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
* “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
* “O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam                  

Best animated short film

* “La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
* “Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
* “Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
* “Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
* “This Way Up”, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best live action short film

* “Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
* “Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
* “New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
* “The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
* “Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank

Achievement in sound editing

* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
* “Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
* “Wanted” (Universal),Wylie Stateman

Achievement in sound mixing

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
* “Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Achievement in visual effects

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
* “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
* “Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Adapted screenplay**

* “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
* “Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
* “Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
* “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
* “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original screenplay

* “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
* “Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
* “In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
* “Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
* “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

The Tallies

13: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
10: Slumdog Millionaire
8: The Dark Knight, Milk
5: Doubt, Frost/Nixon, The Reader
3: Changeling, Revolutionary Road
2: The Duchess, Iron Man, Frozen River, Wanted, The Wrestler
1: Australia, Bolt, Defiance, Happy-Go-Lucky, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, In Bruges, Kung Fu Panda, Rachel Getting Married, Tropic Thunder, Vicky Christina Barcelona, The Visitor

No Dark Knight for Best Picture. That’s a shame. The Reader come out of nowhere.

Richard Jenkins and Melissa Leo!!! I’m so happy for them!

Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road! That’s a big surprise.

Teraji made it. Good for her.

2 song nominations from Slumdog! They really love Slumdog.

In Bruge got Original screenplay, yeah!

Poor Sally Hawkins. I guess Angelina stole her place.

Woah, I just noticed that Kate was put into Lead for The Reader, not Revolutionary Road, so no double nomination for her.

Of all the film movies nominated, I’ve seen them all. I haven’t seen any of the foreign-language films (Waltz With Bashir and The Class haven’t opened here yet), and only one of the Documentary nominations, Man On Wire.

More thoughts as I think about things.
Edit to add, thanks for the tallies ArchiveGuy

Wow, no surprises there at all. I knew Dark Knight & Walle would never in a million years get a best picture nomination. This’ll probably be the least watched Academy Awards in history.

I still need to see Frost/Nixon, Slumdog Millionaire, Doubt, The Reader and Changeling. I refuse to see Milk on principal (Sean Penn & Gus Van Sant have long been my least favorite big name actor/director in Hollywood!) and Revolutionary Road is a film I can tell I won’t like at all.

Biggest Shock: Across the board snub for Batman in the major categories (Picture, Director, Screenplay). It still has 8, including Ledger (a lock to win, I think), but time won’t be kind to the Academy in retrospect. Will anyone look back at The Reader & Frost/Nixon 10 years from now the way they will Dark Knight or WALL-E? I’m skeptical.

Biggest Winner: Brangelina. One nod each, plus Pitt’s film racks up 13 nods while Angelina’s films rack up a combined total of 5 (a personal high for both).

Lockiest Ledgerless Lock: Kate Winslet doesn’t have to worry about a vote split, since her Reader performance (which won a Supporting Globe) is now in the lead category. This will be her 6th nomination with no wins yet at the Academy. Her biggest competition is probably Meryl (this is her 15th nod, a record for actors), but she’ll probably have to wait a little longer for Oscar #3. Of course, Pixar is a lock for Animated Feature as well, but we knew that 6 months ago.

Biggest Batmanless snub: Bruce Springsteen getting the boot in the Song category (which is only limited to 3 nominees!). There will be some great Bollywood numbers at the ceremony, but Slumdog might split the vote and Peter Gabriel could end up the winner since his is the only nominated song in English.

Little Celebrations: Acting nominations for the excellent Richard Jenkins, Melissa Leo, and Michael Shannon, who all appeared in small movies that got noticed. Leo’s Frozen River also got a Screenplay nod alongside In Bruges–both, again, deserving.

Most Deserved Snub: Woody Allen racks up his 17th nominated film, but this is only the third that didn’t get a writing nomination. Still, with Winslet out of the picture and Doubt looking to vote split, Cruz is the front-runner for the Supporting Actress award (she’ll be the 4th time an actress has won that category for a Woody flick).

Really surprised at the love for Benjamin Button given the lukewarm reviews I’ve heard from basically all my friends who’ve seen it. Also a shame that Philip Seymour Hoffman got shunted to a supporting nomination, where he’ll get crushed by Heath Ledger; I thought there was easily enough to his role in Doubt to justify submitting it for best performance in a leading role.

Good for Viola Davis, though. She did a great job with that role. (Does it rival Judi Dench for least screentime for a supporting actress nod?)

Would have loved to have seen Colin Farrell or Albert Finney get recognized for their superlative work in In Bruges. And I’m really rooting for Frank Langella to take home the Best Actor Oscar; I thought he was fabulous.

There are lots of surprises.

Who cares? The Academy doesn’t. Sure, they like it when a lot of people watch, but believe it or not it actually is all about the movies, not popularity.

That’s one of the saddest [non-RO] things I’ve ever read. It’s an amazing, wonderful movie, and you’re missing out, big time. On principle? That’s just…well, something I should not comment on since this is Cafe Society. Whatever. Your loss.

The acting is brilliant, but I hated, hated, HATED the characters so much it was a deeply unpleasant experience.

A lot of the nominations were craft/“technical” categories, where the work is exemplary and there was very little competition from the other Picture nominees, so it was able to rack up the nods. Quite a few (Score, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Makeup) it will probably win, too.

Nobody “submits” for the Academy. They can campaign, but the Academy still picks where they want to put you. A good example is Winslet, who was campaigning for Supporting for The Reader, but which the Academy chose to put her in Lead instead.

It’d be close, but Dench was still in a half-dozen (albeit brief) scenes throughout her film. Davis only has one scene with any dialogue, but obviously made the most of it.

Finney wasn’t in Bruges. Do you mean Ralph Fiennes or Brendan Gleeson?

He’s actually the second person to get nominated for playing Nixon. Anthony Hopkins was the first.

They nominated Brad Pitt but not Leonardo DiCaprio…what a damn shame.

Was Gran Torino snubbed, or is it classed as a 2009 picture?

I’ll be skipping this year’s broadcast completely. None of the pictures nominated for a major award interested me in the slightest.

AOL says *Other acting snubs included Clint Eastwood for “Gran Torino,” * so I guess it qualified, but no love.

//hijack// is AOL mail down? //

gladtobeblazed and ArchiveGuy, I’m with you. I don’t like Brad and I like Frank.

ETA: and no Dev Patel. That is sad.

Why Not? This is a group that has often rewarded commercial success with a Picture nomination, even when the reviews were only so-so (Ghost, The Fugitive). There were few movies this year that were as critically acclaimed as The Dark Knight, and it made more money then even the LOTR installments. It won nominations from the Writers, Producers, and Directors guilds. I think most people expected it to get nominated, unless the unsurprising biases of the older Oscar voters (Historical recreations or Stuff literary adaptations trump comic book geekdom) asserted themselves. This is a huge slight, and if anything, I think the films’ chances in several of the other categories (Cinematography, Sound, etc.) just improved dramatically.

Probably. And it certainly takes the lead for most mucus per screentime minute in history.

I can’t believe that Slumdog Millionaire got all of this love, but nothing at all for the first movie about Indian East meets West of the year, Mike Myer’s The Love Guru.

The Dark Knight got robbed. So did Christopher Nolan. How did The Reader get nominated? Winslet is good, but the rest of the movie is pretty average. It definitely didn’t merit a directing nomination.

Glad to see RDJ get a Supporting Actor nom. Glad to see Wall-E not get a Best Picture nom (overrated, IMO) . Glad to Slumdog getting lots of love. I now think it’s the frontrunner to win Best Pic.

ArchiveGuy: Thanks for the much-needed corrections.

All of which is fine and good, but the Best Picture/Best Director nominations certainly suggest that the Academy believes it to be one of the most exemplary films of the year. To say nothing of the acting nods.

Huh. I totally didn’t know this; thanks. Am I mixing the Oscars up with a different award where actors or studios can choose which category they’d like to be considered for, or am I just confusing it with the practice of TV shows picking a particular episode to submit for Emmy consideration?

Blast! I meant Brendan Gleeson. Old Mad-Eye. Fiennes was great, too, but Gleeson carried off the poignant, tragicomic gravitas of that role spectacularly well.

Stupid Irish actors fooling me by not being Albert Finney.

I felt Langella’s portrayal was clearly superior as an acting performance (accepting that neither one of them was necessarily particularly grounded in how Nixon actually looked, sounded, or behaved), but part of that may be due to my preference between the differing directing styles.


Say what you will about Slumdog – I think it’s a good-but-not-great movie, and accept that others can legitimately hold it in higher esteem – but I’m really at a loss how anyone would feel that Dev Patel merited a nomination. He was charismatic, sure, but that characterization was wafer-thin. Plus he was only in forty percent or so of the movie.

I’ve got to say, I think these are pretty disappointing. Sure, a large part of it is that I’m pissed about The Dark Knight being shut out, but moreso because I feel like the only surprises in this slate came from the Academy absolutely affirming the truth of any jokes that are ever made about them.

I mean, look at the major categories nominations. First of all, the Best Director and Best Picture categories are an absolute match. Secondly, not a single movie in those categories opened in wide release. Thirdly, The Reader is a film that has a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but ooh, look! Nazis! I’m kind of surprised The Boy in the Striped Pajamas isn’t on there. Angelina Jolie gets a best actress nod for a movie that, again, critics couldn’t agree on, barely anyone saw and almost everyone knew was shameless Oscar-baiting, and Sally Hawkins gets left out because, oops, she’s in a Comedy.

And, of course, the Best Supporting Actor nod to Ledger now comes across as a pity nomination, not the warranted recognition that it deserved. And the only “edgy” choice was putting Downey Jr. on the list for Tropic Thunder, and that’s done just because Ledger is such a lock that there’s no actual “risk” that he’ll win and somebody could actually get an award for comedy.

Grrrr. I know that the movies that are nominated are great films, but the monolithic sameness really gets to me, and smacks of the Academy letting distribution companies decide which films are “worthy” of consideration. I’ll get over it, and I know that it’s about the movies, not the viewers, but come on, people. They’re not two completely distinct things.

Was it eligible? I thought I heard that the song has to play in the body of the movie to be nominated, not just over the closing credits.

I was thrilled that Lex, KY’s own Michael Shannon got nominated for Revolutionary Road. He was also great in Shotgun Stories.

I was a little surprised when I heard Ledger being talked up for Best Supporting Actor. I know the movie is named after Batman and all, but I would have said that the movie has two male leads.

I am very pleased with Robert Downey Jr’s nomination. He carried that film and took a very touchy-hot button discussion and turned in one of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever seen.
He isn’t going to win against a dead man, ( whose own performance was brilliant in a sinister creepy way. But at least the others saw RDj efforts.)
YAY Robert!!

Looks to be a tame sleepy Oscars this year. Especially with Hugh Jackman hosting… zzzzzzz.
Best pic will go to Slumdog and there will be a lot of hoot and hollering from them as the underdog outsiders.
Actor will go to Mickey Rourke (good for him) and may be the highlight of the evening.
Sup Actor will go to Heath, the somber moment of the night.
Actress will go to… does anybody care? Bunch of safe predictable dramatic roles.
Sup Actress… zzzzz
Animated feature needs to go to Bolt or KungFuPanda. WallE was just too subpar for a Pixar film. Save it for next years UP.
Achievement in Directing probably goes to either Fincher or Boyle. Fincher more so since Bennybutton was an achievement in directing special effects. Boyle didn’t really “achieve” anything besides making a good flic.

And can we stop giving noms to Ron Howard? His stuff is such non-risk safe vanilla fan-fare that directs itself.