Oy, I can't believe I forgot about the Oscar nominations! Me, whose first AOL screen name was OSCARFAN! Me, who once took a portable TV to work with him so he could watch the nominations announced live! I suck!
Maybe part of the reason I forgot is that I was not a particularly enthusiastic moviegoer in 2004. I only saw 21 films last year, and six of those were 2003 releases. I haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees, and I've seen only one of the sixteen films nominated in what I call the Big Eight (Actor in a Leading Role, Actress in a Leading Role, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role, Director, Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Original Screenplay). Only five of the 2004 films I saw were nominated for any Academy Award.
Oh well. In the scheme of things, I suppose it's not that big a deal. So let's take a look a the nominees and non-nominees.
- I guess the biggest surprise from my perspective is that Paul Giamatti didn't get a Best Actor nomination for Sideways. Since Don Cheadle did get nominated, finally, I think that Giamatti is now a strong contender for the not-at-all coveted title of Best Working Actor Never to Receive an Oscar Nomination.
- That Giamatti was not nominated is particularly surprising given that Thomas Hayden Church and Virginia Madsen did get nominated. It's strange to think of Church as an Oscar nominee; I still tend to think of him as Lowell from Wings.
- Two nominations for Jamie Foxx. Impressive, though I have to wonder if his Supporting Actor nod came on the coattails of his portrayal of Ray Charles. Mind you, I've not seen Collateral, but action thrillers, even those starring Tom Cruise, don't usually attract the attention of the Academy.
- Only one of the Best Actress nominees appeared in a Best Picture nominee: Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. The reverse is true in the Best Actor category, where all but one of the nominees came a Best Picture nominee. Thus proving… um, something. Something profound, I'm sure.
- The Best Picture Oscar goes to the producer, but all the other film awards—Animated Feature, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Animated Short, and Live Action Short—are presented to the director. Curious.
ETA: Technically, the Foreign Language Film award goes to the country that submits the film for consideration, but the director always accepts the award.
- There are a lot of foreign language films nominated outside of the Foreign Language Film category. Let's see, we've got A Very Long Engagement, nominated for Cinematography and Art Direction; House of Flying Daggers, Cinematography; The Motorcycle Diaries, Original Song and Adapted Screenplay; The Sea Inside, Makeup; and The Chorus, Original Song. The last two were also nominated for Foreign Language Film, which means that eight different foreign language films earned nine Academy Award nominations this year. That's probably a record, though I admit I haven't researched it.
- Given his track record, I'm sure that Martin Scorsese is thrilled to be up against another actor-turned-director this year.
- Wow, there are no Holocaust-themed documentaries nominated this year! But one of the nominated documentary shorts (Sister Rose's Passion)is about anti-Semitism in the Roman Catholic Church. Close enough.
- Whoops, make that nine foreign language films earning ten nominations: Documentary Feature nominee The Story of the Weeping Camel is in Mongolian. The Acedemy's summary of The Story of the Weeping Camel sounds intriguingly bizarre: "When a Mongolian camel gives birth to a rare white calf and then refuses to nurse it, the nomadic family that owns the herd tries desperately to keep the calf alive. They turn at last to a traditional remedy, enlisting the help of a musician to play a song that is said to make a mother camel weep and reclaim her child."
- Just a reminder: my technique for predicting the Foreign Laguage Film Golden Globe doesn't work for the Academy Awards. Good thing too, because I'd be hard pressed to choose between the nominees from Spain and Sweden. Who hates the Swedes?
- Yay, two Oscar nominations for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!
- Whoops, make that eleven foreign language films earning twelve nominations: Live Action Short Film nominee Little Terrorist is in Hindi, and Animated Short Film nominee Birthday Boy is in Korean.
- Hey, one of the nominated Animated Shorts (Ryan) is a documentary. I don't think I've ever heard of an animated documentary before.
- Before Sunset was nominated for Adapted Screenplay? From what is it adapted?
- Hmm, Ray didn't get a Screenplay nomination, while all the other Best Picture nominees did. Interesting. Sort of.
And that's all I've got for now! More later, maybe.