Well, it wouldn't be Oscar nomination day if I wasn't outraged by the unjust exclusion of a worthy movie. This year, I'm outraged on behalf of The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which should have been one of the five nominees for Best Documentary Feature. To be fair, I haven't seen any of the five films that did get nominated, but I find it hard to believe they're significantly better than King of Kong, which, no lie, was one of the best films I saw last year. It may have suffered from not being about the War on Terror, which to this year's crop of nominees is what the Holocaust was in past years. Even Sicko, which is mostly about the crappiness of the American health care insurance systems, has a sequence about how prisoners of war being held at Guantanamo Bay have better access to health care than working class Americans. Only War/Dance avoids the subject altogether (it's about children living in a Uganda refugee camp who compete in a national music and dance festival), and maybe they just looked at the title and jumped to conclusions.
I'm also maybe a tiny bit outraged that none of the songs from Music and Lyrics were nominated for Best Song. I freely admit that Music and Lyrics was not a great movie, but I really liked it and I thought a couple of the songs were worthy of a nomination. I certainly didn't expect Enchanted to snag three of the nominees. (I did, of course, expect "That's How You Know" to get nominated, as I said back on November 11, 2007.)
So, let me look at the other nominees and see what comes to mind:
- No surprise seeing Tommy Lee Jones nominated for Best Actor; the only question was what film he'd be nominated for. given how many nominations No Country For Old Men, got, I'm a little surprised that Jones was nominated for In the Valley of Elah, but he was excellent in both, so it's good either way.
- Marion Cotillard? Never heard of her. I heard good things about La Vie en Rose though, so I'm OK with it. On the other hand, I heard nothing good about Elizabeth: The Golden Age, so I'm a little surprised to see Cate Blanchett nominated as Best Actress for that. Is this the first time an actress has been nominated twice for playing the same role in different films? I think it may be. I know Al Pacino was nominated twice for playing Michael Corleone in The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, but he's not an actress, is he?
- Ruby Dee! Sweet.
- Surf's Up? Really? Over The Simpsons Movie? Or even Meet the Robinsons? I think not. Not approved!
- Alas, alas for Joe Wright, director of Atonement. But good for Julian Schnabel, I guess.
- And on the day Norbit received an Academy Award nominated, the phrase "Oscar-nominated film" officially lost all its value. I might say the same about Transformers.
- Now here's a surprise nomination: "Falling Slowly" from Once. It's a good song, the best of the many songs featured in that movie, but I was under the impression that it was not written for that movie.
- I've seen two of the Best Picture nominees, Michael Clayton and No Country For Old Men. Of the two, I think the latter was a better movie, but I liked the former more. I wanted to see Juno on New Year's Eve, but the timing didn't work out right.
I have to admit, I'm not really feeling the Oscar love this year. Part of it that I suspect the ceremony will be adversely affected by the Writer's Strike. I mean, if the strike isn't settled by then and the WGA doesn't grant the producers of the show a waiver, I'll feel sort of obligated to not watch it. Is that silly of me? Maybe.