The Reader means Stepen Daldry's gotten nom'd for all 3 films he's made.
The full list of Oscar nominations is here, with expert opinion on them here. Talking points to make you look smart here.
I'm shocked that The Reader did so well! It raked in major nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and yet it stands at a mere 60% on RottenTomatoes.com with 150 reviews counted. Could it be the least positively reviewed film to get a Best Picture nod since...Ghost?
I would hazard a guess that its Nazi theme helped it with the Hollywood crowd. Anything about the Nazis—presuming it's good in the first place—gets an extra boost. Remember Adrien Brody's out-of-nowhere win for Best Actor? Not casting aspersions (I've been dying to see the movie), it's just an interesting trend to me. Hollywood also smiles upon movies with liberal social agendas, such as The Cider House Rules or Crash (realllly smiled upon it) or this year's Milk. It's not that they aren't good, it's that they're probably extra-favored for content as well as form.
I'm a bit miffed that Revolutionary Road was overlooked. I loved it! But it's also quite interesting considering the film was directed for Oscar winner Sam Mendes and stars two beloved Hollywood actors. Maybe the Academy felt giving nods to Brangelina was enough red-carpet consideration.
The eight nominations for Milk show a genuine affection and respect for the film, even if I think it will only win for Best Original Screenplay. ("Only" he says—that would be an amazing award.)
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button gets 13 nods, but I would guess it will lose most of those. It's such a BIG movie with so many potential nominees, but none jump out as sure-bet winners.
Following is the list of 2008 movies I've seen so far, arranged from my favorite to my least favorite. I would say I was totally enthusiastic about the Top 7, I liked the next 3 and the rest were mixed. Wow, I really didn't see that many movies I loved this year! Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on any of the movies I've seen or the ones I have yet to see (which I list at the end):
Sometimes, the obvious choice is the right choice.
Slumdog Millionaire: Heart-breaking and masterful.
Let The Right One In: Beautiful, scary and unexpected.
Revolutionary Road: A symphony of psychic pain; Kate Winslet is devastating.
Milk: An old-fashioned biopic with topical urgency and the male performances of the year.
In Bruges: A shocker! A warm and witty hit-man flick with heart.
Rachel Getting Married: An experimental triumph of naturalism with the female performance of the year from Anne Hathaway.
This documentary truly rocked.
Young@Heart: A feel-good (not always) documentary with laughs and tears.
I missed the SAG nominations, which are listed at Film Experience Blog. Nathaniel is not such a big Slumdog Millionaire fan, so was not impressed with its Best Ensemble nod. I will agree that while I found the acting to be above any critcism, the parts were not as demanding as in some other films of late. But...I loved the movie, so I'm happy.
Best Actor looks like what Oscar's list will probably look like, with Jenkins (The Visitor) the only one who could feasibly be displaced, probably by Dev Patel, who is considered Supporting by SAG.
Best Actress is similarly on the money.
Supporting Actor again ignores James Franco and Emile Hirsch in favor of Robert Downey Jr.'s goofy Tropic Thunder turn—could he actually win? Or will it go to the late Heath Ledger?
Supporting Actress tosses in Amy Adams and also Kate Winslet (in the wrong category, I'd say), but I think Viola Davis will snag this one.
Entertainment Weekly (December 26, 2008—January 2, 2009) also chimes in with its films of the year, via dueling Top 10s by Lisa Schwarzbaum (with whom I often disagree—she is very mainstream) and Owen Gleiberman (which whom I often disagree—he is so unpredictable)..after the jump...