Thursday, January 22, 2009

First impressions of Oscar

Wish I’d had the balls to predict yesterday – or even last week – that I didn’t think The Dark Knight would make the Best Picture final five. I know full well that anything I say now will sound like a self-serving attempt to seem prescient – or, worse, will be dismissed as a great big fat lie – but I simply didn’t feel the image-conscious Academy ever would honor what I’m sure many older (and not-so-older) members still view as a comic-book movie.

On the other hand, the Academy voters have evidenced a fair degree of nerviness for nominating Robert Downey Jr. for a performance sure to generate another round of strident complaints from humorless blockheads about “racial insensitivity,” “ethnic stereotyping,” and blah, blah, blah. And props to the Academy for not buying that “Best Supporting Actress” crap regarding Kate Winslet in The Reader.

Right off the top of my head, I’d say the front-runners in the top categories right now are: Slumdog Millionaire (my personal favorite among the top five), Danny Boyle, Mickey Rourke (barring a Frank Langella surge), Anne Hathaway, Heath Ledger (of course) and Viola Davis. But, of course, I could be wrong.

By the way: To keep the Oscarcast ratings pumped up, will the Academy delay the bound-to-be-emotional announcement of Best Supporting Actor until the final half-hour of the show?

Update: After a closer look at the complete list of nominations, I'd like to add: I'm surprised -- and, yes, I won't lie, a bit disappointed -- that Clint Eastwood wasn't nominated for Gran Torino. But major props to the Documentary Branch for remembering, and honoring, Trouble the Water.

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