Best Picture:

What Won?:
Slumdog Millionaire
What Should've Won?:
The Dark Knight

Out of the five nominees that were chosen, I actually agree with the Academy that Slumdog Millionaire was the best film out of those five. However, they got the nominations all wrong as The Dark Knight and The Wrestler were the two best films of the year and neither film garnered nominations in this category. For the academy to nominate films like The Reader and Frost/Nixon over those two films is pretty pathetic. Both are solid films, but are they Best Picture worthy? I don’t see how you can make that argument. Oh well, we all knew Slumdog was going to win anyway.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Who Won?: Sean Penn,
Who Should've Won?: Mickey Rourke,
The Wrestler

Mickey Rourke's performance in The Wrestler makes every other performance of the year seem emotionless. He graces the screen with such pure and real emotion, we connect with the character from the immediate opening shot of him sitting in that classroom. It was such a risky thing for Rourke to do, but boy did it pay off. After this performance, the chances of Rourke winning an Oscar before his career is over are probably close to nothing. If he can’t win for the performance he gave in this film, I don't know what the Academy wants him to do to bring home that gold statue.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Who Won?: Kate Winslet,
The Reader
Who Should've Won?: Anne Hathaway,
Rachel Getting Married

Kate Winslet is a phenomenal actress and I can live with her victory in this category simply because she has given so many good performances in her career that she was definitely going to win one sooner or later. However, I actually think her performance in Revolutionary Road was more qualified for the award, and I'm still not quite sure why the Academy decided to forget about her role in that film and acknowledge her work in The Reader. With all that being said, the best female performance of 2008 was...Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married. Her work in that film was absolutely unbelievable. It is such an intense performance that it almost knocks you off your feet. I had no idea she had that kind of depth as an actress, but she completely nailed every part of that performance. Enough said.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Who Won?: Heath Ledger,
The Dark Knight
Who Should've Won?: Heath Ledger,
The Dark Knight

Come on, who are we kidding? I shouldn't even bother to support my choice, but I will anyway because I love the performance. Heath's transformation into The Joker is one of the greatest things I have ever seen on film. He controls the screen every single second he is on it and he is constantly in our minds even when the character isn't on screen. Outside of his work in The Dark Knight, I also think Heath should've won the Oscar for his work in Brokeback Mountain. For all of you Dark Knight fans out there who haven't seen Brokeback Mountain, give it a watch and you will see an actor with some remarkable versatility. Let's recap his two Oscar quality performances: In 2005, he played a somewhat bisexual cowboy in a romantic western epic. In 2008, he played one of the most notorious villains in the history of film and made Jack Nicholson look like Mary Poppins. That's a special actor, folks.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Who Won?: Penélope Cruz,
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Who Should've Won?: Penélope Cruz,
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

This was an incredibly close category as Cruz, Davis, Adams, and Tomei all give performances that are worthy of an Oscar. I think that the performances of Davis and Tomei just might have been a little bit too small to win. Davis only graces the screen for one scene, and as for The Wrestler, it is Mickey Rourke's film. Therefore, Tomei's performance, and even Evan Rachel Wood’s performance for that matter, didn’t have quite as much screen time as it could've had. That leaves Adams and Cruz, and to be honest, I would've been happy with either one. They both deserve Oscars, and I am happy that Cruz got one. I'm sure Adams will get one pretty darn soon.

Best Director:

Who Won?: Danny Boyle,
Slumdog Millionaire
Who Should've Won?: Christopher Nolan,
The Dark Knight

This is another tough category for me because I felt the wrong people were nominated. Out of these five, Boyle definitely deserved to win, but I felt the two best directorial achievements of the year were Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky made decisions that took The Wrestler to another level. He casted one of the most controversial people in Hollywood and got a performance out of him that will be remembered forever. He also decided to shoot the film with handheld cameras in a documentary style; a decision that made the film more real and believable. In any other hands, The Wrestler would've come off as a corny and cheap film, but Aronofsky creates the most emotionally effective work of the year. As for Christopher Nolan, he made a film that reached heights of critical and commercial success that have never been matched before in cinema history. He created a film experience that was the best one all year. This film transcended the superhero genre to create a real crime saga that didn’t necessarily feel entirely like a comic book movie. We have already seen the effects of studios trying to go for "darker" superhero movies, not to mention the Academy's decision to increase the field of Best Picture nominations to ten. Well, Nolan started it, and he should've been rewarded for it.

Those are my thoughts on the top Oscar categories. Please weigh in with your selections in the comments sections. Do you agree or disagree with my selections? I would love to hear what you think about the accuracy of the nominations and winners.


Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with you on Mickey Rourke for best actor. No question at all.

Nolan for best director was a tough choice. I actually think The Dark Knight deserved the Oscar just as much as Slumdog did. Both are cinematic masterpieces in my opinion, although I enjoyed The Dark Knight's themes a lot more.

NIce review bud,

Danny King said...

Thanks AJ. I definitely agree that The Dark Knight is built heavily on themes while Slumdog is almost all story. For director, I was basically looking at who had the toughest job. None of the director nominees also wrote the scripts for their movies, which Nolan did. In addition, I think one of the toughest things to do is to make an epic blockbuster that basically exceeds every expectation, and I believe that Nolan accomplished that.

Anonymous said...

Great article. The only difference I would make is that, although the Dark Knight was better than the Best Picture nominees, I thought Milk was the strongest of the nominees.

Danny King said...

Milk was a very good film and would probably be 2nd or 3rd in my opinion of the Best Picture noms. It just didn't quite have the emotional impact that Slumdog had on me, but I will say that it is certainly the strongest ensemble cast of all the Best Pic nominees

Anonymous said...

8 mile should have one best picture... nmah!

Danny King said...

I don't believe 8 mile was nominated for anything in 2009.

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