Nominations for the 81stAcademy Awards are out, and, as is typical, there is no shortage of debate over some of the nominations. As expected, Heath Ledger received a posthumous nomination for best supporting actor for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. The film itself, however, received only technical nominations. It was widely speculated that, as the biggest blockbuster of the year, The Dark Knight would contend for best picture, but it was passed over in favor of a handful of other candidates: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, and Golden Globe best picture winner, Slumdog Millionaire.
The first three of those top film nominees also boast nominations for best leading actor: Brad Pitt, Frank Langella, and Sean Penn, respectively, who will contend with Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Mickey Rourke, who won the Golden Globe for best actor for his role in The Wrestler.
However, what happens at the Golden Globes is not always an indication of what to expect with the Oscars. As if to underline that point, the part that earned Kate Winslet an Oscar nod for best leading actress (The Reader) is the same role for which she received a Golden Globe for best supporting actress. Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married), Angelina Jolie (Changeling), Melissa Leo (Frozen River), and Meryl Streep (Doubt) round out the top actress Oscar nominations.
The best supporting actress nominees include Amy Adams (Doubt), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Viola Davis (Doubt), Taraji P. Henderson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler).
Also passed over for best picture was the Pixar hit Wall-E, which, though nominated for best animated feature against Bolt and Kung Fu Panda, will provide further fuel to the argument that the existence of a best animation category unfairly prevents some animated features from being considered for best picture overall. Wall-E did receive 5 other nominations for musical and technical categories. Other potential snubs include Revolutionary Road, which earned best acting nominations at the Golden Globes for Leonardo DiCaprio and Winslet, as well as best director and best picture (only Winslet won).
Some speculated that Clint Eastwood might earn an acting nomination for his lead role in Gran Torino. Though he didn’t, it’s worth noting the picture’s only Golden Globe nomination was for best original song-a tune Eastwood himself wrote.
Including its best picture nomination, Golden Globe darling Slumdog Millionaire was nominated in nine categories, with two songs nominated for best musical selection.
The 2009 Oscars will air on ABC on February 22 at 8pm ET.
The Oscars: Nominee List. Oscar.com.
Golden Globes Nominations and Winners. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Annie Barrett. 2009 Oscar nominations: Who got snubbed? Popwatch (ew.com).