Feb 02

Oscar Nominees for the 80th Annual Academy Awards

Oscar season commenced when nominees were released as Hollywood braces itself for the actual ceremony on February 24, 2008. As expected, there are very few blockbusters on the list. It has been known that the Oscars rarely favors commercially successful films. Most of them I haven’t seen yet and they look quite promising.

Included among the best pictures in 2007 is Atonement which stars Keira Knightly, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan. It is a film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s romantic novel which features the drama about a fledgling writer, Briony Tallis, who, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. Through a terrible and courageous act of imagination, she finds the path to her uncertain atonement, and to an understanding of the power of enduring love. Atonement has the advantage of already garnering the best film award in the Golden Globe and seems to be the heavy favorite. Another promising nominee is Juno. The main character, Juno (Ellen Page), is a 16-year old girl who gets herself pregnant and she finds foster parents for her unborn child. The movie explores the life of a teenage girl trying to cope with the consequences of irresponsibility. The story’s twist happens when Juno spends time with the prospective parents of her unborn child and develops an unusual closeness to the future dad which puts everyones plans into to the brink of chaos. Other nominees for best picture are Michael Clayton, There Will Be Blood, and No Country for Old Men.

Meanwhile, nominees for best actor are George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd), Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah), and surprise entry Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises). I’m rooting for Johnny Depp, of course. It’s about time versatility and eccentricity gets recognized in the Oscars. For best actress, the nominees are Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth), Julie Christie (Away from Her), Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), Laura Linney (The Savages), and Ellen Page (Juno). It is worth noting that Cate Blanchett is likewise nominated for Best Supporting Actress in the movie I’m Not There — one of the last movies made by the late Heath Ledger.

The list for other nominations is quite long. If you are interested in the other categories, just check them out in www.oscar.com. Last year’s movie releases seem lackluster compared to previous years. Unforgettable movies comparable to The Sixth Sense or The Lord of the Rings have been rare lately. I want movies that will either take my breath away with the ending or something that will make me resist closing my eyes with the cinematography or FX. I hope this is not a sign that Hollywood is running out of ideas. Otherwise, we all get stuck with sequels to Harry Potter or Spiderman.

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