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PCR #409 (Vol. 9, No. 4) This edition is for the week of January 21--27, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
The 80th Annual Academy Award Nominations

Commentary by:
Michael A. Smith

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The 80th Annual Academy Award Nominations  by Mike Smith
Pirates! Pirates! Pirates!  by Terence Nuzum
FX – The Mike Herz Interview  by ED Tucker
DVD Grindhouse: Parts: The Clonus Horror  by Andy Lalino
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Starring: Actors
Directed by: Directors
Rated: From G to R
Running Time: As usual, too long!

(Please refer to my original predictions, first posted on the Crazed Fanboy homepage, January 22, at the bottom of this page)

Well, if you count my bonus picks I got 25 out of 30 this year. Not bad for an old man. But if you missed them, here are the nominees for the six major categories:

If you’re a movie nut like me, the third week in January is like Christmas. This is the week that Academy Award nominations are released and, for the 80th year, this past Tuesday was no exception. As in previous years, there were some sure things and surprises. From age 13 to 82, the acting nominees are a talented mix of new faces and old friends. As in most years, the more serious films drew the most nods, with “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” each earning eight nominations, including Best Picture. Right behind, with seven nominations, are “Atonement” and “Michael Clayton.” Both of these films also earned Best Picture nominations. Of course, in recent years there has always been a small, feel-good movie in the Best Picture race. This year that film is “Juno,” which earned a total of four nominations.

The Best Actor race features four actors that have been to the dance before in George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) and Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah). The newcomer to this category is Viggo Mortensen for his role in “Eastern Promises.” Clooney, Day-Lewis and Jones already have acting Oscars on their mantles while this marks Depp’s third nomination.

Best Actress is another mixture of old and new. Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age) joins two select groups in Oscar history. She joins Bing Crosby (Father O’Malley), Peter O’Toole (Henry II), Paul Newman (“Fast” Eddie Felson) and Al Pacino (Michael Corleone) in becoming the fifth actor to receive two nominations for playing the same character in different films. She was also nominated for playing Queen Elizabeth I in 1998’s “Elizabeth.” Joining Blanchett is Julie Christie (Away From Her), Laura Linney (The Savages), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) and Ellen Page (Juno). This is Christie’s fourth nomination. She won this award in 1966 for the film “Darling.” Linney has been nominated twice in the past.

Best Supporting Actor nominees include past Best Actor winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War) and past nominees Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton). It’s hard to believe that it took 53 years in Hollywood and dozens of memorable roles for Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) to finally earn an Oscar nomination. Nominee number five is Casey Affleck for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

In the Best Supporting Actress category Cate Blanchett reappears, nominated for her portrayal of Bob Dylan (no, that isn’t a typo) in “I’m Not There.” The rest of the nominees are first timers: Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) and Ruby Dee (American Gangster). OK, I was amazed at Hal Holbrook’s lack of nominations but Ruby Dee has been making movies since 1939 and had never been nominated. Ironically, both of them were born within a year of each other in Cleveland. Must have been something in the water!

In the Best Director race, only Joel Coen had been nominated in the past. This year both he and his brother, Ethan, are nominated for “No Country for Old Men,” marking the third time two people were nominated for directing the same film (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins won the Oscar for “West Side Story,” while Warren Beatty and Buck Henry were nominated for “Heaven Can Wait.”) The rest of the nominees have directed a combined eleven feature films between them, with the veteran being Paul Thomas Anderson (for his fifth film, “There Will Be Blood”), Julian Schnabel (his third film, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), Jason Reitman (only his second film, “Juno”) and Tony Gilroy, who hits the jackpot the first time out with Michael Clayton.

On the technical side, composer Alan Menken earned nominations 16, 17 and 18 for co-writing three songs for Disney's "Enchanted." This is the fourth time that Menken, who has won eight Oscars, has had multiple songs nominated in the same year.

Winners will be announced on February 24th.


MY ORIGINAL PREDICTIONS (posted early Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008):

And the nominees are...Once again I risk my crystal ball by giving MY list of Academy Award nominees for this year's 80th annual celebration. As usual, I've allowed myself a "bonus" choice in each category, which I usually use for a dark horse candidate or a film or person I think highly deserving. And so, without further ado:


"No Country For Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"
"Michael Clayton"
"Into the Wild"

Bonus: "Sweeney Todd," because EVERYONE loves a good old fashioned musical!


Joel and Ethan Coen for "No Country for Old Men"
Paul Thomas Anderson for "There Will Be Blood"
Joe Wright for "Atonement"
Julian Schnabel for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Sean Penn for "Into the Wild"

Bonus: Tony Gilroy for "Michael Clayton." It was a coin toss between Gilroy and "Sweeney Todd's" Tim Burton, but I'm giving the edge to Gilroy.


Daniel Day-Lewis for "There Will Be Blood"
George Clooney for "Michael Clayton"
Johnny Depp for "Sweeney Todd"
Viggo Mortensen for "Eastern Promises"
James McAvoy for "Atonement"

Bonus: Philip Seymour Hoffman for either "The Savages" or "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" With his supporting work in "Charlie Wilson's War," Hoffman had one hell of a hat trick this year, though I'm afraid his main roles will split the vote. And though I sense that Ryan Gosling is going to get nominated I don't understand the attention.


Julie Christie for "Away From Her"
Keira Knightley for "Atonement"
Marion Cotillard for "La Vie en Rose"
Angelina Jolie for "A Mighty Heart"
Amy Adams for "Enchanted"

Bonus: Ellen Page in "Juno." As I lamented in my "Walk Hard" review, comedy is not often appreciated but hopefully I'm proven wrong.


Javier Bardem for "No Country for Old Men"
Philip Seymour Hoffman for "Charlie Wilson's War"
Tom Wilkinson for "Michael Clayton"
Paul Dano for "There Will Be Blood"
Casey Affleck for "The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

Bonus: It's had to believe that at age 82 Hal Holbrook has never been nominated for an Oscar. Again, it was a coin flip between Holbrook and John Travolta for "Hairspray," with the winning toss going to Holbrook.


Amy Ryan for "Gone Baby Gone"
Cate Blanchett for "I'm Not There"
Saoirse Ronan for "Atonement"
Rube Dee for "American Gangster"
Tilda Swinton for "Michael Clayton"

Bonus: Catherine Keener for "Into the Wild"

This week's movie commentary, The 80th Annual Academy Award Nominations, is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.