CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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If I chose the Oscar Nominees…

Written by Christopher Beaubien • January 26, 2009 • 2 Comments

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If I chose the nominees, none of that would have happened. Permit me to unlock this web page with the key of film obsession. Beyond it is another dimension- a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of liberties. You’re moving into a space of both shadow and substance, of crimes and misdemeanors. You’ve just crossed over into . . . the Beaubien Zone. In here, I am the sole voter of the 81st Annual Academy Awards. To make it more interesting, I will not recognize any of the existing nominees from that thing we’ll call reality, as much as it pains me to see the Best Supporting Actor category without the Michael Shannon nomination. Not only is the challenge more enticing, but it also works as a collection of those deserving – some even more – who were snubbed. Now this would have been a far more entertaining Oscar Night!

Best Picture

Synecdoche, New York (2008): Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Sidney Kimmel
In Bruges (2008): Graham Broadbent, Peter Czernin
The Dark Knight (2008): Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas
Revolutionary Road (2008): Bobby Cohen, Sam Mendes, Scott Rudin
Let the Right One In (2008): Carl Molinder, John Nordling
Special Mention: Wendy and Lucy (2008): Larry Fessenden, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Philip Seymour Hoffman for Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Brendon Gleeson for In Bruges (2008)
François Cluzet for Ne Le Dis à Personne (Tell No One) (2008)
Lee Pace for The Fall (2008)
Michael Shannon for Shotgun Stories (2008)

I was very tempted to also nominate Philippe Petit from Man on Wire for Best Actor. True, he is just playing himself, then again, he is always performing. Plus he does his own stunts!

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Kristen Scott Thomas for Il y a Longtemps Que Je T’Aime (I’ve Loved You So Long) (2008)
Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road (2008)
Inés Efron for XXY (2008)
Lina Leandersson for Let the Right One In (2008)
Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Special Mention: Michelle Williams for Wendy and Lucy (2008)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Eddie Marsen for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Bill Irwin for Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Aaron Eckhart for The Dark Knight (2008)
Wally Dalton for Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Ralph Finnes for In Bruges (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Samantha Morton for Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Elsa Zylberstein for Il y a Longtemps Que Je T’Aime (I’ve Loved You So Long) (2008)
Marina Hands for Ne Le Dis à Personne (Tell No One) (2008)
Rosemary DeWitt for Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Olivia Thirlby for Snow Angels (2008)

Best Achievement in Directing

Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight (2008)
Charlie Kaufman for Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Tomas Alfredson for Let the Right One In (2008)
Martin McDonagh for In Bruges (2008)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Synecdoche, New York (2008): Charlie Kaufman
Wendy and Lucy (2008): Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt
The Fall (2008): Dan Gilroy, Nico Soultanakis, Tarsem Singh
My Winnipeg (2008): Guy Maddin
Rachel Getting Married (2008): Jenny Lumet

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Dark Knight (2008): Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Let the Right One In (2008): John Ajvide Lindqvist
Tell No One (2008): Guillaume Canet
Snow Angels (2008): David Gordon Green
XXY (2008): Lucia Puenzo

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Let the Right One In (2008): Hoyte Van Hoytema
The Fall (2008): Colin Watkinson
My Winipeg (2008): Jody Shariro
In Bruges (2008): Eigil Byrld
XXY (2008): Natasha Braier

Best Achievement in Editing

Tell No One (2008): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
Let the Right One In (2008): Tomas Alfredson, Daniel Jonsäter
Wendy and Lucy (2008): Elliot Graham
Happy-Go-Lucky (2008): Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
Synecdoche, New York (2008): Lee Smith

Best Achievement in Art Direction

The Fall (2008): Ged Clarke
Let the Right One In (2008): Eva Norén
Synecdoche, New York (2008): Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
My Winnipeg (2008): Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
Burn After Reading (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

The Dark Knight (2008): James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer
Tell No One (2008): Mathieu Chedid
Standard Operating Procedure (2008): Danny Elfman
Wendy and Lucy (2008): Will Oldham
In Bruges (2008): Carter Burwell
Special Mention: Let the Right One In (2008): Johan Söderqvist

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Synecdoche, New York (2008): Deanna Storey (“Little Person”)
Gran Torino (2008): Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum (“Gran Torino”)
The Wrestler (2008): Bruce Springsteen (“The Wrestler”)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Waltz With Bashir (2008): Ari Folman
$9.99 (2008): Tatia Rosenthal
Sita Sings the Blues (2008): Nina Paley

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) (2008) (Sweden)
My Winnipeg (2008) (Canada)
XXY (2008) (Argentina)
Ne Le Dis à Personne (Tell No One) (2008) (Belgium)
Il y a Longtemps Que Je T’Aime (I’ve Loved You So Long) (2008) (Belgium)

Special Mention: Auf Der Anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) (2008) (Germany)

If Canada’s Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions, dir. Denys Arcand) was nominated for (and won) the Best Foriegn prize back in 2003, then Maddin’s kaleidoscopic docudream My Winnipeg deserves to contest against all the other countries. I know Technically, Guy Maddin’s swimmy prose should be considered a language alien to English, but that’s just me.

“Wait a minute!” someone cries. “You can’t nominate two films from the same country!” It is a stupid rule that each country has to submit only one film to the oh-so-precious! Academy Awards. What? Would the labour of watching more worthy entries from the same country out of hundreds more be too much blood and sweat for the American Foreign Film Jury to spend? In my universe, there would be no stupid rules!

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  • http://politicaljunkie.blogspot.com john marzan

    how can you leave out LTROI in the best picture category? is “revolutionary road” and “wendy and lucy” really better?

  • http://www.rainbeau.ca Christopher Beaubien

    You caught me with a bloody palm dripping on the floor in the bowels of a Swedish exercise center! On my list of the Best Films of 2008, which I will publish soon, I have “Let the Right One In” at #3. “Revolutionary Road” and “Wendy and Lucy” are in the Top Ten, but they are not numbered one and two.

    When making the alternate Oscar nominations, I kept the Best Picture nominees within the American releases, which reflects the Academy’s frustrating insistence of keeping foreign films out of that ballot – rarely do they vote at least one in (re: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, 2000). I don’t have a bias towards the American films, I just figured I could nominate more films by putting “Let The Right One In” (a shoo-in if Sweden had put it in) in the Best Foreign Film category and see that powerful indie “Wendy and Lucy” – the antithesis of films like “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” – run for Best Picture.

    Pondering your comment, I concede that it would be more gratifying to see that masterful vampire film, which is about a great deal more than just vampires, run for the Best Picture of 2008. After all, I did nominate Tomas Alfredson for Best Director.