Oscar Nominations Announced

As much as things change, they always stay the same. Something along those lines can be said about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the quaint little awards gala they hold every single February. As much as fresh, engaging cinema may be released every year by extremely worthy artists, they still seem to want to stroke the ever-growing ego of one Clint Eastwood. Such is the case with this year’s Oscar nominees. I digress.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Babel
The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

It was very easy to predict 3 of these noms as Babel, The Departed and The Queen have all been front runners for some time now. Babel, thought to always the bridesmade and never the bride, had tons of nominations and didn’t win much until the last award of the Golden Globes – which just so happened to be Best Picture. Who knows what to make of that. The Departed and The Queen had also been nomination powerhouses, but they had at least garnered some serious hardware leading up to now. It is also not too surprising to see Little Miss Sunshine on this list, as it was hands down the best film of the year (so say I). It was honored as such by the Producers Guild last week. But what about Letters from Iwo Jima? Clint Eastwood got a free pass on Flags of Our Fathers being a huge disappointment by moving Letters up from a 2007 release to a late December limited showing – and he gets nominated? Come on Academy, you are better than this. How about something original and otherwise innovative like Children of Men or Dreamgirls or even Pan’s Labyrinth? Talk about some serious snub-age. You never fail to disappoint AMPAS. Hopefully you do the right thing and chose Little Miss Sunshine over Clint this year.

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O’Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

No major shake-up here, but there is one delightful surprise. Heading into the latter stages of this awards season, Ryan Gosling was a fringe contender for this category, so it is nice to see him get nominated. He is still a long shot to take down the tour de force that is Forest Whitaker, though. Who got snubbed? Sacha Baron Cohen, that’s who.

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

The usual suspects here as well. Get ready for the Helen vs. Meryl battle. Streep is my front runner, but the critics and everyone else for that matter have been all over Helen Mirren like she cured cancer.

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

It has taken us four categories to get to a nomination for Dreamgirls – bummer. All very deserving performances here, especially the crass and lovable performance by Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine. This will be a tough one to call later on when it gets closer to prediction time.

Best Supporting Actress
Adrianna Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Everyone fell in love with Abigail Breslin this year, but they are still standing and applauding Jennifer Hudson. Hudson’s performance in Dreamgirls was beyond startling, it was electrifying. And there is no, no, no, no way she’s going home without an award on Oscar night – not after all this (well deserved) hype.

Best Director
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Alejandro Gonz¡lez I±¡rritu, Babel
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

There is that Eastwood guy again… But this is really Marty’s year, isn’t it? While Scorsese is the odds on favorite to walk off with the award, don’t be surprised if Paul Greengrass or Alejandro Gonz¡lez I±¡rritu go in for the steal. That is, of course, if the Academy is done sitting on Clint’s lap.

Those are the major awards, so I will spare you the painful analysis and just list the rest. One thing of note, though, is that the afore mentioned films that got snubbed (Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, Dreamgirls) did receive some love by way of the more technical awards. Dreamgirls scored 3 nominations in the Best Song category, which is more than impressive. Take a gander at the best of the rest below:

Best Original Screenplay
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel
Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis, Letters from Iwo Jima
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth
Peter Morgan, The Queen

Best Adapted Screenplay
Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Dan Mazer, Todd Phillips, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Alfonso Cuar³n, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Children of Men
William Monahan, The Departed
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, Little Children
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal

Best Achievement in Cinematography
The Black Dahlia: Vilmos Zsigmond
Children of Men: Emmanuel Lubezki
The Illusionist: Dick Pope
Pan’s Labyrinth: Guillermo Navarro
The Prestige: Wally Pfister

Best Achievement in Editing
Babel: Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
Blood Diamond: Steven Rosenblum
Children of Men: Alfonso Cuar³n, Alex Rodr­guez
The Departed: Thelma Schoonmaker
United 93: Clare Douglas, Richard Pearson, Christopher Rouse

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Dreamgirls: John Myhre, Nancy Haigh
The Good Shepherd: Jeannine Claudia Oppewall, Gretchen Rau, Leslie E. Rollins
Pan’s Labyrinth: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: Rick Heinrichs, Cheryl Carasik
The Prestige: Nathan Crowley, Julie Ochipinti

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Curse of the Golden Flower: Chung Man Yee
The Devil Wears Prada: Patricia Field
Dreamgirls: Sharen Davis
Marie Antoinette: Milena Canonero
The Queen: Consolata Boyle

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Babel: Gustavo Santaolalla
The Good German: Thomas Newman
Notes on a Scandal: Philip Glass
Pan’s Labyrinth: Javier Navarrete
The Queen: Alexandre Desplat

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
An Inconvenient Truth: Melissa Etheridge(“I Need To Wake Up”)
Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler, Anne Preven(“Listen”)
Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Siedah Garrett(“Love You I Do”)
Cars: Randy Newman(“Our Town”)
Dreamgirls: Henry Krieger, Willie Reale(“Patience”)

Best Achievement in Makeup
Apocalypto: Aldo Signoretti, Vittorio Sodano
Click: Kazuhiro Tsuji, Bill Corso
Pan’s Labyrinth: David Mart­, Montse Rib©

Best Achievement in Sound
Apocalypto: Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell, Fernando C¡mara
Blood Diamond: Andy Nelson, Anna Behlmer, Ivan Sharrock
Dreamgirls: Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Willie D. Burton
Flags of Our Fathers: John T. Reitz, David E. Campbell, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: Paul Massey, Christopher Boyes, Lee Orloff

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Apocalypto: Sean McCormack, Kami Asgar
Blood Diamond: Lon Bender
Flags of Our Fathers: Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
Letters from Iwo Jima: Alan Robert Murray
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: George Watters II, Christopher Boyes

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest: John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall
Poseidon: Boyd Shermis, Kim Libreri, Chas Jarrett, John Frazier
Superman Returns: Mark Stetson, Richard R. Hoover, Neil Corbould, Jon Thum

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Cars: John Lasseter
Happy Feet: George Miller
Monster House: Gil Kenan

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
After the Wedding(Denmark)
Days of Glory(Algeria)
Pan’s Labyrinth(Mexico)
The Lives of Others(Germany)
Water(Canada)

Best Documentary, Features
Deliver Us from Evil: Amy Berg, Frank Donner
An Inconvenient Truth: Davis Guggenheim
Iraq in Fragments: James Longley, Yahya Sinno
Jesus Camp: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
My Country My Country: Laura Poitras, Jocelyn Glatzer

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
The Blood of Yingzhou District: Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
Recycled Life: Leslie Iwerks, Mike Glad
“Rehearsing a Dream”: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon
“Two Hands”: Nathaniel Kahn, Susan Rose Behr

Best Short Film, Animated
The Danish Poet: Torill Kove
Lifted: Gary Rydstrom
The Little Matchgirl: Roger Allers, Don Hahn
Maestro (2006): G©za M. T³th
No Time for Nuts: Chris Renaud, Mike Thurmeier

Best Short Film, Live Action
Binta and the Great Idea: Javier Fesser, Luis Manso
‰ramos pocos: Borja Cobeaga
“Helmer & Son”: S¸ren Pilmark, Kim Magnusson
The Saviour: Peter Templeman, Stuart Parkyn
West Bank Story: Ari Sandel

That’s all of them. Keep with us here at FSR for more coverage of Oscar Mania over the coming weeks, and stay tuned this afternoon as we announce the 2006 Film School Rejects Honor Roll!