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January 22, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | January 22, 2009 |

What’s sort of remarkable about this year’s Oscar nominations is that, while almost all of the nominations were safe, dull, and expected, there weren’t a lot of snubs. Unfortunately, in 2008, there simply wasn’t that much to choose from. Hell, in some categories (supporting actor, excluded) even from amongst the nominees, it’s almost like picking the lesser evil. (The Razzies, on the other hand: There were way too many to choose from). It was all very unsatisfying. Granted, there were some really good performances this year, but aside from Heath Ledger’s Joker and, perhaps, Robert Downey’s turn in Tropic Thunder, there wasn’t really anything transcendent, like Tom Hanks in Philadelphia or Ledger in Brokeback Mountain or even Russell Crowe in The Insider (I liked Langella a lot in Frost/Nixon, but the problem with that performance was the he was a better Nixon than Nixon was.). There just weren’t that many performances that took your breath away. That makes choosing five snubs a fairly difficult endeavor this year, but here goes (Note: I did not see Happy-Go-Lucky so can not offer an opinion on the snub of Sally Hawkins):

5. Sam Rockwell for Best Actor in Snow Angels: It’s a movie no one saw, but Sam Rockwell (who also had a great turn in Choke) was flat-out phenomenal, and what was even more impressive was that he wasn’t anything like the Sam Rockwell characters we’re accustomed to — there was none of the Rockwell bravado, no swagger, and zero charm. He was a depressed, drunken, angry wife beater, and he was a scary motherfucker. When he was onscreen, your heart just kind of stopped.

4.Ben Kingsley for Best Supporting Actor in The Wackness: Another movie very few saw (I think it may have been released around the same time as The Dark Knight, so it vanished instantly), I think Prisco summed up Kinglsey’s performance in this phenomenal movie the best: “Forget every guru, every dragon villain, everything. Wash your mind clean. From his bizarre long hair to his weird honking accent, he’s a motherfucking delight to watch on screen. At any moment, he could have plummeted into complete cutesy caricature, but watching him and Peck on screen, with their no-bullshit strange friendship, is what movie watching is made for. Between Sexy Beast and this, he’s got a permanent Christopher Walken Pass for Life.”

3. Bruce Springsteen for Best Original Song for “The Wrestler”: I don’t disagree with the three choices the Academy made for best original song (two from Slumdog Millionaire and one for WALL-E), but why limit it to only three choices, especially when this amazing Springsteen song (which won the Golden Globe) could’ve been nominated, too? Hell: It would’ve meant that Springsteen would’ve been at the Oscars, which would’ve brought in a few more viewers than what looks to be an otherwise lackluster telecast, ratings-wise. Plus, it was just a flat-out great song, and actually added as much to The Wrestler as Evan Rachel Wood did.

2. Let the Right One In for Best Foreign Language Film: Get the fuck out of here. No. Really. Get the fuck out of here. I was disappointed that Tell No One didn’t get a nomination, but France submitted The Class instead (our review of that won’t be out until next week). But Let the Right One In was not only the best foreign language film of the year, but was easily better than all five of the Best Picture nominations. This is a true goddamn travesty, and it also means that the movie will probably be ignored even more by mainstream audiences, so that the Drew Goddard remake in development will be the only version most folks will ultimately be familiar with. And that’s a real goddamn shame becuase Let the Right One In was one of the most haunting romances I’ve ever seen.

1. The Dark Knight for Best Picture and Christoper Nolan for Best Director: Come on. Even most of those who thought Christian Bale’s gravelly voice was obnoxious, that the movie was a half-hour too long, or who thought that The Dark Knight didn’t deserve to be our number one film of the year have to agree that it’s better than a couple of the Best Picture nominations (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for instance). Why deny The Dark Knight simply because it was the more entertaining flick? It was also a masterpiece. At the very least, Nolan should’ve gotten a Best Director nomination; after all, he pulled that performance out of Ledger, and he orchestrated the greatest comic-book film of all time. Giving The Dark Knight the snub, unfortunately, completely obliterates the already sad perception most people have of the Academy Awards. It can’t be because it made so much money — after all, Titanic won everything, and is the biggest box-office grosser of all time, and The Dark Knight is a hell of a lot better than it was. There’s just no good reason to snub The Dark Knight and, especially, Nolan, except that the Academy refuses to be tainted by a comic-book film. Well, fuck ‘em.

A Seriously Random List XLVI / Dustin Rowles

Lists | January 22, 2009 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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