Halfway to the Oscars, nomination-wise (and only through a slighly rigged system of counting...)

Been listening to a lot of my friends, old and new, discuss the Oscar nominations for 2009 and mention how few of the films they have seen, sometimes in an almost conspiratorial way regarding Hollywood (even if most of the nominated films would not be recognizable as "Hollywood" product in any year, past or present) and the Oscars' need to not allow popular fare into the major categories. Assuredly, I am as pissed (and shocked) as anyone over The Dark Knight getting largely cast aside, despite its not just financial but also huge critical success.

But what can you do? The Academy is the Academy is the Academy. It's hard to tell why they choose anything. Jen and I raced to Gran Torino two weekends ago, believing that it was bound for at least a half dozen noms, and it was shut out. They shot down Clint. Possibly because he and Morgan Freeman have their Mandela opus arriving next year, and the Academy didn't want to repeat themselves. Or maybe it just lost fair and square. Whatever... all I know is this:

55-and-a-half out of 111 nominations.

That's how many of the nominations I have seen. Exactly half.

How did I get to that number? Well, the half point comes from seeing an advance screening of Kung Fu Panda early last year, but not having seen the final product. So, Jen and I granted ourselves a half-point for seeing roughly half of the film. We have crammed several films into the last few weeks, mostly of what would be termed Oscar fodder: Slumdog, Button, Frost/Nixon... it has allowed us to get a jump start over most people.

After I post this, we will be heading directly to a showing of Doubt in Irvine, and that will add another five noms to our "seen" list. Jen, though, actually has three less points than I, since she did not get to see Bolt with me in Seattle, has not watched our DVD of the Herzog documentary yet, and did not go online like I did to watch Oktapodi, one of the nominated cartoons. And we will be hitting The Wrestler, Milk and The Reader over the next week or so, so we should have at least 2/3 knocked down well before the ceremony.

Biggest surprise of the list? A tie between not having seen any of the Best Actress noms at all and only one Supporting Actress role, and that we have seen all ten nominations for Sound and Sound Editing. Oops! How did we do that?

Not surprising? That we have seen all the Makeup and Visual Effect noms. What else would you expect? We like the superheroes. (Not so much the Button, but what are you gonna do?)

So, here's the nomination list, with the movies I have seen in brilliant red (the ones that I see after this post is up will appear in green eventually):

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Ceán Chaffin, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall
Frost/Nixon (2008): Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Eric Fellner
Milk (2008): Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks
The Reader (2008): Nominees to be determined
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Christian Colson

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Richard Jenkins for The Visitor (2007/I)
Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon (2008)
Sean Penn for Milk (2008)
Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Nominees:
Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Angelina Jolie for Changeling (2008)
Melissa Leo for Frozen River (2008)
Meryl Streep for Doubt (2008/I)
Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Josh Brolin for Milk (2008)
Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder (2008)
Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt (2008/I)
Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)
Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road (2008)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Amy Adams for Doubt (2008/I)
Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Viola Davis for Doubt (2008/I)
Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler (2008)

Best Achievement in Directing
Nominees:
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Stephen Daldry for The Reader (2008)
David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon (2008)
Gus Van Sant for Milk (2008)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Nominees:
Frozen River (2008): Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky (2008): Mike Leigh
In Bruges (2008): Martin McDonagh
Milk (2008): Dustin Lance Black
WALL·E (2008): Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, Jim Reardon

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
Doubt (2008/I): John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon (2008): Peter Morgan
The Reader (2008): David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Simon Beaufoy

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Nominees:
Changeling (2008): Tom Stern
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Claudio Miranda
The Dark Knight (2008): Wally Pfister
The Reader (2008): Roger Deakins, Chris Menges
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Achievement in Editing
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
The Dark Knight (2008): Lee Smith
Frost/Nixon (2008): Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
Milk (2008): Elliot Graham
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Chris Dickens

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Nominees:
Changeling (2008): James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
The Dark Knight (2008): Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
The Duchess (2008): Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
Revolutionary Road (2008): Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Nominees:
Australia (2008): Catherine Martin
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Jacqueline West
The Duchess (2008): Michael O'Connor
Milk (2008): Danny Glicker
Revolutionary Road (2008): Albert Wolsky

Best Achievement in Makeup
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Greg Cannom
The Dark Knight (2008): John Caglione Jr., Conor O'Sullivan
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008): Mike Elizalde, Thomas Floutz

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Alexandre Desplat
Defiance (2008): James Newton Howard
Milk (2008): Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman
WALL·E (2008): Thomas Newman

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Nominees:
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Gulzar("Jai Ho")
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A.R. Rahman, Maya Arulpragasam("O Saya")
WALL·E (2008): Peter Gabriel, Thomas Newman("Down to Earth")

Best Achievement in Sound
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten
The Dark Knight (2008): Ed Novick, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
WALL·E (2008): Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt
Wanted (2008): Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Nominees:
The Dark Knight (2008): Richard King
Iron Man (2008): Frank E. Eulner, Christopher Boyes
Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Tom Sayers
WALL·E (2008): Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood
Wanted (2008): Wylie Stateman

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Nominees:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008): Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
The Dark Knight (2008): Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Timothy Webber, Paul J. Franklin
Iron Man (2008): John Nelson, Ben Snow, Daniel Sudick, Shane Mahan

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Nominees:
Bolt (2008): Chris Williams, Byron Howard
Kung Fu Panda (2008): John Stevenson, Mark Osborne
WALL·E (2008): Andrew Stanton

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Nominees:
Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008)(Germany)
Entre les murs (2008)(France)
Revanche (2008)(Austria)
Okuribito (2008)(Japan)
Vals Im Bashir (2008)(Israel)

Best Documentary, Features
Nominees:
The Betrayal - Nerakhoon (2008): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath
Encounters at the End of the World (2007): Werner Herzog, Henry Kaiser
The Garden (2008/I): Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Man on Wire (2008): James Marsh, Simon Chinn
Trouble the Water (2008): Tia Lessin, Carl Deal

Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Nominees:
Conscience of Nhem En, The (2008): Steven Okazaki
Final Inch, The (2008): Irene Taylor Brodsky, Tom Grant
Smile Pinki (2008): Megan Mylan
Witness from the Balcony of Room 306, The (2008): Adam Pertofsky, Margaret Hyde

Best Short Film, Animated
Nominees:
La Maison en Petits Cubes: Kunio Kato
Ubornaya istoriya - lyubovnaya istoriya (2007): Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi (2007): Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand
Presto (2008): Doug Sweetland
This Way Up (2008): Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes

Best Short Film, Live Action
Nominees:
Auf der Strecke (2007): Reto Caffi
Manon sur le bitume (2007): Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont
New Boy (2007): Steph Green, Tamara Anghie
Grisen (2008): Tivi Magnusson, Dorthe Warnø Høgh
Spielzeugland (2007): Jochen Alexander Freydank

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