Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And The Nominees Are ...

The annual ritual of Hollywood’s early, early morning announcement of the nominees for the Academy Awards has arrived and the speculation can finally end. With no clear cut favorites heading into the awards season a couple of months ago, numerous movies had taken home some honors leading towards the Jan. 23 event, when the full list of Oscar nominees could be revealed. And for those looking for a few surprises mixed in with the highly expected cavalcade of nominees, the Academy certainly didn’t disappoint. Visit here for a complete list of the nominees.

The following is a roundup of some of the major categories and an early look at the prospects for some of the nominees.

“The Departed”
“Letters from Iwo Jima”
“Little Miss Sunshine”
“The Queen”

The surprise in this category is the omission of “Dreamgirls,” which had garnered a lot of critical acclaim and an armful of awards in recent weeks. Previous big budget musicals such as “Moulin Rouge” and especially recent Best Picture winner “Chicago” had made a splash with the Academy. So, while “Dreamgirls” earned numerous nominations in other categories, including three (!) for Best Original Song alone, it will miss out on a chance at the top prize.

Clint Eastwood, “Letters From Iwo Jima”
Stephen Frears, “The Queen”
Paul Greengrass, “United 93”
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, “Babel”
Martin Scorsese, “The Departed”

Continuing a seemingly normal trend from the Academy, not all the Best Picture nominees snag Best Director nominations, as Paul Greengrass slips in ahead of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for their work on “Little Miss Sunshine.” Of course, maybe the Academy isn’t keen on singling out work taken on by two people, instead of one. On paper, this would seem to be a showdown between two stalwart directors, Eastwood and Scorsese. Could this finally be Marty’s year?

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

Interestingly enough, not one of the performances honored in this category is featured in a Best Picture nominee. That said, there’s plenty of good work on display here, with Forest Whittaker having been victorious in many awards ceremonies leading up to now.

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

Snagging her record-setting 14th nomination, Meryl Streep is also the lone American in this category, as she’ll go up against some very formidable competition, led by Helen Mirren, who is undoubtedly the favorite.

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

In what maybe the most eclectic group of nominees, Eddie Murphy would seem to be the sentimental favorite in the category, but it’s good to see Mark Wahlberg and Jackie Earle Haley get some love from the Academy, too. For those not familiar with Haley, if you’ve ever seen the 1976 version of “The Bad News Bears,” you’ll know him better as rebellious outfielder Kelly Leak.

Adriana Barraza, “Babel”
Cate Blanchett, “Notes on a Scandal”
Abigail Breslin, “Little Miss Sunshine”
Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”
Rinko Kikucki, “Babel”

Jennifer Hudson has practically swept all the supporting actress awards leading up to the Oscars for her work in “Dreamgirls,” in what is her movie debut. So, she’s the odds on pick, but kudos to the Academy for handing out a nomination to 10-year-old Abigail Breslin.

“Letters from Iwo Jima”
“Little Miss Sunshine”
“The Queen”
“Pan's Labyrinth”

There’s no clear cut favorite in this category, or so it seems. But a win for “Letters from Iwo Jima” would make it two years in a row in the same category for Paul Haggis, who earned an Oscar last year for his work on “Crash.”

”Children of Men”
“The Departed”
“Little Children”
“Notes on a Scandal”

You’ve got some heavy material with some very adult situations in this category, but then again, you’ve also got “Borat” here. While its a bit disappointing that Sacha Baron Cohen didn’t get a Best Actor nod for his fearless performance as the title character, at least the Academy didn’t ignore the film altogether.

No comments: