It’s Oscar time again. This year’s Academy Awards promise a shake-up, necessary to boost low television ratings, but might create a more creative format as well.
It looks like the film with the highest amount of nominations (13), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, might get shutout of the major categories, but can still get a nice tally in technical categories.
The 81st Annual Academy Awards will broadcast on Sunday, February 22 at 8 p.m. on ABC with Hugh Jackman hosting from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Categories and my picks in bold.
• The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
• Frost/Nixon (Universal)
• Milk (Focus Features)
• The Reader (The Weinstein Company)
• Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight)
Slumdog Millionaire comes in the favorite. It depends if the Academy has more traditional voters (Benjamin Button) or more independent-minded voters (Slumdog). The Dark Knight should have been a nominee - definitely. It could be a key omission that keeps viewers away as well.
• David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
• Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
• Gus Van Sant, Milk
• Stephen Daldry, The Reader
• Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Boyle won so many other awards, including the Director’s Guild award, so he edges out Fincher in another close one
• Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
• Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
• Sean Penn in Milk
• Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
• Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler
Very tough to call. Penn did great in a role long digested in Hollywood (Robin Williams was considered early on), but Rourke fits an underdog template initiated during his Golden Globe-winning speech. Pitt will have to wait.
Best Supporting Actor
• Josh Brolin in Milk
• Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
• Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
• Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
• Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road
Ledger is the only white-faced hope for the deserving Knight to win a major award. Downey had to get nominated for something after an amazing year with more to come soon (like The Soloist).