Oscar nominations — my own two bits

The Academy has spoken, and since everyone and his dog will be offering opinions on the nominees announced this morning, I won’t say all that much about them here myself.

However, it does startle me somewhat to see that Star Wars was shut out of the visual-effects category and nominated merely for its makeup. It would seem, then, that George Lucas’s fall from special-effects grace is complete. Twenty-plus years ago, the Academy had to invent special visual-effects awards for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi because the category didn’t even exist. But now that visual effects are a daily part of our lives? Six years ago, Episode I was nominated for three technical awards and lost them all to The Matrix; then, three years ago, Episode II was nominated for visual effects only, and lost to The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; and now, the best Episode III can do is a measly makeup award — and surely nobody thinks Palpatine’s rubber skin was all that effective, do they?

Anyway, with Star Wars out, the visual-effects category is now a three-way race between War of the Worlds, King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia — the last of which, I would argue, was rather iffy in this department. Meanwhile, in the makeup category, Episode III is up against Narnia and, uh, Cinderella Man.

I’m sure other thoughts will occur to me over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are the films that have been nominated for Oscars, ranked from those with the most nominations to those with only one. The titles of those I have seen are in bold:

8 nominations

  1. Brokeback Mountain — Picture, director (Ang Lee), adapted screenplay, cinematography, actor (Heath Ledger), supporting actor (Jake Gyllenhaal), supporting actress (Michelle Williams), original score

6 nominations

  1. Crash — Picture, director (Paul Haggis), original screenplay, supporting actor (Matt Dillon), editing, original song
  2. Good Night, and Good Luck. — Picture, director (George Clooney), original screenplay, cinematography, actor (David Straitharn), art direction

5 nominations

  1. Capote — Picture, director (Bennett Miller), adapted screenplay, actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), supporting actress (Catherine Keener)
  2. Memoirs of a Geisha — Cinematography, art direction, costume design, sound mixing, original score
  3. Munich — Picture, director (Steven Spielberg), adapted screenplay, editing, original score
  4. Walk the Line — Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), actress (Reese Witherspoon), costume design, editing, sound mixing

4 nominations

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — Makeup, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects
  2. The Constant Gardener — Adapted screenplay, supporting actress (Rachel Weisz), editing, original score
  3. King Kong — Art direction, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects
  4. Pride & Prejudice — Actress (Keira Knightley), art direction, costume design, original score

3 nominations

  1. Cinderella Man — Supporting actor (Paul Giamatti), editing, makeup
  2. War of the Worlds — Sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects

2 nominations

  1. A History of Violence — Adapted screenplay, supporting actor (William Hurt)
  2. Hustle & Flow — Actor (Terrence Howard), original song
  3. Mrs. Henderson Presents — Actress (Judi Dench), costume design
  4. North Country — Actress (Charlize Theron), supporting actress (Frances McDormand)
  5. Syriana — Original screenplay, supporting actor (George Clooney)
  6. TransAmerica — Actress (Felicity Huffman), original song

1 nomination

  1. Ausreisser (The Runaway) — Live action short film
  2. Badgered — Animated short film
  3. Batman Begins — Cinematography
  4. Cashback — Live action short film
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Costume design
  6. Darwin’s Nightmare — Documentary feature
  7. The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club — Documentary short
  8. Don’t Tell — Foreign language film
  9. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room — Documentary feature
  10. God Sleeps in Rwanda — Documentary short
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — Art direction
  12. Howl’s Moving Castle — Animated feature film
  13. Joyeux Noel — Foreign language film
  14. Junebug — Supporting actress (Amy Adams)
  15. The Last Farm — Live action short film
  16. March of the Penguins — Documentary feature
  17. Match Point — Original screenplay
  18. The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation — Animated short film
  19. Murderball — Documentary feature
  20. The Mushroom Club — Documentary short
  21. The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello — Animated short film
  22. The New World — Cinematography
  23. 9 — Animated short film
  24. A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin — Documentary short
  25. One Man Band — Animated short film
  26. Our Time Is Up — Live action short film
  27. Paradise Now — Foreign language film
  28. Six Shooter — Live action short film
  29. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days — Foreign language film
  30. The Squid and the Whale — Original screenplay
  31. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith — Makeup
  32. Street Fight — Documentary feature
  33. Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride — Animated feature film
  34. Tsotsi — Foreign language film
  35. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit — Animated feature film
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  • I’ll bet March of the Penguins takes it for documentary.

  • Thanks to Anders for noting that Narnia‘s visual effects were inferior not only to Revenge of the Sith‘s visual effects, but to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire‘s visual effects as well.

  • Yeah, and Peter, what about all those films who used CGI and such to such a great extent that the Academy probably didn’t even realize it (such as Batman Begins or hey, what about Sin City)?

    Talking to my brother it reminds me that the Academy likes to go for really obvious things…like talking animals or giant monkeys.

    Reminded us of the appocryphal tale of how 2001: A Space Odyssey didn’t even get nominated for the make-up Oscar©, and it ended up going to, of all things, Planet of the Apes. The reason? The Academy thought that the monkeys were real.

  • There was no category for Make-up Oscar in 1968. That category was created in 1981, due to the influence of _An American Werewolf in London_ (and, to a lesser extent, Andy Kaufman’s _Heartbeeps_).

    Had there been a category, I’m certain that both _2001_ and _Planet of the Apes_ would be in the running. But as it stands, I think the Academy did right by bestowing an honorary Oscar to the _Planet of the Apes_ makeup; it wasn’t so much that they looked real, but it vividly demonstrated how a person in great B-movie makeup can still turn in a serious performance. This was revolutionary back then. Ah… those were the days.

  • Gotta love them Hollywood urban legends. I love the story anyway. 😉

  • Rooting for, sight unseen:

    Crash: mostly because I was watching Paul Haggis’s “Due South” on tv when the rest of America (erm, the USA, sorry Peter!) was still stuck on NYPD Blue and X-Files, and it’d be nice to see him get some recog for a movie, not, well, about euthanasia

    Pride and Prejudice: for lead actress, just cuz I like Knightley, and for score, because the world needs more Italian-born, classically trained film composers, and Williams has too many Oscars already, and the other two guys are considered kind of “cool” in some Starbuckista circles.

    Corpse Bride for Best Animated Picture.

    If GNAGL were nominated for production/art design it ought to win, simply because Hollywood clearly needs more slick-looking, low-budget B&W; period pieces set in the 1950s (preferably with a little less politics and delusions of journalistic godhood).

    Narnia for makeup, as a consolation prize. Kong for FX, period.

  • Agreed on Corpse Bride. But Crash is easily the worst of the five Best Picture nominees.