Oscar nominations — two new milestones


The Academy has spoken, and while I haven’t had a chance to check out any of the other commentaries out there yet, I did want to note one or two things.

Fanboys may be disappointed that neither The Dark Knight nor WALL•E were nominated for Best Picture. But eight nominations for a superhero movie, and six for an animated film, are certainly nothing to sneeze at. They might even represent new milestones.

Re: superhero movies. Superman (1978) had three nominations, in addition to a special achievement award, and all of its sequels and spin-offs were ignored, with the exception of a single nomination for Superman Returns (2006). The first three Batman (1989-1995) films had between one and three nominations each, and Batman Begins (2005) had just one, for cinematography. None of the X-Men (2000-2006) movies were ever nominated, and only the first two Spider-Man (2002-2004) films received any nominations: two for the first film, three for the second. I’d be surprised if any of the other, lesser-regarded comic-book franchises have done any better. So the eight nominations for The Dark Knight — including the supporting-actor nod for Heath Ledger — represent a real breakthrough, in that sense.

Re: animated films. Last year, Ratatouille (2007) was nominated for five awards, which as far as I can tell was sort of a record, but sort of not. Prior to that, Beauty and the Beast (1991) had six nominations — but three of them were in the same category, so it was never eligible for more than four awards that year. WALL•E settles the matter by having six nominations in six different categories, and thus becoming probably the first animated film that has ever had the potential to win up to six Oscars.

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:

13 nominations

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — Picture, director (David Fincher), adapted screenplay, actor (Brad Pitt), supporting actress (Taraji P. Henson), cinematography, film editing, art direction, costume design, makeup, original score, sound mixing, visual effects

10 nominations in 9 categories

  1. Slumdog Millionaire — Picture, director (Danny Boyle), adapted screenplay, cinematography, film editing, original score, original song (x2), sound editing, sound mixing

8 nominations

  1. The Dark Knight — Supporting actor (Heath Ledger), cinematography, film editing, art direction, makeup, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects
  2. Milk — Picture, director (Gus Van Sant), original screenplay, actor (Sean Penn), supporting actor (Josh Brolin), film editing, costume design, original score

6 nominations

  1. WALL•E — Animated feature film, original screenplay, original score, original song, sound editing, sound mixing

5 nominations

  1. Frost/Nixon — Picture, director (Ron Howard), adapted screenplay, actor (Frank Langella), film editing
  2. The Reader — Picture, director (Stephen Daldry), adapted screenplay, actress (Kate Winslet), cinematography

5 nominations in 4 categories

  1. Doubt — Adapted screenplay, actress (Meryl Streep), supporting actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), supporting actress (Amy Adams, Viola Davis)

3 nominations

  1. Changeling — Actress (Angelina Jolie), cinematography, art direction
  2. Revolutionary Road — Supporting actor (Michael Shannon), art direction, costume design

2 nominations

  1. The Duchess — Art direction, costume design
  2. Iron Man — Sound editing, visual effects
  3. Frozen River — Original screenplay, actress (Melissa Leo)
  4. Wanted — Sound editing, sound mixing
  5. The Wrestler — Actor (Mickey Rourke), supporting actress (Marisa Tomei)

1 nomination

  1. Auf der Strecke (On the Line) — Live action short film
  2. Australia — Costume design
  3. The Baader Meinhof Complex — Foreign language film
  4. The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) — Documentary feature
  5. Bolt — Animated feature film
  6. The Class — Foreign language film
  7. The Conscience of Nhem En — Documentary short subject
  8. Defiance — Original score
  9. Departures — Foreign language film
  10. Encounters at the End of the World — Documentary feature
  11. The Final Inch — Documentary short subject
  12. The Garden — Documentary feature
  13. Happy-Go-Lucky — Original screenplay
  14. Hellboy II: The Golden Army — Makeup
  15. In Bruges — Original screenplay
  16. Kung Fu Panda — Animated feature film
  17. La Maison en Petits Cubes — Animated short film
  18. Lavatory – Lovestory — Animated short film
  19. Man on Wire — Documentary feature
  20. Manon on the Asphalt — Live action short film
  21. New Boy — Live action short film
  22. Oktapodi — Animated short film
  23. The Pig — Live action short film
  24. Presto — Animated short film
  25. Rachel Getting Married — Actress (Anne Hathaway)
  26. Revanche — Foreign language film
  27. Smile Pinki — Documentary short subject
  28. Spielzeugland (Toyland) — Live action short film
  29. This Way Up — Animated short film
  30. Tropic Thunder — Supporting actor (Robert Downey Jr.)
  31. Trouble the Water — Documentary feature
  32. Vicky Cristina Barcelona — Supporting actress (Penelope Cruz)
  33. The Visitor — Actor (Richard Jenkins)
  34. Waltz with Bashir — Foreign language film
  35. The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306 — Documentary short subject

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11340006144797496514 RC

    good analysis and recognition of the honor wall-e and the dark knight have both received.

    today’s alawys a fun day :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05192245958769676651 P. Little

    I alluded to this in my ShowbizMonkeys.com Oscar nominees post, but you definitely took the “positive” side while I played it more as a negative. And you’re actually right — it is a breakthrough, and should be applauded.

    But at the same time, if a movie is reviewed SO HIGHLY, like both WALL•E and The Dark Knight were, shouldn’t that be noted by the top dog of movie awards? Personally, I loved Benjamin Button, but a lot of people didn’t. There aren’t too many who’d say the same about WALL•E


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