Oscar Nominations

The Academy Awards nominations have been released:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

George Clooney in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
(DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises” (Focus Features)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)
Julie Christie in “Away from Her” (Lionsgate)
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in “Juno” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster” (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (Miramax)
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

I’m embarrassed to say that, former movie critic though I am when I was Culture Editor for WORLD, I have seen NONE of these shows. Can anyone speak to them? Can anyone deduce any cultural significance from this list?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    Don’t be embarrassed. I haven’t see any of them either, nor do I have a desire to. However I might go see Alien vs Predator 2: Requiem

  • Carl Vehse

    Don’t be embarrassed. I haven’t see any of them either, nor do I have a desire to. However I might go see Alien vs Predator 2: Requiem

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    No Country for Old Men is an impressive bit of film making. There is a chase scene with a pit bull that alone is worth the price of admission. The message, if there is one, is bleak and without hope. Javier is a quirky, ruthless, cold-blooded, methodical killer, yet for some reason, likable.

  • http://poststop.wordpress.com Ethan

    No Country for Old Men is an impressive bit of film making. There is a chase scene with a pit bull that alone is worth the price of admission. The message, if there is one, is bleak and without hope. Javier is a quirky, ruthless, cold-blooded, methodical killer, yet for some reason, likable.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I saw No Country for Old Men too. I reviewed it on my blog as an elegant, 3-hour shaggy dog story.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    I saw No Country for Old Men too. I reviewed it on my blog as an elegant, 3-hour shaggy dog story.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Sweeney Todd may have the distinction of being the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    Sweeney Todd may have the distinction of being the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I saw Juno reluctantly and liked it much, much more than I was expecting to. Otherwise, I haven’t seen any of the others. For the most part, we are sick to death of Hollywood and have taken to seeing smaller, independent and foreign films.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I saw Juno reluctantly and liked it much, much more than I was expecting to. Otherwise, I haven’t seen any of the others. For the most part, we are sick to death of Hollywood and have taken to seeing smaller, independent and foreign films.

  • EconJeff

    I’ve seen Juno and Atonement and I think both were good. Atonement is one of my favorite modern novels and the screen adaptation is well done.

    As for cultural significance, Juno is about a girl who stays pregnant, so there might be something to be said about how Hollywood (or the indie world) is treating the abortion issue (Aside: I was watching TCM over the weekend and saw a Natalie Wood/Steve McQueen movie from ~1963 dealing with abortion. It was a pretty good movie, too, but I was surprised with its treatment of that issue.)

    Atonement is more of a downer, but I think it says something about novelists (moreso in the book) and their control over the characters and plot. I don’t want to give anything away, but I think it also says a lot about how much control individuals want to have over their past and how much risk is taken to right any mistakes.

  • EconJeff

    I’ve seen Juno and Atonement and I think both were good. Atonement is one of my favorite modern novels and the screen adaptation is well done.

    As for cultural significance, Juno is about a girl who stays pregnant, so there might be something to be said about how Hollywood (or the indie world) is treating the abortion issue (Aside: I was watching TCM over the weekend and saw a Natalie Wood/Steve McQueen movie from ~1963 dealing with abortion. It was a pretty good movie, too, but I was surprised with its treatment of that issue.)

    Atonement is more of a downer, but I think it says something about novelists (moreso in the book) and their control over the characters and plot. I don’t want to give anything away, but I think it also says a lot about how much control individuals want to have over their past and how much risk is taken to right any mistakes.

  • T Sherm

    Gone Baby Gone is disturbing and wrenching throughout, but I left contemplating vocation, and felt that it was the best movie on the subject that I have seen in a long while.

    It explores what it means to be an agent of the government, a law enforcement agent, a citizen, a parent, a friend, and a (almost) a husband.

    It also shows how vocation is so often shirked in our world today, and how many turn their backs on those wishing to follow the rules of their calling.

    It explores the sinner/saint dichotomy that we are all called to deal with in our daily lives, and the struggles that the moral ambiguities of our world often bring about.

    In the end, however, it shows the good that comes from someone with strong, positive, moral convictictions who stands by those in the face of the world asking him to act on pragmatism rather than what he knows to be right.

  • T Sherm

    Gone Baby Gone is disturbing and wrenching throughout, but I left contemplating vocation, and felt that it was the best movie on the subject that I have seen in a long while.

    It explores what it means to be an agent of the government, a law enforcement agent, a citizen, a parent, a friend, and a (almost) a husband.

    It also shows how vocation is so often shirked in our world today, and how many turn their backs on those wishing to follow the rules of their calling.

    It explores the sinner/saint dichotomy that we are all called to deal with in our daily lives, and the struggles that the moral ambiguities of our world often bring about.

    In the end, however, it shows the good that comes from someone with strong, positive, moral convictictions who stands by those in the face of the world asking him to act on pragmatism rather than what he knows to be right.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Perhaps, Dr. Veith, there is a cultural message in that a movie critic like yourself has declined to see any of these films. You’re not alone by any means.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Perhaps, Dr. Veith, there is a cultural message in that a movie critic like yourself has declined to see any of these films. You’re not alone by any means.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I have seen Into the Wild and La Vie en Rose. I would recommend both. Holbrook’s performance was really touching. Cotillard was amazing in La Vie en Rose, as well. She made you feel the pain of the years that had been very hard on Edith Piaf.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I have seen Into the Wild and La Vie en Rose. I would recommend both. Holbrook’s performance was really touching. Cotillard was amazing in La Vie en Rose, as well. She made you feel the pain of the years that had been very hard on Edith Piaf.

  • Julie Voss

    I thought both “Away from Her” and “Juno” were fine films. The first film stars Julie Christie playing a woman who seeing that she is beginning to descend into dementia, takes charge of her life by moving into a care home before it is absolutely necessary. Her husband is shocked and deeply hurt and has a difficult time coping as she moves away from the life they shared together.
    The vulgar teen slang in “Juno” can be off putting, but I found the film fresh and surprising. Most quirky films are ultimately dark, but this one affirmed its characters. Each of them has more going for them than you sense at the beginning. The Asian girl speaking against abortion outside the clinic is only on the screen for a few moments, and yet her quiet testimony reverberates through out the lives of all of its characters.
    It’s surprising to see the work of women directors, Tamara Jenkins (The Savages), Sarah Polley (Away from Her) and a screenwriter, Diablo Cody (Juno) reach the attention of the academy.

  • Julie Voss

    I thought both “Away from Her” and “Juno” were fine films. The first film stars Julie Christie playing a woman who seeing that she is beginning to descend into dementia, takes charge of her life by moving into a care home before it is absolutely necessary. Her husband is shocked and deeply hurt and has a difficult time coping as she moves away from the life they shared together.
    The vulgar teen slang in “Juno” can be off putting, but I found the film fresh and surprising. Most quirky films are ultimately dark, but this one affirmed its characters. Each of them has more going for them than you sense at the beginning. The Asian girl speaking against abortion outside the clinic is only on the screen for a few moments, and yet her quiet testimony reverberates through out the lives of all of its characters.
    It’s surprising to see the work of women directors, Tamara Jenkins (The Savages), Sarah Polley (Away from Her) and a screenwriter, Diablo Cody (Juno) reach the attention of the academy.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    The only film I may see in a theater is Juno. It and its author, Diablo Cody, are all the talk in Minneapolis. I just can’t get past “Diablo’s” past. I can’t even give a short summary of her recent past on this blog, nor would I want to. That aside, Diablo is a very talented young woman and I expect interesting work from her in the future. Am I being fair? Well, authors and artists are often scrutinized by admirers to discover the “why” about them…what drives someone, what kinds of choices have they made in their lives? I think its fair wonder why she feels remorse for her past choices, if they are real.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    The only film I may see in a theater is Juno. It and its author, Diablo Cody, are all the talk in Minneapolis. I just can’t get past “Diablo’s” past. I can’t even give a short summary of her recent past on this blog, nor would I want to. That aside, Diablo is a very talented young woman and I expect interesting work from her in the future. Am I being fair? Well, authors and artists are often scrutinized by admirers to discover the “why” about them…what drives someone, what kinds of choices have they made in their lives? I think its fair wonder why she feels remorse for her past choices, if they are real.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    My last comment should have read: I think its fair to wonder IF she feels remorse for her past choices and if they are even real.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer Theresa K.

    My last comment should have read: I think its fair to wonder IF she feels remorse for her past choices and if they are even real.

  • Scott

    “Charlie Wilson’s War” is worth seeing.

    I liked “No Country for Old Men”. There is a conversation between the Tommy Lee Jones character and a friend in a wheelchair which I think is outstanding.

    I haven’t seen any others. I plan to see “There Will be Blood” just because I think Daniel Day-Lewis is a great actor.

    My 18yo son saw “Juno” and liked it.

  • Scott

    “Charlie Wilson’s War” is worth seeing.

    I liked “No Country for Old Men”. There is a conversation between the Tommy Lee Jones character and a friend in a wheelchair which I think is outstanding.

    I haven’t seen any others. I plan to see “There Will be Blood” just because I think Daniel Day-Lewis is a great actor.

    My 18yo son saw “Juno” and liked it.

  • John Tape

    I saw Michael Clayton. It is outstanding. The performance by Tom Wilkinson is amazing. At the beginning of the movie Wilkinson reads a 3 minute prologue/monologue that is worth the ticket price just by itself.

  • John Tape

    I saw Michael Clayton. It is outstanding. The performance by Tom Wilkinson is amazing. At the beginning of the movie Wilkinson reads a 3 minute prologue/monologue that is worth the ticket price just by itself.

  • CRB

    I’ve seen “Atonement” and would recommend it to anyone who has lied (that would be everyone, myself included) and that lie turned out to bring sorrow and heartache for someone else. Hope there are no “spoilers” in what follows.
    What was really moving in this film was the performance of Vanessa Redgrave, brief though it was. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of reaction someone may have had to *not* being forgiven your sin, this is a very good portrayal of that! It takes a long while for the story to get to this point, but I’m guessing that this
    was the main point of the author.

  • CRB

    I’ve seen “Atonement” and would recommend it to anyone who has lied (that would be everyone, myself included) and that lie turned out to bring sorrow and heartache for someone else. Hope there are no “spoilers” in what follows.
    What was really moving in this film was the performance of Vanessa Redgrave, brief though it was. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of reaction someone may have had to *not* being forgiven your sin, this is a very good portrayal of that! It takes a long while for the story to get to this point, but I’m guessing that this
    was the main point of the author.


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