Oscar Surprises, Part 3: Films That Made Out Big, Plus: Foreign Invasion!
George CLooney in Michael Clayton courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
And now to the films that made out like bandits:
, of course, and Paul Thomas Anderson's bleak
There Will Be Blood
, based on Upton Sinclair's muckraking 1927 novel
, was nominated for best picture, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best director and best adapted screenplay. The quietly effective Paul Dano, of last year's indie favorite
Little Miss Sunshine
, was passed over for best supporting actor. Lewis was widely considered a shoo-in, but the rest of the nominations were less than givens, despite critical raves for this lengthy (158 minutes), epic examination of greed, false prophets and near-biblical retribution.
scored big with critics without exciting much attention among moviegoers. It's nominated for best picture, with star George Clooney recognized in the best-actor category. Costars Tilda Swinton and Tom Wilkinson were both nominated in the supporting categories and first-time director Tony Gilroy got a nod both for direction and for his original screenplay. Way to go! Let's hope that the multiple nominations get moviegoers to take a look when it goes back into theaters this Friday.
The Coen brothers' grim
No Country for Old Men
, adapted from Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name, also took a best-picture nod, along with best supporting actor recognition for Javier Bardem as a sociopathic killer and double recognition for Joel and Ethan Coen in the directing and adapted screenplay categories. Apparently my feeling that there's far less to this gloomy, Texas-set thriller than meets the eye is very much the minority one.
A WWI-era drama with a vicious sting in its tail,
- based on Ian McEwan's novel - came away with only two major nominations: best picture and best supporting actress for 14-year-old Saoirse Ronan. That's not too shabby, but it falls short of expectations. Perhaps it looked too much like a highbrow soap opera for Academy members, though it's much more than that and anyway, highbrow soap operas have a tradition of doing just fine come Oscar time.
On the other hand, three French-language films found themselves in the spotlight
the best foreign-language film ghetto: The animated
, based on the autobiographical graphic novels by Iranian writer Marjane Satrapi (nominated for best animated feature); painter turned filmmaker Julian Schnabel's
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
(which nabbed him a best-directing nomination and screenwriter Ronald Harwood recognition for adapting the late Jean-Dominique Bauby's heartbreaking memoir
Le Scaphandre et le Papillon
La Vie en Rose
, which earned star Marion Cotillard a best-actress nomination for her no-holds-barred performance as tragic French singer Edith Piaf.
Perhaps it is a small world after all, even in Hollywood!
Oscar Surprises, Part 1: Juno and Tommy Lee Jones
Oscar Surprises, Part 2: Blanchett, Mortensen and Hal Holbrook