Thursday, January 22, 2009


Lesson of the Day: Don't bet against Harvey Weinstein. The Reader pulls off a SHOCKING upset over The Dark Knight, which gets the Best Picture shaft, not to mention nothing for Christopher Nolan in the writing or directing categories due to the curious inclusion of Reader director Stephen Daldry and writer David Hare. Happy-Go-Lucky's Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan get snubbed yet writer-director Mike Leigh gets some love with an Original Screenplay nod. Should known the Academy would keep Waltz With Bashir in the Foreign Language category (where it is sure to win) so they Pixar could lock up another Animated Feature Oscar with Wall-E. Had a feeling Japan's Departures would sneak in. No love for Rachel Getting Married outside of Hathaway's nom. Brangelina BOTH get nommed (questionable, especially Jolie) while neither Leo or Kate get noms for Revolutionary Road, whose sole rep in the acting categories is Michael Shannon. That's because Winslet got nommed for The Reader, where she's been hiding in the supporting category all season. The move allows Taraji P. Henson to score a Supporting Actress nom for Ben Button. Robert Downey Jr. capitalizes on all his good buzz over the last couple years with a Supporting Actor nom for Tropic Thunder. Melissa Leo beats out Cate Blanchett and Kristin Scott Thomas for the last Best Actress slot. Richard Jenkins edges Clint Eastwood in the Best Actor category. Stephen Daldry sneaks in the Best Director lineup over Darren Aronofsky, while Martin McDonagh slips past Robert Siegel in the Original Screenplay category. Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel fails to cash in on his film's front-runner status. I was WAY OFF on the Score and Documentary categories. I should've known they'd go for Werner Herzog again. I NAILED the Editing lineup. Wanted pulled off a couple upsets in the Sound Mixing and Editing categories. Frankly stunned that Woody Allen wasn't recognized for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, or Tom McCarthy for The Visitor, in favor of newcomer Courtney Hunt, who wrote and directed Frozen River. Time to go to work... be back later with more meaningless analysis.


Most of you who read this blog know me personally, so you know that I'm the worst procrastinator in the history of the Internet. Thus, it's fitting that I'm making these final predictions at 5 a.m., a mere half-hour before the Oscar nominations are announced. Yet even I, a dedicated prognosticator, have no idea what to make of this year's contenders except for that in the end, as William Goldman once said of Hollywood, "Nobody Knows Anything." With that in mind, here's The InSneider's take on the 2009 Academy Award nominations. I'll be back soon with my "If I Had a Ballot" post. Please note: I will not be making predictions for the Live Action or Animated Short Film categories.


1. Slumdog Millionaire
2. Frost/Nixon
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4, The Dark Knight
5. Milk

ALT: The Wrestler


1. Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
2. David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight
4. Darren Aronofsky, The Wrestler
5. Gus Van Sant, Milk

ALT: Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon


1. Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
2. Sean Penn, Milk
3. Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
4. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
5. Richard Jenkins, The Visitor

ALT: Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button


1. Meryl Streep, Doubt
2. Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
3. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
4. Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
5. Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long

ALT: Melissa Leo, Frozen River


1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
3. Josh Brolin, Milk
4. Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
5. Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky

ALT: James Franco, Milk


1. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
2. Viola Davis, Doubt
3. Kate Winslet, The Reader
4. Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
5. Amy Adams, Doubt

ALT: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married


1. Dustin Lance Black, Milk
2. Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
3. Robert Siegel, The Wrestler
4. Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon, Wall-E
5. Thomas McCarthy, The Visitor

ALT: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky


1. Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
2. Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
3. Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
4. John Patrick Shanley, Doubt
5. Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight

ALT: David Hare, The Reader


1. Waltz With Bashir, Israel
2. The Class, France
3. Everlasting Moments, Sweden
4. The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany
5. Revanche, Austria

ALT: Three Monkeys, Turkey


1. Wall-E
2. Waltz With Bashir
3. Kung Fu Panda

ALT: Bolt


1. Man on Wire
2. Trouble the Water
3. Pray the Devil Back to Hell
4. I.O.U.S.A.
5. At the Death House Door

ALT: Standard Operating Procedure


1. Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
3. Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight
4. Maryse Alberti, The Wrestler
5. Roger Deakins, Revolutionary Road

ALT: Catherine Martin, Australia


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. The Dark Knight
3. Iron Man

ALT: Hellboy II: The Golden Army


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. The Dark Knight
3. Tropic Thunder

ALT: Synecdoche, New York


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Milk
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. The Dark Knight
5. Frost/Nixon

ALT: Revolutionary Road


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Dark Knight
4. Changeling
5. Milk

ALT: Frost/Nixon


1. Jacqueline West, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Deborah Hopper, Changeling
3. Michael O’Connor, The Duchess
4. Albert Wolsky, Revolutionary Road
5. Catherine Martin, Australia

ALT: Eiko Ishioka, The Fall


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. The Dark Knight
4. Revolutionary Road
5. The Reader

ALT: Gran Torino


1. The Wrestler
2. Wall-E
3. Slumdog Millionaire
4. Bolt
5. High School Musical 3

ALT: Gran Torino


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. The Dark Knight
3. Iron Man
4. Wall-E
5. Slumdog Millionaire

ALT: Defiance


1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. The Dark Knight
3. Iron Man
4. Slumdog Millionaire
5. Wall-E

ALT: Defiance

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 2008 Most Overlooked and Underappreciated Lists

It seems like the mainstream media is a broken record come Oscar season, talking about the same actors over and over again. It's because we all get caught up in the "serious contenders" who studios are spending money on campaigns for, as opposed to who we feel did genuinely deserving work. With this in mind, I compiled the following lists hoping to illuminate the best performances that were either overlooked or severely underappreciated this year. By this I mean performances that few were writing/talking about. So you won't find The Wrestler's Mickey Rourke or Wendy and Lucy's Michelle Williams on these lists because people noticed their exceptional work. And to be clear, some folks listed below did get a glimpse of the awards spotlight this season. I'm not saying that no one else appreciated Milk's Emile Hirsch or What Doesn't Kill You's Mark Ruffalo because that obviously wasn't the case... just that not enough people were passionate about them one way or the other. The following lists reflect my personal taste and represent, in my humble opinion, some of the best work of the year.

The Top 25 Most Overlooked and Underappreciated Supporting Performances

1. Ben Kingsley, The Wackness
2. Bill Irwin, Rachel Getting Married
3. Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky
4. David Harbour, Revolutionary Road
5. Emile Hirsch, Milk
6. Peter Macdissi, Towelhead
7. Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight
8. Ethan Hawke, What Doesn’t Kill You
9. Charlie McDermott, Frozen River
10. Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City
11. Jane Lynch, Role Models
12. Adam Scott, Step Brothers
13. Evan Rachel Wood, The Wrestler
14. Jason Butler Harner, Changeling
15. Emily Mortimer, Transsiberian
16. Martin Henderson, Battle in Seattle
17. Ari Graynor, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
18. Mark Strong, Body of Lies
19. Alan Alda, Nothing But the Truth
20. Noel Fisher, Red
21. Noah Emmerich, Pride and Glory
22. Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man
23. Chris Parnell, The Grand
24. Thomas Haden Church, Smart People
25. (tie) Toby Kebbell, RocknRolla and Catinca Untaru, The Fall

The Top 5 Most Underappreciated Movie Duos

1. Sam Rockwell and Oliver Platt, Frost/Nixon
2. David Kross and Ralph Fiennes, The Reader
3. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, Step Brothers
4. Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, Let the Right One In
5. Edward Norton and Tim Roth, The Incredible Hulk

The Top 5 Most Underappreciated Dramatic Performances

1. Mark Ruffalo, What Doesn’t Kill You
2. Francois Cluzet, Tell No One
3. Naomi Watts, Funny Games
4. Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5. (tie) Brian Cox, Red and Andre Ramiro, Elite Squad

The Top 5 Most Underappreciated Comedic Performances

1. Adam Carolla, The Hammer
2. Danny McBride, The Foot Fist Way
3. Steve Coogan, Hamlet 2
4. Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
5. Jack Black, Kung Fu Panda

The Top 5 Most Underappreciated Ensembles

1. The cast of Slumdog Millionaire
2. The cast of Young@Heart
3. The cast of Baghead
4. The cast of Zack and Miri Make a Porno
5. The cast of Forgetting Sarah Marshall

BONUS LIST: The Top 3 Most Interesting/Compelling/Fascinating Documentary Subjects

1. Phillipe Petit, Man on Wire
2. (tie) The Bagby Family, Dear Zachary and The Bell Family, Bigger, Stronger, Faster: The Side Effects of Being American
3. Hannah Bailey, American Teen