Forecasting next month

By Emma Johnson, News Correspondent

The season of Hollywood self-congratulation is upon us again, as Academy Award nominations were announced Jan. 22. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shoveled accolades at both ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ with 13 nominations, and ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ with 10. Other major nominees included ‘The Reader,’ ‘Milk’ and ‘The Wrestler,” which garnered Mickey Rourke the Golden Globe for Best Actor earlier this month.

For Best Picture, the Academy has singled out the usual suspects:’ the earnest Holocaust film (‘The Reader’), the panorama of American life (‘Benjamin Button’), the social statement/biopic (‘Milk’ and’ ‘Frost/Nixon’) and the hot indie (‘Slumdog Millionaire’).
The biggest shock is, for once, the hot indie will likely get the gold. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ seems to be the only film boasting both significant public enthusiasm and critical acclaim.

It’s an astonishing coup for a film that’s primarily in Hindi, highlights a culture most Westerners know nothing about and doesn’t star anyone remotely recognizable in the U.S.

Though it appears to be an unconventional film up front, it’s the epitome of classic Hollywood filmmaking, said Ty Burr, a Boston Globe film critic.

‘It’s the most old-fashioned Hollywood movie of the bunch,’ he told The News. ‘It’s a big sweeping epic with a happy ending.’

‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ on the other hand, will likely end up the eternal nominee ‘- never the winner. Burr called the film ”Forrest Gump’ without the cultural meaning or sense of humor,’ and only lead man Brad Pitt received an acting nomination. That contest is probably sewn up by Sean Penn or Rourke. Also, if Heath Ledger doesn’t win for Best Supporting Actor in ‘The Dark Knight,’ everyone should start stacking up on canned goods:’ It would be a sure sign of the apocalypse.

Meanwhile, Best Director will probably go to Danny Boyle for ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ although David Fincher was nominated for ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.’ It has historically stood that the movie that gets Best Picture takes Best Director by default.

The Oscars unfold Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ took two nominations for Best Original Song, so expect Bollywood-style dancing, with a heavy dose of irony, in the middle of this most hallowed of nights. Who says the Academy takes itself too seriously?

Leave a Reply