2008 Academy Award Nominees – “Benjamin Button” Leads With 13 Nods, “Slumdog Millionaire” Scores 10

The nominations for the 81st Annual Academy Awards were announced today, and aside from an insane comedy like Tropic Thunder actually being recognized for once and a strong showing from the little-seen Frozen River, the Academy seemed to play it very safe, giving 13 nominations to David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a really good movie that’s also right in Oscar’s wheelhouse.

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire came in second with 10 nods, Gus Van Sant’s Milk nabbed 8 after being mostly ignored by the Golden Globes, and rounding out the Best Picture category are The Reader and Frost/Nixon, with 5 nods each.

The Dark Knight got its expected Best Supporting Actor nomination for Heath Ledger on the anniversary of his death, and while fans are disappointed that it didn’t break the Best Picture barrier for a comic book movie, they should really keep in mind that a Batman movie actually got nominated for non-technical Oscars. This is a wall broken.

Among the notable snubs – Revolutionary Road, for which Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, only got one nomination among the big six, and that was the surprise appearance of Michael Shannon as Best Supporting Actor.

Kate will be fine, though, as she’s in the Best Actress category with The Reader, and she has the momentum to finally bring the big prize home this year. Clint Eastwood’s highly entertaining grizzle-fest Gran Torino was also completely shut out, although his Changeling got 3 nods (including one for Angelina Jolie) and surprisingly enough, Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wrestler,” which won the Golden Globes, didn’t make the cut, in favor of two songs from Slumdog Millionaire.

Globe winner Sally Hawkins didn’t make it in, but her film Happy-Go-Lucky earned itself a screenplay nod.

Best Picture

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director

David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant, Milk
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor

Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Best Actress

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin, Milk
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Doubt
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

Best Adapted Screenplay

Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Patrick Shanley, Doubt
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
David Hare, The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Original Screenplay

Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Martin McDonagh, In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Wall-E

Best Animated Film

Kung-Fu Panda

Best Foreign Language Film

The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Class
Waltz With Bashir

Best Documentary

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

Best Art Direction

James J. Murakami & Gary Fettis, Changeling
Donald Graham Burt & Victor J. Zolfo, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Nathan Crowley & Peter Lando, The Dark Knight
Michael Carlin & Rebecca Alleway, The Duchess
Kristi Zea & Debra Schutt, Revolutionary Road

Best Cinematography

Tom Stern, Changeling
Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight
Chris Menges & Roger Deakins, The Reader
Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Costume Design

Catherine Martin, Australia
Jacqueline West, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Michael O’Connor, The Duchess
Danny Glicker, Milk
Albert Wolsky, Revolutionary Road

Best Editing

Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Lee Smith, The Dark Knight
Mike Hill & Dan Hanley, Frost/Nixon
Elliot Graham, Milk
Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Sound Editing

Richard King, The Dark Knight
Frank Eulner & Christopher Boyes, Iron Man
Tom Sayers, Slumdog Millionaire
Ben Burtt & Matthew Wood, Wall-E
Wylie Stateman, Wanted

Best Sound Mixing

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Visual Effects

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Best Makeup

Greg Cannom, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
John Caglione Jr. & Conor O’Sullivan, The Dark Knight
Mike Elizalde & Thom Floutz, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
James Newton Howard, Defiance
Danny Elfman, Milk
A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman, Wall-E

Best Original Song

Peter Gabriel, “Down to Earth” – Wall-E
A.R. Rahman & Gulzar, “Jai Ho” – Slumdog Millionaire
A.R. Rahman & Maya Arulpragasam, “O Saya” – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Animated Short

La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory – Lovestory
This Way Up

Best Live-Action Short

Auf Der Strecke (On The Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

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