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Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire Wins Big At The 81st Academy Awards!

Write-up By Erin V.

Well, another OSCAR night has come and gone. The winners are below, and while there were a few surprises, there weren’t as many as there have been in some years. Slumdog Millionaire took home Best Picture, Director and many others as you can see below for a total of 8 awards, the highest of the night. Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker, and WALL•E won Best Animated. These were categories that seemed to have been written a long time ago.

Most of the major categories were fairly easy to guess this year, and I ended up with a total of 16 out of 24 correct, or 2/3rd’s, compared to last years 1/3rd with only 8 out of 24 correct. John C. pulled ahead on this one with 17 out of 24 correct.

Here are the standings of all the winning films:

Slumdog Millionaire - 8

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 3

The Dark Knight - 2

Milk - 2

The Reader - 1

WALL•E - 1

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - 1

The Duchess - 1

Departures - 1

Spielzeugland (Toyland) - 1

Man on Wire - 1

Smile Pinki - 1

La Maison en Petits Cubes - 1

In comparision, by nominations, these same films would be ordered like this:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - 13

Slumdog Millionaire - 10

Milk - 8

The Dark Knight - 8

WALL•E - 6

The Reader - 1

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - 1

The Duchess - 1

Departures - 1

Spielzeugland (Toyland) - 1

Man on Wire - 1

Smile Pinki - 1

La Maison en Petits Cubes - 1

Out of the 28 films and short films nominated, as you can see, only 13 recieved awards. And out of those, only 4 out of the 5 Best Picture nominees recieved awards. Frost/Nixon recieved none, despite it’s 5 nominations. Also interesting to note is that both Milk and The Dark Knight each had 8 noms, but only two wins. The Dark Knight should have been up for Best Picture, but... That’s another story.

Below, please read my comments for each of the winning films.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company) - This was expected, while the other nominees would have also been just as deserving, after seeing her in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, I knew she would probably be taking home the gold.

Original screenplay

“Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black - While it would have been nice to see an animated film recognized for writing like this, I had a feeling that this could be going to Milk. Both were deserving, and even a nomination is something anyone should be proud of.

Adapted screenplay

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy - This one was easy enough to call. Slumdog Millionaire’s screenplay is well written, and the way that it was adapted to screen, really made the film work well.

Best animated feature film of the year

“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton - As figured, WALL•E managed to come out on top. The animation that they played before the winners were announced, showing WALL•E finding a tape of this year's Academy Awards, and an OSCAR, was priceless.

Best animated short film

“La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato - I had hoped that Presto would win this award, since I don’t think PIXAR has won it in a few years now... But, while I haven’t seen this short film, it is probably deserving of this award.

Achievement in art direction

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo - The art direction here is very nice to see, and the award is well placed.

Achievement in costume design

“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor - Period clothes like seen here, seem to win everytime... How could I have guessed?

Achievement in makeup

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom - Like James P. said, this is the kind of thing that the Academy likes.

Achievement in cinematography

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle - The cinematography here is stunning, especially in the scenes in the slums of India at the beginning. The way that the camera is positioned to capture light and shadow is put to good use here.

Best live action short film

“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank - Again, I have not seen any of the short films that were nominated here, but this one seemed to have a very interesting concept behind it. It was a guess that it would win, and it turned out to be correct.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.) - Deserving, and not surprising in the least. Heath Ledger gave an amazing performance as the Joker, and it was nice to see him recognized for it. His father, mother, and sister accepted the award on his behalf, which will go to his daughter when she is older. This Oscar is a great tribute to Heath Ledger, an amazing actor. May he rest in peace.

Best documentary feature

“Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn - I figured this would win. I hope to see it soon - it looks amazing.

Best documentary short subject

“Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan - I actually didn’t know what this one was about... It sounds interesting, and I think, probably deserves the win.

Achievement in visual effects

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron - Should have known that this was going to win here. Unfortunately, I only looked at the visual effects site for TCCoBB last night, when I had already made my picks. Boy, is there a lot of effects in there. It is amazing to see how exactly they use them. I wasn’t really thinking about how they did it before.

Achievement in sound editing

“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King - When I put down WALL•E, I knew that it could have been any of them. The sound was solid in The Dark Knight, so it deserved this fully. I just wish WALL•E could have picked up a sound award for Ben Burtt.

Achievement in sound mixing

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty - This was James P.’s pick, and I kind of thought that this could have been what took home this award. I put down WALL•E again, even though, I had actually a few weeks ago figured this one would go to The Dark Knight, which took home the other sound award. I still get slightly confused about which ones are about which aspects of the sounds.

Achievement in film editing

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens - The editing here is solid. Well deserved.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman - While I personally didn’t think that this one was the best score, it does still deserve the win, (which I knew was probably going to happen ever since Slumdog Millionaire came onto the scene).

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar - I would have liked Down to Earth, and O... Saya was actually good too. But, it went to Jai Ho. This is a very good song, but I found Down to Earth to have more to it.

Best foreign language film of the year

“Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan - I was slightly surprised that Waltz With Bashir didn’t win here, but I haven’t seen any of these, so who am I to judge? This actually looks quite interesting...

Achievement in directing

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle - This was an obvious win.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company) - Well, after all this time, she finally has her Oscar. Ever since the Golden Globes, I saw this coming, so no surprises here.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features) - It was going to go to either Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke. In the end, as I had guessed, Sean Penn won.

Best motion picture of the year

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production,Christian Colson, Producer - It is written.


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