Filming location for spaghetti westerns in Almería, Spain

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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

My 2009 Academy Award Predictions (for movies released in 2008)

Well, once again I find myself in the awkward position of agreeing with a fair amount of the conventional wisdom. The reality is that 2008 really wasn’t the strongest year in terms of the kind of motion pictures that get noticed and nominated for Academy Awards. None of the major nominees was the sort of picture to get me really excited and emotionally involved over whether it got recognized. But then, after all, in how many years does a The Lord of the Rings come along? In my heart of hearts, I would have liked to have seen a slew of nominations for my favorite film of the year, Son of Rambow. But it’s not even clear to me that it qualified for this year’s Oscars, since it seems to have played at least one U.S. film festival in 2007. That leaves The Dark Knight at the top of my list and, while it was very good, it wasn’t the be-all and end-all of this decade’s movie viewing. Still, in a way, it was No Country for Old Men for the comic book set, and Heath Ledger is this year’s Javier Bardem. I don’t see how the prize can be denied him. Ditto Mickey Rourke who, unlike the unfortunate Ledger, may still be with us, but he has clearly been to hell and back.

Given the standard of movies involved, the awards broadcast may be in for another ratings slide. But I’ll be watching anyway because, well, it’s just what I do. Besides, after the various Michael Moore type moments over the past few years, I am looking forward to seeing a sudden burst of enthusiastic patriotism from the Hollywood glitterati.


Most Likely to Win

Most Deserving to Win

Should Have Been Nominated But Wasn’t

Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

The Dark Knight

Best Actor

Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)

Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges)

Best Actress

Kate Winslet (The Reader)

Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)

Arta Dobroshi (Le Silence de Lorna)

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)

Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight)

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona)

Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)

Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler)

Best Director

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)

Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)

Best Original Screenplay

Milk (Dustin Lance Black)

Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)

Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow)

Best Adapted Screenplay

Eric Roth & Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire)

Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)

Best Animated Feature



Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Best Foreign Language Film

Vals im Bashir (Israel)

Entre les murs (France)

Le Silence de Lorna (Belgium)