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Idol Chatter

Oscar season has formally begun as the nominations were announced today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The full line-up and more info can be found at at Oscars.com and commentary will be all over the Net. Like everyone else, I have my opinions, so here are my five cents:
1. I thought “The Dark Knight” was far better than just Heath Ledger. It’s a deserved honor that he was nominated post-mortem and that he may very well win. But the film was much bigger than him, and the understated discipline Christian Bale brought to the role was as artful as the inspiring themes of sacrifice and selflessness that made the movie inspiring, at least for me. It should have been nominated for more.
2. “Revolutionary Road” sure seems to have struck a chord with most everyone I’ve talked with, but the Academy didn’t deem it worthy of much other than a couple design nominations and a Supporting Actor nod. There’s something about Leonardo DiCaprio that works at the box office but not with Mr. Oscar.


3. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Slumdog Millionaire” were both as uplifting as they were sublime and they deserve the double digit nominations they received.
4. I was thrilled that “Frost/Nixon” was a Best Picture nominee and that Ron Howard’s directing work was recognized. That was a tough movie to make and it brought back the reality of a timid time in our nation’s history with drama and savvy.
5. Apparently American actors are back, as 17 out of the 20 acting nominees hail from our country as opposed to last year’s foreign invasion. I think the Best Actor category is as competitive as its been in a long, long time, between bigger-than-life performances from Brad Pitt in “Button,” Sean Penn in “Milk,” Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler,” and Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon.” It’s a crime that Clint Eastwood (“Gran Torino”) was left out of this all-star line-up in favor of Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor.” I’d mark that as the biggest surprise and the second biggest mistake of the nominations (next to omitting “The Dark Knight” from Best Picture.”)
There will be interesting side plots to the show this year–like whether oft-nominated Meryl Streep will win for the first time in 26 years, or whether she or Pierce Brosnan or Hugh Jackman will sing in the ceremony, whether Clint will show up after being snubbed, or whether they’ll get the whole thing done by midnight.
In the meantime, I will continue to root for the films that inspire and somehow cause us to reflect on our faith and life choices. To that end, I’ll enjoy the kudos for “Button” and “Slumdog,” root for “Frost/Nixon,” and mourn the omission of Clint’s “Gran Torino” and Bale’s “The Dark Knight.”

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