The Oscars

The Year of the Independent

Not even Salma Hayek could contain her joyous surprise as she rambled off the names of this year’s nominees for the 79th Annual Academy Awards®. The list did sport some shockers, such as the nods for “Dreamgirls.” With more nominations than any other film, it is still without love for best picture, actress (Beyoncé Knowles) and best director (Bill Condon).

The nominees for best picture are: “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Queen.” Three of those five are from the indie arms of major studios – one was even discovered at that little festival in Utah! Also on the indie side are some of the actors. For best actor, Ryan Gosling was not at all overlooked for his fine work in “Half Nelson.” He’s up against Leonardo DiCaprio in “Blood Diamond,” Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scotland,” Peter O’Toole in “Venus” (his first nomination was 44 years ago, and he’s still getting ‘em!), and Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

On the ladies side, the best actress category is really between Helen Mirren for “The Queen” and Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Rounding out that category, you’ve got Penélope Cruz in “Volver,” Judi Dench in “Notes on a Scandal,” and Kate Winslet in “Little Children.” For supporting actress, Cate Blanchett (nominated for “Notes on a Scandal”) is the only one with a prior Academy record. She’s in the company of Adriana Barazza for “Babel” (my personal favorite), young Abigail Breslin for “Little Miss Sunshine,” Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls” and Rinko Kikuchi in “Babel.” There were some ridiculous performances this year, so the whole night is going to be a celebration of all things juicy.

I don’t think that there’s anyone on the list that doesn’t deserve to be there – not by any means – but some great work didn’t make it on the roster.

Robbed!

“Breaking and Entering” in pretty much every category. Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Robin Wright Penn, writer/director, Anthony Minghella and composers Gabriel Yared and Underworld.

“The Fountain” – Art Direction / Original Score

“Fur”- Robert Downey, Jr.’s makeup

“Over the Hedge” – Animated Feature

“Perfume” – Art Direction

“Thank You For Smoking” – Adapted Screenplay

And, really, is there not a place on Oscar® night for “Basic Instinct 2” and “Aquamarine?” C’mon, people!

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