decade revisited: 2008, part 1
The Nominees: It’s only been a year since these nominees were decided upon, so it’s hard to believe that any of them would draw confusion, but here we go. Hands down, I was completely entranced by the insta-classic nature of the magnificent WALL-E, and I don’t foresee myself ever regretting that choice. Along with it is a fairly diverse group of films that include the gay-icon-biopic Milk, which was obviously buoyed by my love of anything Sean Penn does; the quirky British comedy Happy-Go-Lucky, which was obviously buoyed by my love of anything Mike Leigh does; the massive mega-hit and Oscar snubbee The Dark Knight, well, for obvious reasons; and the aging epic and Oscar favorite The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Revisions: It’s been merely a year, but I already have a little bit of doubt about the final five. Though I enjoyed Benjamin Button more than most backlash-happy movie-watchers seemed to after repeat viewings, the other four seem like much stronger candidates. As for a fifth slot, I’d likely replace it with either Frozen River or Rachel Getting Married, some gems that I’ve been able to better appreciate with age (albeit 12 months of it).
The Nominees: Let’s just begin this by saying how nice it was last year to have a nice roster of lead actor performances to choose from as opposed to this year where it felt like scrounging. As for these guys, Penn happens to be one of my favorite thesps, so his inclusion is pretty standard. As for the rest, Downey, Jr. managed his second of three consecutive nods in 2008 and is slowly becoming an annual LCT Awards fixture. Sheen was coming off of a lot of love for his 2006 award-winning performance in The Queen (I just didn’t think Frank Langella deserved all the attention for Frost/Nixon). Richard Jenkins’ subdued performance was right on key and, I thought, a star-making one. And DiCaprio (this his 8th nomination at my awards) generally has a pretty easy time making the shortlist.
Revisions: Penn, Downey, and Jenkins would likely have an easy time maintaining their spots, but Sheen and DiCaprio would have to face competition from other gents who at the time probably managed the sixth, seventh, and eighth spots – Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and James Franco in Pineapple Express.
The Nominees: Let’s just say this right away – I love this group of nominees, so whatever happens, I will always be pleased with the original decision. Winslet and Streep were typically powerful in their respective films, notably for very Oscary scenes and monologues throughout the flicks. And as for the three indie darlings that rounded out the top five, Hathaway was a surprising force as the addict and troublemaker in Rachel Getting Married, Leo was on-target as the desperate mother who turns to smuggling in Frozen River, and Hawkins was genuinely brilliant as goofy teacher Poppy in Happy-Go-Lucky.
Revisions: As I kind of suspected, this group stays put. But my recollection of last years nomination decision included heavy competition from both Cate Blanchett in Benjamin Button (I tended against the critics and liked her the best in this movie) and Michelle Williams in Wendy and Lucy (a simple yet deeply saddening portrayal of a woman and her dog). The win’s still got to be Hawkins, though.