BENJAMIN BUTTON, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and MILK Lead 81st Annual Academy Awards Nominations

oscarThe romantic fantasy The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, the India-set drama Slumdog Millionaire and  the biopic Milk lead the crop of this year’s nominations for the Academy Awards.

With nominations for Best Directing for David Fincher, Best Picture and Best Actor for Brad Pitt, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button comes out on top with 13 total nominations. The film, based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, also received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and a Best Supporting Actress nod for Taraji P. Henson. It also received several technical nominations including Best Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Makeup, Original Score, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

Close behind Benjamin Button is director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, the story of a poor man who has an incredible win on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, landed 10 nominations including Best Direction and Best Picture. Although it received no acting nominations, it was recognized in the Best Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing categories. It also received two nominations for Best Original Song.

Milk, which chronicled the life of gay activist-turned-politician Harvey Milk, did manage to get a Best Director nomination for Gus Van Sant. It also earned a Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay nod as well. Sean Penn was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in the title role while Josh Brolin received a Best Supporting Actor for his role as a hot-tempered political opponent of Harvey Milk.

Doubt dominated the acting awards with Meryl Streep being nominated for Best Actress, Phillip Seymour Hoffman nominated for Best Supporting Actor and both Amy Adams and Viola Davis receiving Best Supporting Actress nominations. It also received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Oddly enough, for all the nominations in these major categories, Doubt did not manage to secure any other nominations including Best Director or Best Picture.

The docudrama Frost/Nixon, chronicling the famous interview of former president Richard Nixon by the British journalist David Frost earned Frank Langella a Best Acting nod for his portrayal of the ex-president, as well as a Best Direction nod for Ron Howard and a Best Picture nomination. It also received nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

The World War Two drama The Reader was the fifth film to receive the Best Picture nomination. It also earned a Best Actress nod for star Kate Winslett, Best Directing for Stephen Daldry, Best Adapted Screenplay and Cinematography.

Heath Ledger won a posthumous nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as the villainous Joker in The Dark Knight. Although the film was a hit with critics and at the box office,the only other nominations it received were in the technical categories of Best Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup, Sound Editing and Visual Effects.

The Wrestler, which has been lauded as a come back role for its star Mickey Rourke, earned the actor a Best Actor nomination. His co-star Marissa Tomei received a Best Supporting Actress nod for her work in the film. The film failed to garner any more nominations, though.

Critical favorite WALL-E picked up a Best Original Screenplay nomination in addition to a Best Animated Feature nod. Surprisingly, it did not get a spot on the overall Best Picture nomination list, despite good odds from many Oscar watchers.

Although Angelina Jolie received a Best Actress nod for her role in The Changeling, the Clint Eastwood-directed drama did not score any other nominations, except for one in the Best Art Direction category.

Other acting nominees including Robert Downey Jr. for the comedy Tropic Thunder,  Richard Jenkins for Best Actor in The Visitor , Melissa Leo for Best Actress in Frozen River, Anne Hathaway for Best Actress in Rachel Getting Married, Penelope Cruz in VickyChristinaBarcelona and Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road.

The Academy Awards will be presented on February 22.

The following is a complete list of the nominees-

Performance by an actor in a leading role-

  • Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
  • Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
  • Sean Penn in Milk
  • Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

Performance by an actor in a supporting role-

  • Josh Brolin in Milk
  • Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt
  • Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
  • Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road

Performance by an actress in a leading role-

  • Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married
  • Angelina Jolie in Changeling
  • Melissa Leo in Frozen River
  • Meryl Streep in Doubt
  • Kate Winslet in The Reader

Performance by an actress in a supporting role-

  • Amy Adams in Doubt
  • Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
  • Viola Davis in Doubt
  • Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler

Best animated feature film of the year-

  • Bolt
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • WALL-E

Achievement in art direction-

  • Changeling, Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
  • The Dark Knight, Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
  • The Duchess, Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
  • Revolutionary Road, Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Achievement in cinematography-

  • Changeling, Tom Stern
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Claudio Miranda
  • The Dark Knight, Wally Pfister
  • The Reader, Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in costume design-

  • Australia, Catherine Martin
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Jacqueline West
  • The Duchess, Michael O’Connor
  • Milk, Danny Glicker
  • Revolutionary Road, Albert Wolsky

Achievement in directing-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon, Ron Howard
  • Milk, Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader, Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle

Best documentary feature-

  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
  • Encounters at the End of the World
  • The Garden
  • Man on Wire
  • Trouble the Water

Best documentary short subject-

  • The Conscience of Nhem En
  • The Final Inch
  • Smile Pinki
  • The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

Achievement in film editing-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • The Dark Knight, Lee Smith
  • Frost/Nixon, Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
  • Milk, Elliot Graham
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Chris Dickens

Best foreign language film of the year-

  • The Baader Meinhof Complex
  • The Class
  • Departures
  • Revanche
  • Waltz with Bashir

Achievement in makeup-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Greg Cannom
  • The Dark Knight, John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance, James Newton Howard
  • Milk, Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E, Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • Down to Earth” from WALL-E, Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire, Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
  • O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire, Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

Best motion picture of the year-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire

Best animated short film-

  • La Maison en Petits Cubes
  • Lavatory – Lovestory
  • Oktapodi
  • Presto
  • This Way Up

Best live action short film-

  • Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
  • Manon on the Asphalt
  • New Boy
  • The Pig
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Achievement in sound editing-

  • The Dark Knight, Richard King
  • Iron Man, Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E, Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
  • Wanted,Wylie Stateman

Achievement in sound mixing-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
  • The Dark Knight, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E,Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
  • Wanted, Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Achievement in visual effects-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
  • The Dark Knight, Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
  • Iron Man, John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Adapted screenplay-

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
  • Doubt, Written by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon, Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • The Reader, Screenplay by David Hare
  • Slumdog Millionaire, Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original screenplay-

  • Frozen River, Written by Courtney Hunt
  • Happy-Go-Lucky, Written by Mike Leigh
  • In Bruges, Written by Martin McDonagh
  • Milk, Written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E, Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter
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About Rich Drees 6964 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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glenn freemantle
glenn freemantle
January 30, 2009 11:31 am

please can you update slumdog best sound editing as my name has been left off.and i was the lead sound supervisor /sound designer on the film
glenn freemantle