UPDATED! Down at the bottom are the Director’s Guild nominations, completing the Oscar forecast.
I’m much less interested in the all-inclusive nature of the Academy Awards than I am in the recognition doled out by various guilds. It’s much more telling (though no less political, I realize) to see who among their own the guilds choose to nominate and finally highlight. So here are your WGA and ASC noms for ’08, each of which has a couple of titles missing.
The ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) has nominated the following pictures for achievement in 2008:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Claudio Miranda)
The Dark Knight (Wally Pfister)
The Reader (Roger Deakins and Chris Menges)
Revolutionary Road (Roger Deakins)
Slumdog Millionaire (Anthony Dod Mantle)
None of those are surprising by any means. The validity of Button, Slumdog and The Dark Knight (the latter as I highlighted in my Best of ’08 list) are self-evident. The Reader is worthy for the way in which Chris Menges managed to seamlessly integrate his work with Deakins’. You’d never guess the film was the product of two photographers.
And the ASC is pretty much honor-bound to showcase members whose work has a certain beauty, which explains why Roger Deakins has secured four nominations in the past two years. That eye for beauty makes it hard to accept the omission of Harris Savides, whose work on Milk was some of the most natural and simple storytelling he’s done yet. Don’t be irritated by the omission of The Wrestler‘s Maryse Alberti, however. To my knowledge she’s not an ASC member. Let’s hope that doesn’t hurt her chances of being the first woman to even be nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar.
On the flip side, here are the WGA’s noms:
Burn After Reading (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
Milk (Dustin Lance Black)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen)
The Visitor (Tom McCarthy)
The Wrestler (Robert Siegel)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Screenplay by Eric Roth; Screen Story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord; Based on the Short Story by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Dark Knight (Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; Story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer; Based on Characters Appearing in Comic Books Published by DC Comics)
Doubt (Screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, Based on his Stage Play)
Frost/Nixon (Screenplay by Peter Morgan, Based on his Stage Play)
Slumdog Millionaire (Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, Based on the Novel Q and A by Vikas Swarup)
Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story (Stefan Forbes and Noland Walker)
Chicago 10 (Brett Morgen)
Fuel (Johnny O’Hara)
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (Alex Gibney, From the Words of Hunter S. Thompson)
Waltz with Bashir (Ari Folman)
These selections are safe. But Milk and The Visitor (both films I really liked, granted) in Best Original, but not Synecdoche, New York? I know people are complaining about the lack of Rachel Getting Married, as well, but I [shame] haven’t seen it yet, so won’t comment. I’m irritated to see the snooze Gonzo for Documentary, rather than Man on Wire. But Wire isn’t in the running, I believe, because it doesn’t have a credited writer. And in Adapted, only Doubt and Slumdog feel like locks; the others are obvious but very flawed choices.
UPDATE: The DGA noms are in as well, and they’ll please many a Dark Knight fan. Do the director’s shuffle:
The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan)
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)
Milk (Gus Van Sant)
Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher)
No big surprises there, unless you really thought Andrew Stanton was a contender for Wall-E. This makes Batman’s chances look a lot better for Oscar, but will it actually nab a Best Picture nod through this endorsement? Probably doesn’t matter — these noms mean that the year could well belong to Danny Boyle.