80th Academy Awards Nominations - Reactions

On the morning of 22 January 2008, Academy Award®-winning actress Kathy Bates and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis announced the nominations for the 80th Annual Academy Awards for films released in 2007.

(click poster for the 80th Academy Awards to Purchase Poster)

The Nominations:
[listing | with reactions | with predictions]

Performance by an actor in a leading role

• George Clooney in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
• Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
• Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
• Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah” (Warner Independent)
• Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises” (Focus Features)


Three of the finest performances by leading actors were ignored.
• Christian Bale was snubbed entirely once again despite three knock out showings in 3:10 to Yuma, Rescue Dawn, and I'm Not There. This oversight is absolutely stunning and inexplicable but continues the trend of the AMPAS utterly ignoring his work. If payback time ever comes, they are going to owe him a lot of hardware.
• Ryan Gosling, who was nominated last year for his role in Half Nelson, delivered the performance of his lifetime in Lars and the Real Girl. This quirky dramedy was, by far the most over-looked film of the year by critics for some unknown reason. Regardless, he out performed both George Clooney and Tommy Lee Jones.
• Don Cheadle was all but forgotten for his role as Ralph Waldo 'Petey' Greene in Talk to Me, a film that also was long forgotten by December. It's too bad because he was absolutely at the top of his game in this film and one of the most memorable performances of the year. Not only that, but he was also unreal in Reign Over Me—also a long-forgotten film from the spring.

In a nutshell, Mr. Clooney, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Mortensen got spots that should have gone to Mr. Bale, Mr. Gosling, and Mr. Cheadle.

As for the other nominees…
Johnny Depp was a very worthy nominee, and Daniel Day-Lewis was a foregone conclusion. The film, There Will Be Blood" is an odd film—more on it later—but there's no question that his performance is one of the best of decade.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

• Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.)
• Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
• Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War” (Universal)
• Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
• Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

The AMPAS nearly got it perfect with these nominations. While these are some of the finest supporting performances ever given, literally, in the same year. With every single one of them is 24K Gold, probably Hal Holbrook's nomination should have gone to Chiwetel Ejiofor for his role as Dewey Hughes in Talk to Me. Too few people saw this outstanding film, super-charged film, and had they, they would have voted for him.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

• Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal)
• Julie Christie in “Away from Her” (Lionsgate)
• Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse)
• Laura Linney in “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight)
• Ellen Page in “Juno” (Fox Searchlight)

There are two weak links in this chain just as in the Best Actor category. In this case Cate Blanchett was not at the top of her game in the weak sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Meanwhile, Laura Linney, too, was not up to all her right stuff. As it happens, this was not the best year for roles for women hence why Julie Christie's performance in the little seen Away from Her was still fresh on people's minds despite a May release—not that she shouldn't have been as it was a beautiful performance and worthy of a win not just a nomination.

Who should have gotten their spots? One should have gone to Wei Tang of Lust, Caution. This incredible film by Ang Lee got the royal snub this year scoring not even a single nomination. It's odd because when the film came out, it was all people could talk about. Once No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood arrived, however, its luster faded quickly. The other spot should have gone to Meryl Streep. How so? Well, first if she's in a film in a give year, she should, as the greatest living actor (yes male or female) on the planet, she should get an automatic bid to the final five. But, in all seriousness, her three roles in Evening, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition were universally brilliant.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

• Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There” (The Weinstein Company)
• Ruby Dee in “American Gangster” (Universal)
• Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement” (Focus Features)
• Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone” (Miramax)
• Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)

It's nice, but irritating when the AMPAS gets too sentimental in the voting. While Ruby Dee was darling in American Gangster, her performance was not better as a supporting nod than Meryl Streep might have scored for any of her three ignored roles this year. Meanwhile, the voters are in big trouble for completely snubbing Oprah Winfrey, the most powerful person on earth, and her film The Great Debaters. Nominating Jurnee Smollett for her powerful and moving role could have kept her Majesty happy while, in all seriousness, oh, I was serious, Jurnee Smollett's performance was the second best supporting actress delivery of the year behind, of course, the all-too-worthy Cate Blanchett. So, swapping Ruby Dee for Junee Smollett, and you have a brilliant roster, with all due respect to Ms Dee who certainly, career-wise was more than worthy.

Best animated feature film of the year

• “Persepolis” (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
• “Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Brad Bird
• “Surf's Up” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Yikes! No Shrek? Well, actually Shrek wasn't that great. But, then neither was Surf's Up. Also, note the peculiar absence of Bee Movie. Who knows why Meet the Robinsons wasn't nominated? Rule changes prohibited Beowulf from being nominated as well as Alvin and the Chipmunks. There was no rule against The Simpsons Movie however, also curiously absent. It really doesn't make sense not to nominate five films—unless only three were good.

Achievement in art direction

• “American Gangster” (Universal) Art Direction: Arthur Max | Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
• “Atonement” (Focus Features) Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood | Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
• “The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners) Art Direction: Dennis Gassner | Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
• “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Art Direction: Dante Ferretti | Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
• “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Art Direction: Jack Fisk | Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Not much reaction here other than it seems like the AMPAS voters get fixated on a few films. These artistic categories are voted for, theoretically, only by people who are experts in the field rather than the general voting body. So, you have to feel they know what they are doing. It just would be interesting to see why they thought There Will Be Blood, for example had better Art and Set than say 3:10 to Yuma?

Achievement in cinematography

• “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (Warner Bros.) Roger Deakins
• “Atonement” (Focus Features) Seamus McGarvey
• “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Janusz Kaminski
• “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins
• “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

This is the one category where No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood seem obvious.

Achievement in costume design

• “Across the Universe” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
• “Atonement” (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
• “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
• “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
• “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Across the Universe…hello???? Is anybody listening? Where are all the Beatles fans that were supposed to make this film a hit sensation? Are you all too old? Come on people, Hairspray got more acclaim than this film. Julie Taymor made a mistake in not finding a role in Across the Universe of Zach Efron.

Achievement in directing

• “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Julian Schnabel
• “Juno” (Fox Searchlight) Jason Reitman
• “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) Tony Gilroy
• “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
• “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson


(a) If you saw Thank You for Smoking, you would not nominate Jason Reitman for Juno.
(b) Why does everyone think that Michael Clayton is so award worthy? Is it because George Clooney has been crowned king of peace by the UN? Um, hellow, Brad Pitt is quietly rebuilding New Orleans and nobody is dancing around shouting about The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (granted, that's a mouthful to shout in one breath). Michael Clayton was good, but it wasn't that good, and virtually anyone could have directed it.
(c) I understand wanting to nominate the Coen Bros. Very hip. Very cool. And, yes, this film has their signature all over it, so fine. That could be the one throwaway nomination.
(d)There Will Be Blood? How could this receive a best directing nomination? The film is pretty bad in most every aesthetic way. If you take Daniel Day-Lewis out of this film what's left? Ok, Paul Dano was pretty good too. But, the film actually, wasn't that great. Who's to blame? Paul Thomas Anderson.

Who should have been nominated instead? Well, first, the AMPAS has some serious explaining to do once again. Once again, despite all the efforts of movieEVERYday.com, there is not a single female nominee. And you know what, that's pretty strange considering at the very least, Away From Her and Across the Universe would have been more logical choices for best director here than Tony Gilroy, Paul Thomas Anderson, or Jason Reitman. Across the Universe was one of the most artistically ingenious films of the year by far. The vision and imagination of Julie Taymor is virtually unprecedented in the history of film and stage design. Look, let's be frank her, if the AMPAS is not going to nominate women, it's only nominated three in the directing category in history, along side men, then they have to bite the bullet and split the category along gender lines. This is absolutely outrageous. It's also outrageous that no one of any power in this country is doing anything about it. When no actors of color were getting nominated, the Reverend Jesse Jackson went on a rampage. He might start again after he takes a look at this year's nominations. Anyway, who out there has the power to stand up for women on this issue? Either nominate women or split the category like was done in the beginning for acting. There is no logical reason why the acting category is split and not the directing category. A carefully researched article on this topic along with a petition and letter-writing campaign was initiated by movieEVERYday.com back near the end of May. There was no way to know that nearly 8 months later not one thing would have changed. There has been no splitting of the category, and now again no female nominees. movieEVERYday challenges every single one of our readers to get on board with this movement. Sign the petition, use our form letter on the topic, get a grass roots movement going to lobby the AMPAS. This is an embarrassment to AMPAS they should not continue to be allowed to do to themselves.

So, while not begrudging the nominations of these fine male directors, certainly Sarah Polley and Julie Taymore were equally if not more worthy of a nomination that neither received.

Best documentary feature

• “No End in Sight” (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
• “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience” (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
• “Sicko” (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
• “Taxi to the Dark Side” (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
• “War/Dance” (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

This was not a great year for getting the documentaries to the people. With the exception of Sicko, most people haven't seen or even heard of this slate of nominees. Meanwhile, it's hard to explain the notable absence of The 11th Hour which was one of the best films of the year and Arctic Tale which apparently scared too many people. One or both of these films should have been nominated.

Best documentary short subject

• “Freeheld” A Lieutenant Films Production: Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
• “La Corona (The Crown)” A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production: Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
• “Salim Baba” A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production: Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
• “Sari’s Mother” (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production: James Longley

None at this time.

Achievement in film editing

•“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Christopher Rouse
•“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
•“Into the Wild” (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
•“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roderick Jaynes
•“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

(a) It was the editing of Into the Wild that ruined the film.
(b) Please stop nominating the top films over and over because you've heard of them. This is painful. Was Rescue Dawn not well-edited? Was Lust, Caution not well-edited? Was Gone Baby Gone not well-edited? Was the Assassination of Jesse James not?

Best foreign language film of the year

•“Beaufort” A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production Israel
•“The Counterfeiters” An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production Austria
•“Katyń” An Akson Studio Production Poland
•“Mongol” A Eurasia Film Production Kazakhstan
•“12” A Three T Production Russia

This is the first time in 3 years that not one of the nominees has been reviewed by movieEVERYday.com. That has to say something about them. Where were these films? When were they released? Why are they not being shown across the USA? Either they aren't that good, or something has to change in the film distribution to afford everyone in the USA the opportunity to have an informed opinion on international language films.

Achievement in makeup

“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
• “Norbit” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
• “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Publicity agents, here's your opportunity to add "Academy Award®-Nominee" to your Norbit marketing materials. I guess they were worthy. But what about the people who made up John Travolta in Hairspray? How about all the people involved in Across the Universe? Why not nominate 5?

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

• “Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli Dario Marianelli - Atonement (Music from the Motion Picture)
• “The Kite Runner” (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias Michael Nowak & The Hollywood Studio Symphony - The Kite Runner (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
• “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard James Newton Howard - Michael Clayton
• “Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino Michael Giacchino - Ratatouille (Score from the Motion Picture)
• “3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami Marco Beltrami - 3:10 to Yuma (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Yeah, here's a good question? How is it that Once, August Rush, and Across the Universe weren't nominated here? These three films hinged entirely on the brilliance of the music and all three soared. None of these nominees even comes close and a couple don't even make senses. The AMPAS voters in this category were all 100% entirely asleep at the wheel. It's be great if a single person who actually can prove he or she voted on this category could explain their nonsense choices.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

• “Falling Slowly” from “Once” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once (Music from the Motion Picture)
• “Happy Working Song” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Stephen Schwartz Amy Adams - Enchanted (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
• “Raise It Up” from “August Rush” (Warner Bros.) Nominees to be determined Jamia Simone Nash & The IMPACT Repertory Theatre - August Rush (Music from the Motion Picture)
• “So Close” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Stephen Schwartz Jon McLaughlin - Enchanted (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
• “That’s How You Know” from “Enchanted” (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Stephen Schwartz Amy Adams - Enchanted (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

Well, here Once and August Rush did get singular nods but still fell way below the three nods given to songs from the Disney® film Enchanted. Apparently, the AMPAS voters were thinking about saving money and time when it comes to the presentation of songs at the Awards ceremony which have been terrible when there wasn't at least one Disney song in the mix.

Best motion picture of the year

• “Atonement” (Focus Features) A Working Title Production: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
• “Juno” (Fox Searchlight) A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
• “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production: Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
• “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage): A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production: Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
• “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production: JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Well, there shouldn't be any surprise here in that the AMPAS has failed again as it always does to nominate the truly 5 best films of the year. But, this is the first time in recent memory that they didn't even get 1 of the best films into the top five. The five best films of the year, in our humble opinion were among these:
Lars and the Real Girl • Rescue Dawn • Talk to Me • Across the Universe • Charlie Wilson's War • Death at a Funeral • The Great Debaters • The Jane Austen Book Club • Freedom Writers • Lions for Lambs • Reign Over Me • 3:10 to Yuma • The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford • Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story • In the Valley of Elah • Love in the time of Cholera • Lust, Caution • Rendition • Shoot 'Em Up

There you go. And you will notice that not one of these films got nominated. Had even just one been nominated, then, probably there might be some sense of satisfaction. But, not one got nominated and every film on this list is better, more powerful, more humorous, more worthy, than any of the five nominees, with all due respect, in the opinion of movieEVERYday.com. Part of the problem, is of course, that one critic at movieEVERYday.com saw and reviewed 203 movies in 2007 (and actually saw another 23 that never got reviewed). How many films did the voters see? Did they all see 203 movies? There were 311 films eligible for the awards having seen nearly two thirds of them is shameful if one's to have an informed opinion, really, but far less than most voters probably see. They seem to rely on word of mouth as to what to see and what's great or who knows what. The nomination process seems very sketchy if it fails to pull out even one of the truly best films of the year. And yes, movieEVERYday.com did see and review all of the five that got nominated, and none compares as being better than any of those on this list above.

Best animated short film

• “I Met the Walrus” A Kids & Explosions Production: Josh Raskin
• “Madame Tutli-Putli” (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production: Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
• “Même Les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)” (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production: Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
• “My Love (Moya Lyubov)” (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production: Alexander Petrov
• “Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production: Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

None at this time

Best live action short film

• “At Night” A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production: Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
• “Il Supplente (The Substitute)” (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production: Andrea Jublin
• “Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films) A Karé Production: Philippe Pollet-Villard
• “Tanghi Argentini” (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production: Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
• “The Tonto Woman” A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production: Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

None at this time

Achievement in sound editing

• “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
• “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Skip Lievsay
• “Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
• “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Matthew Wood
• “Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Sure, kind of the same reactions with a caveat. Thanks to the people who thought about nominating Transformers. That's great. The person or persons that most got robbed here were the sound editors for August Rush.

Achievement in sound mixing

• “The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
• “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
• “Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
• “3:10 to Yuma” (Lionsgate) Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
• “Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Again, the August Rush and Once people got robbed here.

Achievement in visual effects

• “The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners) Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
• “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (Walt Disney) John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
• “Transformers” (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro) Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Um? Beowulf? The entire film was a visual effect. You cannot render these films ineligible for animation awards and then not give them any visual effect nominations. This is crazy. Beowulf was the most amazing achievement in animated 3D photorealism ever.

Adapted screenplay

• “Atonement” (Focus Features) Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
• “Away from Her” (Lionsgate) Written by Sarah Polley
• “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
• “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

No qualms with these nominees. But, when it comes to sharing the wealth, there were a bunch of other worthy candidates that might have been thrown a bone.

Original screenplay

• “Juno” (Fox Searchlight) Written by Diablo Cody
• “Lars and the Real Girl” (MGM) Written by Nancy Oliver
• “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.) Written by Tony Gilroy
• “Ratatouille” (Walt Disney) Screenplay by Brad Bird Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
• “The Savages” (Fox Searchlight) Written by Tamara Jenkins

What no Bee Movie? Jerry Seinfeld must be pouting due to getting beaten out by the Rats again. It's great, though, that a Disney® film has finally gotten some writing credit, and Brad Bird is a rare talent to be sure. The film, however, had some problems and the story wasn't better than Cars which got nada in this category last year. So, go figure.

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