Oscar Rants

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Here I am at the Sundance Film Festival where everyone woke up early to hear the nominations for the 80th annual Academy Awards. No complaints about all the love for my fave No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood--with eight nominations each they lead the pack. On their tail for Best Picture are Michael Clayton and Atonement with seven nominations each and Juno, the little movie that could, pulling up the rear with four nominations. Don't discount the runt of the litter. Juno is making a pile at the box office and if No Country and Blood split the violent vote, Juno or even Michael Clayton could reap the benefits. Atonement has a bigger hurdle to jump--being the only Best Picture nominee with no nomination for its director, the supremely underrated Joe Wright.

Still, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't bitching about Oscar stupidity: The tin ears in the music categories found no reason to nominate Eddie Vedder's songs for Into the Wild and disqualified the year's best film score, There Will Be Blood, because composer Jonny Greenwood sampled other composers. Sheesh.

And what's with the cold shoulder to Into the Wild and director-writer Sean Penn? And Tony Gilroy gets a directing nomination for Michael Clayton while the great Sidney Lumet goes home empty-handed for Before the Devil Knows You're Dead even though Clayton borrows liberally from two Lumet classics, Network and The Verdict. And in blowing off Judd Apatow's script for Knocked Up in favor of Nancy Oliver's whimsy fest, Lars and the Real Girl, the Academy again shows it doesn't know comedy from its own dumb ass.

I'm just getting started. More later. Now it's time for more Sundance movies.