More surprises and snubs — 'Norbit' gets a nom?

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It was a wide-open field heading into this morning’s Oscar nominations, so of course there were going to be some notable omissions and surprising choices. Some of them were just stunners, though. Among them ...

ANGELINA, INTERRUPTED: Angelina Jolie seemed like a lock in the best-actress category for ‘‘A Mighty Heart,’’ in which she gave a wrenching performance as Mariane Pearl, the widow of slain journalist Daniel Pearl. The role has earned her Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Spirit Award nominations, and it’s probably the best work of her career. But she isn’t among the nominees for best actress at the Academy Awards, and the film itself was shut out entirely. Jolie already has a supporting-actress Oscar for 1999’s ‘‘Girl, Interrupted.’’

NOT TAKING THE OSCAR BAIT: A couple of films that would have seemed like traditional academy favorites were barely recognized. ‘‘American Gangster’’ only received two nominations, for supporting actress Ruby Dee and for its art direction — nothing for Oscar perennials Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe or director Ridley Scott. And ‘‘The Kite Runner,’’ based on the inspiring international best-seller, got just one, for original score.

DOUBLING UP, and sometimes tripling and quadrupling: Cate Blanchett received two nominations for best actress in ‘‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’’ and for supporting actress in ‘‘I’m Not There.’’ The great Roger Deakins is competing against himself in the cinematography category for ‘‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’’ and ‘‘No Country for Old Men.’’ The veteran music team behind ‘‘Enchanted’’ and many other Disney movies — Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz — received three out of the five original-song nominations. Paul Thomas Anderson also got three for ‘‘There Will Be Blood,’’ for best director, adapted screenplay and best picture (he’s one of the producers). And technically, the Coen brothers received four nominations — for best picture since they’re producers on ‘‘No Country for Old Men,’’ for director and adapted screenplay, and for editing under their longtime pseudonym, Roderick Jaynes.

LADIES FIRST: A record four screenplays were nominated in which women can claim sole writing credit: ‘‘Juno’’ by Diablo Cody, ‘‘The Savages’’ by Tamara Jenkins and ‘‘Lars and the Real Girl’’ by Nancy Oliver in the original category, and ‘‘Away From Her’’ by Sarah Polley in the adapted category. It’s also the first Oscar nomination for all four.

THANK YOU FOR NOMINATING: All along, with all the awards talk ‘‘Juno’’ has so duly received, the names of its star (Ellen Page) and its screenwriter (Cody) have been repeatedly bandied about. Even its best-picture nomination isn’t exactly shocking; everyone’s been calling the indie comedy this year’s ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine.’’ But what was a surprise was the nomination of director Jason Reitman. This is just the second feature from the 30-year-old, following 2005’s ‘‘Thank You for Smoking.’’ Fellow nominees Tony Gilroy (‘‘Michael Clayton’’) and Julian Schnabel (‘‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’’) are also Oscar first-timers.

MAYBE YOU CAN STOP THE BEAT: Golden Globe winner ‘‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,’’ based on the revered Stephen Sondheim musical, was considered a likely best picture nominee but only received nominations for lead actor Johnny Depp, art direction and costume design. And ‘‘Hairspray’’ was shut out completely — not even a supporting-actor nomination for John Travolta in drag.

D’OH!: ‘‘The Simpsons Movie’’ failed to grab a nomination in the best animated film category, despite being a critical hit and earning nearly $526 million worldwide. Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘‘Bee Movie’’ also was snubbed. What’s the deal with that? (The nominees are ‘‘Persepolis,’’ ‘‘Ratatouille’’ and ‘‘Surf’s Up.’’)

CALL THE KARMA POLICE: Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood was shockingly overlooked for his original score for ‘‘There Will Be Blood.’’ It’s modern, dramatic and hauntingly dissonant — unlike anything you’ve heard before — and just a few notes of it during a TV commercial can send chills. Eddie Vedder also was snubbed for his original songs and score for ‘‘Into the Wild,’’ as was Clint Eastwood for his music in ‘‘Grace Is Gone.’’

KAZAKHSTAN, KAZAKHSTAN, YOU VERY NICE PLACE: ‘‘Mongol’’ is the first Kazakh film to receive a nomination in the foreign-language category. Directed by Sergei Bodrov, the movie follows the early years of Genghis Khan. Borat would be so proud — even though he’d probably have no idea who Genghis Khan was.

HOW YOU DOIN’?: The universally derided ‘‘Norbit,’’ in which Eddie Murphy plays multiple roles — a lisping nerd, his heavyset wife and an Asian stereotype — just received eight Razzie nominations for the year’s worst, including five for Murphy alone. But this morning, it also earned an Oscar nomination for best makeup, which means that for all of eternity, we will have to acknowledge the movie as the Academy Award-nominated ‘‘Norbit.’’


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on January 22, 2008 3:21 PM.

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