The Gay Superbowl nominations have been announced. Let's go category by category (well, only for the big ones) and take a look at the surprises and, if we can make such predictions, the likely winners.
The Reader was a very surprising inclusion, but I guess it teaches us never to underestimate the power of Harvey Wigglesworth Weinstein. Also, it's about the Holocaust. So, you know. The film has a Lost red shirt's (flaming arrow!) chance of winning, though. The glittery trophy will go, we're certain, to Slumdog Millionaire, the isn't-Indjuh-horrifying-but-pretty romance fable. Dark horse The Dark Knight didn't make it in, which doesn't bode well for Underworld 2: Electric Lycans next year.
Best Male Actress
No terribly surprising names here. Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, Frank Langella, and Bradley Jane Pitt were all locks. Nice that Richard Jenkins has been given some recognition after so many years toiling in relative oh-that-guy obscurity. This will go to Mickey Rourke, barring any major upsets.
Melissa Leo! Her gritty turn in Frozen River won't get her the award, but she's basically been tossed into a whole new echelon of make believers. Look for lots of gritty supporting work in the years to come. Kate Winslet will win the statue for The Reader and not, as was expected, for her husband's wan vanity project Revolutionary Road.
Best Supporting Boy
Tropic Thunder is now "an Academy Award-nominated film." So, that's funny. Robert Downey Jr. was pretty great in that movie, though I would have given the nod to that little stabby baby who got thrown into the river. Michael Shannon got surprise recognition for his mealy-faced sniping in Rev Road—the Academy likes to throw people bones once in a while. This looks to be a contest between Heath Ledger and Josh Brolin, and we think that Ledger will take it because... well... you know. Brolin could win for something else in the future.
Best Hooker, Victim, or Doormat (supporting lady)
Nice to see encouragement for Taraji P. Henson's (Benjamin Button) and Marisa Tomei's (The Wrestler) fine work, but they won't win. This is a battle between Viola Davis' fierce couple of scenes in Doubt and Penelope Cruz's ability to be very, very sexy in Woody Allen Imagines a Threesome, This Time in Spain. We're gonna call it early for Davis.
No big surprises here, other than Daldry for The Reader. He wasn't on anyone's radar. Maybe the Academy really liked his wistful work on Broadway sensation Billy Elliot and said "hey, why not?" Either that or Weinstein had his goons (Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes) dangle a few people off their balconies. This will go to Danny Boyle for O Mumbai!
Screenplays, Original and Plagiarized
Nice representation for an Irish playwright (Martin McDonagh, In Bruges) and some relative unknowns (Courtney Hunt for Frozen River, Dustin Lance "Twinky LaRue" Black for Milk). Wall-E got a kindly tally here, which is pleasant. We'll make tentative calls for Slumdog in Adapted and Happy-Go-Lucky in Original. The latter film is probably a bit upset right now that their girl Sally Hawkins didn't make the short list.
Benjamin Button scored huuuge with 13 nominations, many of which they won't collect awards on. Sri Lankan rapstress M.I.A. has now been nominated for an Academy Award (for her song "O Saya" from Slumdog) so that's sort of hilarious. Crazy kaleidoscope animated docudrama Waltz with Bashir is a good bet to win in its Best Foreign Language Feature category, while Man on Wire will probably eke past Trouble the Water to nab the Best Documentary prize. We'd like to see The Reader win for Cinematography if only so our personal hero Roger Deakins (seek out all of his work, pls) could get a little golden man. Though, he'd be sharing it with some other dude. So that wouldn't really count. Benjamin Button might be a lock for its decades-spanning Art Direction and Makeup, while we think Danny Elfman should be sent to the stage for the lovely, haunting Score he composed for Milk.
What Missed Out
No love for Charlie Kaufman's (pretentiously?) mind-bending Synecdoche, New York. Gran Torino's late-game groundswell (big box office!) didn't get it anywhere. And Bruce Springsteen didn't get included for the sad folk ditty he wrote for The Wrestler. We're bummed that Rachel Getting Married's mind-bogglingly good Bill Irwin didn't get a nomination, and surprised that the film's screenwriter, Jenny Lumet, couldn't lock one in either. Ah well.
What'd you think?