80th Academy Awards Nominations

Nominations for the most prestigious film awards – the Academy Awards – have been announced. Unlike last year where I only looked at the Best Picture nominations, here are my thoughts on most of the major categories for the this years Oscar nominations.

Best Actor

I have heard amazing accolades for Daniel Day-Lewis, so I'll be suprised if he doesn't win best actor this year, although Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood hasn't been released in the UK yet, so I haven't seen it. Of the films I've seen in this category, I thought both Viggo Mortensen and George Clooney were both outstanding.

Best Supporting Actor

Both Casey Affleck and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War) were amazing in their roles. And although I haven't seen No Country for Old Men or Into the Wild I would have to give this Oscar to Casey Affleck for his role as Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James. It is a shame Ben Foster didn't receive a nomination for his supporting role in the western 3:10 to Yuma.

Best Animated Feature

Out of those nominated I have only seen Ratatouille, however, this was a brilliant film - not just a brilliant animated film. It stood up to the hype from critics and the standard of other Pixar films. Persepolis is a very stylistic foreign animation with a more serious storyline, which has also been heavily commended by critics. I highly doubt Surf's Up in a serious contender.

Best Director

This is the category I'm most interested in, but I've only been able to see one of these films so far; Michael Clayton. Although the film was well shot and acted, I thought pacing and storytelling were slow and confusing. Juno has been raved about, but I don't see it pushing any directorial boundaries. The Coen-Brothers are supposedly back on top form for No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood will no doubt be an epic like his previous films Magnolia and Boogie Nights. It'll be a tough call between these two veteran filmmakers.

However, I am most looking forward in seeing The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The French film about the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; has been reviewed as "imagine a Spike Jonze-Charlie Kauffman-Michel Gondry-style film" — I envisage a rewarding masterpiece.

Best Documentary Feature

Again, I've only seen one of the nominated films; Sicko. It was a very poignant documentary, however, it is too American-centric and I feel a lot of people outside that culture will not be able to relate to the gravity of the situation, due to the free health-care many viewers in Europe receive.

Best Picture

I am very doubtful that Juno will win Best Picture, it is looking to be a great indie flick, but shouldn't be in the running for Best Picture. Michael Clayton was good, but I don't think it is Best Picture material. Atonement was a box office success but I hope that either No Country for Old Men or There Will be Blood will take home this Oscar.