Oscar list for 2009 is released

Oscar nominations total 13 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - File photo
Oscar nominations total 13 for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - File photo

Don’t get me wrong. Brad Pitt should most certainly win acting awards even though I personally favor his comedic timing over the dramatic performances of recent times. But, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is just not Oscar-worthy, in this humble writer’s opinion.

Frankly, the movie droned on and on so much in such tiresome monotony that I began to find myself actually cheering aloud (when I was awake) as Button started becoming younger and younger because I knew that the end must surely be near. And since the first 52 minutes of the film was all computer generated, that means that for almost an hour into the movie there was zero real Brad!

The visual effects of Brad’s character in his older years were all digitally done! So, should we ask Eastwood if 52 minutes of digital effects is worth a Best Actor nod? At least Clint was physically there for all 116 minutes of Gran Torino, but he wasn’t nominated in the acting category at all. That is truly curious.

I think that the two most deserving nominees are Frank Langella and Sean Penn who are ironically both starring in true stories. I like movies based on real people and I believe that the general viewing public finds them most interesting and engaging. It is so much fun to watch them and to determine whether we think they have done justice to Mohammed Ali, Ronald Reagan, or Paul “Bear” Bryant.

More than likely, one of Penn’s first acting roles was in a television series based on fact. He was a fourteen-year old blond extra on Little House on the Prairie because his dad, Leo, directed some of the episodes. It was loosely based on a series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

And Penn gave a memorable performance as Andrew Daulton Lee in The Falcon and the Snowman, a film that documented Lee’s espionage activities. Who could forget also his portrayal of would-be assassin Samuel Byck in The Assassination of Richard Nixon? Byck planned on hijacking an airliner and crashing it into the White House while Nixon was there. Gosh, if that assassination attempt had been successful in 1974, I wouldn’t be able to talk about Frost/Nixon here because the movie would never have been made.

In case someone out there has lived under a rock for the past thirty or so years…or in case you’re not as old as I am, President Richard Nixon granted David Frost a series of television interviews way back in 1977; the point of interest being, of course, the Watergate scandal. Frost gained fame on television in Britain with a satirical comedy called That Was the Week That Was and his fame spread to the USA after airing a tribute to President John F. Kennedy.

Ron Howard directed Frost/Nixon to perfection, using most of the same cast who began on Broadway with it in March of 2007. During that run, Langella won a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play and also won a Drama Desk Award in that same category. Maybe that was just a warm up exercise for the Academy Awards. I think he will give Sean Penn a very close run for the golden statuette.

As for Frost/Nixon, even though you know what comes next (if you actually remember the interviews or if you’ve read about them) the viewer is still drawn in by the chemistry of Michael Sheen and Frank Langella almost as if they actually are their counterparts. These were exciting performances and I was kept on the edge of my seat as if being affected by some Schwarzenegger action-packed thriller. Frost/Nixon gets my vote for Best Picture.

So, what say you out there in the movie-watching world? What actor are you cheering for? Which movie do you like? Log in or register and post some comments!

Article by Melissa Parker

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