Alt Film Guide
Classic movies. Gay movies. International cinema. Socially conscious & political cinema.
Home Movie News Penélope Cruz & Goldie Hawn + Whoopi Goldberg & Eva Marie Saint: The Oscars

Penélope Cruz & Goldie Hawn + Whoopi Goldberg & Eva Marie Saint: The Oscars

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

“This is not going to be 45 seconds, I can say that right now,” said best supporting actress winner Penélope Cruz (for Vicky Cristina Barcelona). “Has anybody ever fainted here? Because I might be the first one. Thank you so much to the Academy. I want to share this with my fellow nominees and with the amazing ensemble of actors that I had the privilege to work with in this movie. Thank you, Woody [Allen], for trusting me with this beautiful character. Thank for you having written over all these years some of the greatest characters for women.”

Cruz also thanked Bigas Luna and Pedro Almodóvar, and added, “I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, where this was not a very realistic dream. And I, always on the night of the Academy Awards, I stay up to watch the show and I always felt that this was, this ceremony was a moment of unity for the world because art, in any form, is and has been and will always be our universal language and we should do everything we can, everything we can, to protect its survival.”

At the end of her speech, she spoke in Spanish to dedicate her award to her fellow Spanish performers.

Cruz’s award was presented by last year’s winner, Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton).

Also on the Oscar stage were previous best supporting actress winners Goldie Hawn (1969, Cactus Flower), Whoopi Goldberg (1990, Ghost), Anjelica Huston (1985, Prizzi’s Honor), and super-veteran Eva Marie Saint (1954, On the Waterfront), one of the best actresses of her generation.

Photo: Darren Decker / © A.M.P.A.S.

Photos: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.

Tina Fey, Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, Steve Martin

Tina Fey, Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, Steve Martin

Dustin Lance Black

Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black

Jack Black, Andrew Stanton, and Jennifer Aniston

Jack Black, Andrew Stanton, and Jennifer Aniston

A. R. Rahman

A. R. Rahman

Photos: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.

Yojiro Takita, Liam Neeson

Yojiro Takita, Liam Neeson

Anthony Dod Mantle, Natalie Portman

Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, Natalie Portman

Danny Boyle, Steven Spielberg, and Christian Colson

Danny Boyle, Steven Spielberg, and Christian Colson

Penélope Cruz

Penélope Cruz

Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard

Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard

Christopher Walken, Joel Grey, Cuba Gooding Jr, Alan Arkin, Kevin Kline, Heath Ledger's sister, father, and mother

Christopher Walken, Joel Grey, Cuba Gooding Jr, Alan Arkin, Kevin Kline, Heath Ledger’s sister, father, and mother

Michael Douglas, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Hopkins and Robert De Niro

Christopher Walken, Joel Grey, Michael Douglas, Adrien Brody, Sean Penn, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Hopkins and Robert De Niro

Kate Winslet, Sean Penn, and Penélope Cruz

Oscar winners Kate Winslet, Sean Penn, and Penélope Cruz

Michael O'Conner, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daniel Craig

The Duchess costume designer Michael O’Conner, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daniel Craig

Photos: Todd Wawrychuk / © A.M.P.A.S.

Photos: Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S.

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith

Photos: Bryan Crowe / © A.M.P.A.S.

Photos: Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S. (Fey/Martin); Darren Decker / © A.M.P.A.S. (all other photos)

Hugh Jackman Anne Hathaway

Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway

Tina Fey Steve Martin

Tina Fey, Steve Martin

Photos: Greg Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S. (Portman/Dod Mantle); Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S. (all other photos)

Goldie Hawn

Goldie Hawn

Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston

Photos: Michael Yada / © A.M.P.A.S.

Eva Marie Saint, Jeffrey Hayden

Eva Marie Saint, with husband Jeffrey Hayden

Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer

Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell

Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell

2009 Academy Awards

2009 Academy Award nominations: Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Jan. 22

2009 Academy Award winners: Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles on Feb. 22

(See also: Oscar 2009 Predictions.)

Best film
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
Frost/Nixon (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production,Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
Milk (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
The Reader (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti and Redmond Morris, Producers
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production,Christian Colson, Producer

Best foreign language film
The Baader Meinhof Complex A Constantin Film Production, Germany
The Class (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
* Departures (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
Revanche (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
Waltz with Bashir (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel

Best documentary feature
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
Encounters at the End of the World (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
The Garden A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
* Man on Wire (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
Trouble the Water (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Best animated feature
Bolt (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
* WALL-E (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton

Best directing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
Frost/Nixon (Universal), Ron Howard
Milk (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
The Reader (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Best actor
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor (Overture Films)
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (Universal)
* Sean Penn in Milk (Focus Features)
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)

Best actress
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics)
Angelina Jolie in Changeling (Universal)
Melissa Leo in Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics)
Meryl Streep in Doubt (Miramax)
* Kate Winslet in The Reader (The Weinstein Company)

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin in Milk (Focus Features)
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Miramax)
* Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.)
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams in Doubt (Miramax)
* Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (The Weinstein Company)
Viola Davis in Doubt (Miramax)
Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)

Best original screenplay
Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
In Bruges (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
* Milk (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

Best adapted screenplay
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
Doubt (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
The Reader (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Best cinematography
Changeling (Universal), Tom Stern
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
The Reader (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

Best film editing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
Frost/Nixon (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
Milk (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

Best original score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Alexandre Desplat
Defiance (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
Milk (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), A. R. Rahman
WALL-E (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman

Best song
“Down to Earth” from WALL-E (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
* “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Music by A. R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
“O Saya” from Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A. R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

Best art direction
Changeling (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
The Duchess (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Best costume design
Australia (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
* The Duchess (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
Milk (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky

Best visual effects
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
Iron Man (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Best sound editing
* The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), Richard King
Iron Man (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
WALL-E (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
Wanted (Universal),Wylie Stateman

Best sound mixing
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
* Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
WALL-E (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
Wanted (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Best make-up
* The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Best documentary short subject
The Conscience of Nhem En A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
The Final Inch A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
* Smile Pinki A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306 A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

Best animated short film
* La Maison en Petits Cubes A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
Lavatory – Lovestory A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
Presto (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
This Way Up, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best live action short film
Auf der Strecke (On the Line) (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
Manon on the Asphalt (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
New Boy (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
The Pig An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
* Spielzeugland (Toyland) A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank

Roger Goodman directed the 81st Academy Awards.

Best Film

Slumdog Millionaire

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button may have garnered the most Academy Award nominations – thirteen in all – but the romantic-fantasy film apparently has as many fans as it has detractors, while Frost/Nixon and The Reader, despite the latter’s World War II/Holocaust subject matter and the fact that Oscar-miracle worker Harvey Weinstein is behind it, are two dark horses.

Had it been nominated, The Dark Knight would have been a strong Oscar contender, but since it wasn’t included on the Academy’s shortlist then that’s the end of that.

Like Brokeback Mountain three years ago, Slumdog Millionaire has become this year’s Oscar favorite as a result of a mixture of numerous critics’ awards and solid box office receipts. However, like Brokeback Mountain, Slumdog Millionaire may end up suffering from too much early positive buzz.

In case Academy voters decide that the hyperkinetic drama about a poor young man who wants both to become a millionaire and find the love of his life in modern India isn’t all that good, I’d say that Milk, about slain gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk, would be choice #2. After all, let’s not forget last year’s close-to-home (for most Academy members – who reside in California) gay marriage debacle, which made lots of people realize that anti-gay bigotry remains as alive and as ugly as ever.

Nonetheless, for the time being I’m betting on Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Foreign Language Film

Waltz with Bashir

The best foreign-language film category is always difficult to predict because only a small percentage of (usually much older) Academy members vote for the nominees and winners.

My guess would be Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir (Israel) simply because it revolves around Jewish issues, always a favorite theme among those who vote in that category. Also weighing in its favor are the recent headlines about the war in Gaza, which make Waltz with Bashir, though set in the early 1980s, a timely entry. As a plus, Waltz with Bashir has received excellent reviews and has already collected several awards in the US, including a Golden Globe for best foreign-language film, the National Society of Film Critics best film award, and the Los Angeles Film Critics’ best animated film prize.

The only other major competitor is Laurent Cantet’s The Class, France’s entry and last year’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner.

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany), Departures (Japan), and Revanche (Austria) are all dark horses.

Best Documentary Feature

Man on Wire

James Marsh’s Man on Wire is the odds-son favorite to win the best documentary feature award, as the Sundance winner has been one of the most widely acclaimed films of 2008 and has already amassed about a couple of dozen awards and mentions from US-based critics’ groups.

Encounters at the End of the World, Trouble the Water, The Garden, and The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), no matter how good, have little chance of winning.

Best Animated Feature


Despite its flabbergasting loss at the Annie Awards (to fellow Oscar nominee Kung Fu Panda), WALL-E is the hands-down winner.

Bolt is the third nominee.

Best Director

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

The fast-paced Slumdog Millionaire will earn Danny Boyle his first Academy Award. Whether there’ll be a second or a third somewhere in the future, I have no idea.

In another year, David Fincher could have been a strong contender for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but again, the film has a number of detractors.

Ron Howard, Gus Van Sant, and Stephen Daldry are the other nominees.

Danny Boyle photo: Ishika Mohan/Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Best Original Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black, Milk

The best original screenplay will be a battle between the gay activist and the lonely robot. Because live-action films tend to be taken more seriously by Academy members, my bet is on Dustin Lance Black (above, lower photo) for Milk.

In Bruges, Happy-Go-Lucky, and Frozen River are the other nominees.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

With a screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (right) adapted from Vikas Swarup’s novel, Slumdog Millionaire should come out on top in this category as, generally speaking, the best film winner also takes a best screenplay award.

If there is an upset in this category, I’d say that it would be David Hare’s screenplay for The Reader.

Frost/Nixon, Doubt, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are the other nominees.

Beaufoy photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Best Actor

Sean Penn, Milk

Some say “the Academy” is homophobic – as if its 6,000 or so members have all been carved out of the same monolithic block. Surely there are anti-gay members in the Academy, but there are many (more?) members with no such inclination. Brokeback Mountain didn’t get eight 2006 Oscar nominations – and didn’t win three major awards – merely by chance.

So, I believe that Sean Penn will win the best actor Academy Award this year for his portrayal of slain gay political leader Harvey Milk. Penn has received glowing reviews, the film is doing well enough at the box office, and the actor has already taken home a number of top acting prizes including the 2008 SAG Award for best actor.

Penn’s closest competitor is Mickey Rourke, but Rourke’s The Wrestler is a considerably smaller film, while the living actor-boxer probably frightens more Academy members than the dead gay activist.

The dark horses: Richard Jenkins for The Visitor, Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon

Best Actress

Meryl Streep, Doubt

Among the major categories, this is the toughest one to predict. There are three perfectly feasible possibilities: Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, Kate Winslet for The Reader, and Meryl Streep for Doubt.

Hathaway is very young, and Academy members will likely decide she’s still got plenty of time to win an Oscar.

Winslet, however, has already lost five times in the last 13 years. Had she also been nominated in the best supporting actress category, it’d have been a cinch: she’d have won as a supporting actress for The Reader and would have lost the best actress Oscar (for her performance in Revolutionary Road) to Meryl Streep. The problem is that enough Academy members opted to vote for Winslet as best actress for The Reader, which meant only a single nod for the actress this year.

Veteran Julie Christie – a best actress 2008 SAG winner – lost out to the younger Oscar newcomer Marion Cotillard last year, which means that Streep’s win, despite her SAG award, is not a certainty. But then again, Christie is hardly what one would call a Hollywood Establishment Icon, while Streep is. Additionally, despite her two wins a generation ago, Streep has lost more than twice as many Oscars as Kate Winslet. In fact, since Streep’s last win for Sophie’s Choice (1982), the perennial Oscar nominee has lost 10 consecutive times. (Additionally, she also lost out in 1978 and 1981.)

It’s time for the Academy to hand Streep – one of the best film actresses of all time – her third statuette. I believe that Academy members are aware of that.

The other two best actress nominees are Angelina Jolie for Clint Eastwood’s period drama Changeling and Melissa Leo for Frozen River.

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Even if Heath Ledger hadn’t died a year ago, he’d still be the top contender for the best supporting actor Oscar. He could even have been the top contender for the best actor Oscar, had Warner Bros. decided to push him as one of the film’s two leads. Now, Ledger is bound to become the first performer to win a posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch (for Network) in 1977.

The other nominees


James Brolin (the only one capable of a major – and I mean major – upset) for Milk, Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road; Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder; and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt.

Best Supporting Actress

Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Several of Woody Allen’s supporting players have fared well with Academy voters. Think of winners Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters, Dianne Wiest again in Bullets Over Broadway, and Mira Sorvino in Mighty Aphrodite.

Penélope Cruz will likely be the next one, for her performance as Javier Bardem’s fiery ex in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Kate Winslet would have been the likely winner had she been nominated in this category for The Reader. Since she wasn’t, the Oscar now belongs to Cruz.

Either a Marisa Tomei (for her stripper in The Wrestler) or a Viola Davis (for her concerned mother in Doubt) win, would be a major upset.

Others in the running: Amy Adams for Doubt and Taraji P. Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best cinematography

Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire

The Slumdog Millionaire look is one of the film’s chief assets.

Best film editing

Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire

Dickens’ editing has been crucial to the success of the film.

Best original score

A. R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire

Rahman has been winning best score awards everywhere you look.

Best song

“Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire, Music by A. R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar

It’s popular, it’s unusual, Academy voters will believe themselves musically hip if they pick this one.

Best art direction

The Dark Knight, Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando

Classy production levels all around, though the more conservative The Duchess is another possibility.

Best costume design

The Duchess, Michael O’Connor

The Duchess would also win for Best Candle-Lit Decor and Best Pompadour if there were such categories.

Best visual effects

The Dark Knight, Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin

The photo says it all. As a plus, The Dark Knight was a huge box office hit, and it’s a well-respected film to boot – even if it failed to get a best picture nod.

Best sound editing

The Dark Knight, Richard King

Loud, complex, technically flawless. Can’t imagine another movie winning the sound awards.

Best sound mixing

The Dark Knight, Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick

See best sound editing.

Best make-up

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Greg Cannom

I was told that the presentation of Cannom’s make-up job at the Academy was incredible. That’s my one predicted win for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button out of its 13 nominations.

Best documentary short subject

The Conscience of Nhem En, Steven Okazaki

The Academy likes Okazaki’s work. This is his fourth nomination, and may well turn out to be his second win. The Conscience of Nhem En focuses on a young soldier, Nhem En, who took ID photos of thousands of people before they were killed by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.

Best animated short film

Presto, Doug Sweetland

It’s Pixar – and it’s gotten some glowing notices.

Best live action short film

Spielzeugland (Toyland), Jochen Alexander Freydank

This is one, I admit, is a shot in the dark – but it has a little boy and loads of Academy voters love movies with little boys (or little old men, e.g., The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). Admittedly, Steph Green’s New Boy, about the new (black) kid at an Irish school, also has lots of little boys… Anyhow, we shall see.

Recommended for You

Leave a Comment

*IMPORTANT*: By using this form you agree with Alt Film Guide's storage and handling of your data (e.g., your IP address). Make sure your comment adds something relevant to the discussion: Feel free to disagree with us and write your own movie commentaries, but *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive, inflammatory, spammy/self-promotional, baseless (spreading mis- or disinformation), and just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Lastly, links found in submitted comments will generally be deleted.


theodoros sitziris -

to jennifer aniston.
i am a very big fan of yours.
and idol. i am greek from. greece. athens.
i live toronto. canada. brampton. ontario.
i love to win a date. with you. we can tailk to each other. greek.
love and kisses. ts.
yiasou koukla mou.

ren -

I love seeing Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, I’ve always been a fan of both and I’ve just now discovered they are a couple, shows how young I am… but at least I got good taste.

Joao -

para mim não ha melhor actriz no mundo. Meryl streep e a melhor actrizx do mundo, nao ha duvidas. No mamma mia fez um papel animado, divertido i mostrou k sabia kantar, enkuanto k kuando fez de freira fez um papel komplectamemnte diferente!

Randy -

I decided to see The Reader now that Winslet
won an Oscar for it. Did Winslet deserve a Lead
Actress Oscar for her role ? I dunno, probably
not. However, I believe that the movie is
profound, exceptionally crafted and acted,
and certainly Oscar-worthy in multiple categories.

Dave and Fran Schaffer -

Enjoyed seeing Eva Marie Saint and her husband Jeff as presenters. What a handsome couple!!! Thanks for letting us know.

Hpar -

SEAN PENN won and he deserves it for gods sake.
Mickey Rourke was very emotional and all because its his comeback, but sean penn’s achievement playing Harvey Milk is pure acting brilliance.

Hpar -

hey i got all my predictions right!

i knew sean penn would win, and i’m glad he did

Randy -

Regarding the distribution of The Wrestler
versus Milk in Chicago:
The Wrestler got a very wide distribution in
Chicago and its suburbs after Rourke won the
Golden Globe. A lot of theaters in the burbs
and the city tried to show Milk after the
Oscar nominations, but it did not last long and
returned to just 2 theaters in gay
neighborhoods. The Wrestler has also made a lot
of money here, it ranked 10th in revenue for
2 weeks in a row.

Joe Simpson -

Box Office Mojo, est. for Feb. 22, 2009:

Release Date: November 26, 2008
Domestic: $28,176,000 78.2%
+ Foreign: $7,861,492 21.8%
= Worldwide: $36,037,492

Release Date: December 17, 2008
Domestic: $21,552,000 79.4%
+ Foreign: $5,576,739 20.6%
= Worldwide: $27,128,739

Estimates for Feb 22 weekend
16 The Wrestler $1,825,000 -1.3% 617 theaters ($2,958 per theater)
19 Milk $1,099,000 +25.2% 411 theaters ($2,674 per theater)

julie -

I’m so disappointed,Sean Penn won over Mickey Rourke!!!This as***** without real talent always win when nominated,what a shameless lobby the academy jury is under.Common how can they be so blind and foulish!!!!

Hpar -

Last minute predictions: for me, Slumdog Millionaire with 4 awards at least (picture, director, screenplay, score) although I would love it if there could be some suprises…

Slumdog Millionaire

Sean Penn, Milk

Kate Winslet, The Reader

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire


Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

Hpar -

Last minute predictions: for me, Slumdog Millionaire with 4 awards at least (picture, director, screenplay, score) although I would love it if there could be some suprises…

Slumdog Millionaire

Sean Penn, Milk

Kate Winslet, The Reader

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire


Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

Madeleine -

It was stated that Mickey Rourkes film was a smaller film than Sean Penns, I don’t think it was, no theater wanted to take a chance on this film and so there was very little distribution of this movie. I couldn’t find a place to see it, I live in the Chicago suburbs and it was not playing near me, I only saw two theaters showing it.I am sure after the Oscars, whether Mickey wins or loses it will be showing everywhere, thats unfortunate befcause Milk was all over the place as was Benjamin Buttons, I avoided both of those films because I don’t like Sean Penn and I think Brad Pitt is totally over rated. I love Mickey Rourkes work and I hope he wins, he is the butt of jokes and bad press again,actors should be judged on their performances, if that were the case Mickey would win every year. Good Luck to him.

Hpar -

Fair enough but its because more people respond emotionally to real drama rather than an *easy going* movie like VCB.

Randie did you like Cassandra’s dream as well?

It got really bad reviews but i thought it was good

Mariolo -

Perdón, peroooo … ¿LE ESTAN DICIENDO “LECHE” A MILK ?????


Hpar -

Randie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona best picture?

I mean Cruz is great, the movie is all right, but come on! Its a movie to watch on a monday night when you’re lying on the sofa after work.

Do you really put it on the same level as Slumdog Millionaire or Milk?

Hpar -

I have yet to see Rachel Getting Married but I kind of agree that I would prefer if the oscar did not go to KATE WINSLET.
I’d rather see Meryl Streep winning (she deserves it), or Melissa Leo (my personal favorite: outsider, performance is so natural, frozen river brilliant indie film).

And if it had to go to Kate Winslet I would have rather see her getting it for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, much better than the reader.

Finally just for the record, I would like to mention Angelina Jolie. I dont especially like the woman but i think she doesnt get the credit she deserves for a wonderful performance in changeling. She fully deserves her nomination and I dont like people saying its a joke that she got it.

Hpar -

Well in my opinion Benjamin Button doesnt really deserve a major oscar.

With all the hype I was expecting much better.
I was disappointed by Brad Pitt’s performance which, although not a bad performance, I thought should have had much more life flowing through its veins. His style of acting in this movie is one of restraint, obviously, but I was not moved at all, which is as shame considering the material.
There’s some great cinematography and special effects.
But for me, the screenplay was the biggest failure. I cannot really explain it but I was bored, I did not feel involved…
Even if I did not dislike it, it was one of my biggest disappointments of the year considering all the fuss about this movie.

To sum up, I think it does NOT stand a chance at best picture, actor, supporting actress or screenplay.
Surely it will be rewarded for the technical achievements, and I believe rightly so.

Hpar -

I hope THE READER doesnt win anything. I mean its so inferior to all the other movies on every level. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, MILK and FROST/NIXON are way out of its league in terms of picture quality and screenplay, even CCBB is much better.

Hpar -

Here are my favorites:
(if I were forced to put Heath Ledger as supporting actor then I would put Michael Sheen from Frost/Nixon in best actor)
+ (I have seen all contenders except Rachel Getting Married)

Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella, Fost/Nixon
Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
Sean Penn, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Meryl Streep, Doubt
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Kristin Scott Thomas, I’ve Loved You So Long
Angelina Jolie, Changeling

Sup. Actor:
Josh Brolin, Milk
Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Ralph Fiennes – The Reader
Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading

Elsa Zylberstein, I’ve Loved You So Long
Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Misty Upham, Frozen River
Cate Blanchett, Benjamin Button

Hpar -

It’s interesting to see Heath Ledger put up as BEST ACTOR.
I mean that would have been much more logical wouldnt it?
How is Ledger a supporting actor in TDK when Frank Langella is a lead actor in Frost/Nixon?
To me, same thing. And with Heath Ledger’ Joker totally outshining Christian Bale’s Batman, he should definitely have been nominated as a best actor.

Hpar -

My choices:

– Gran Torino
– Frost/Nixon
– Milk
– Changeling
– The Dark Knight

with, for me, GRAN TORINO winner cos im a big fan of eastwood’s direction and i thought he was the second best actor this year after sean penn…

Hpar -

Its great to see you putting Frozen River and I’ve Loved You So Long in there.
These two movies are minor ones and therefore dont get the credit they deserve.
But god they are good. Kristin Scott Thomas and Melissa Leo are my two favorite actresses for this year.

Also, I really think GRAN TORINO should be in there as well most definitely.

julie -

Randy you’re so right when you say that De Niro,Pacino,Brando do seem like they act sometimes in some movies but on the other end they do not in some others;thats why they are great actors in some it shows in some it doesnt!I dont agree with your opinion about Dustin Hoffman’s performance,I know where you want go Hoffman’s performance of an autistic man was way more credible than the one Sean Penn gave about a mentally challenged man.I could feel Penn was pulling on the cliché strings whereas Hoffman was inspired by a study of character he deeply ingested.

Randy -

Finally, I see a vote for Michael Sheen for
Best Actor, he deserved the 5th nomination over
Richard Jenkins. I’ve seen all the Oscar-nominated movies except the Winslet movies (not a big fan) and Frost/Nixon is the best movie of the year, hands-down.

Mickey Rourke: I agree with everybody who loved the performance, I’m the same age bracket and I felt great after The Wrestler, I wanted to go out and live my life every day and plow thru all the problems, just like his character. But I think Sean Penn has a wider range in Milk.

Sean Penn: “He looks like he’s acting”. Okay,
so does: every role by Dustin Hoffman, my favorite actor; every role by Pacino, except maybe
his Godfather performances; every role by Brando; DeNiro, I dunno, I think DeNiro plays DeNiro, except (again) his Godfather (II) performance. Who doesn’t look like he’s acting ?
Paul Newman, period. I could watch Paul Newman
performances round-the-clock forever.

I like the votes for Hoffman in Doubt, he’s the best actor in the movie. I also like the vote for Misty Upham in Frozen River, in some ways I think she is better than Melissa Leo. I also think that Blanchett got snubbed this year, maybe cuz she got 2 noms last year. Did you see her playing Bob Dylan, she was great as Dylan.

Gretchen Hecht -

I watched Kung Fu Panda after it swept the Annies, then looked up the history of the Annies. I can see why it won as the Annies is grounded in first hand-drawn animation and traditional art, while the Oscars has more elements of new technologies, storyline with political or social impact, etc. If you look at Kung Fu Panda from the point of view of animation–I thought the art direction/cinematography, expression of emotions and animated motions were great. However, I don’t think the storyline resonates socially or politically like Wall-E and still think Wall-E will win. Kind of like the SAG awards often award different actors than the Oscars–has to do with different traditions and cultures and judging criteria, etc.

Hpar -

Ah thanks for that johnX.

I have to say, in my opinion, your nominations have way fewer snubs than the actual ones of the academy…

Dont know what other people will think…

JohnX -

I had quite some fun in doing my personal nominations! (I guess I should get a life but hey i enjoyed it). And here they are:

Gran Torino
The Dark Knight

Clint Eastwood – Gran Torino
Sean Penn – Milk
Leonardo DiCaprio – Revolutionary Road
Michael Sheen – Frost/Nixon
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Kristin Scott Thomas – I’ve Loved You So Long
Melissa Leo – Frozen River
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road
Sally Hawkins – Happy-Go-Lucky

Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road
Eddie Marsan – Happy-Go-Lucky
Ralph Fiennes – The Reader
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt

Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler
Misty Upham – Frozen River
Jane Lynch – Role Models
Elsa Zylberstein – I’ve Loved You So Long

Clint Eastwood – Changeling
Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Sam Mendes – Revolutionary Road
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Burn After Reading
Gran Torino
Frozen River
I’ve Loved You So Long

Revolutionary Road
Slumdog Millionaire
The Dark Night

JohnX -

No it does not stand a chance at creating an upset. Apart from best actress, which is no recognition of the quality of a movie, what do you think its going to win?

best picture? best director?
against the likes of slumdog millionaire, CCBB or milk, it doesnt have the slightest chance

Hpar -

If anyone is interested, I would like to share opinions.

What are YOUR PERSONAL ACTING NOMINATIONS for 2008 if it was your job and only yours to nominate?

Hpar -

If anyone is interested, I would like to share opinions.

What are YOUR PERSONAL 5 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES for 2008 if it was your job and only yours to nominate?

yelifish -

p.s. brad pitt sould have been nominated 4 burn after reading then he would probably get an oscar…

yelifish -

best actor-sean penn
best actress-kate winslet but i think that anne is also very good
best supp. actor-heath ledger
best supp.actress-penelope(?) but actually i don’t know

dyosa -

dark knight should had been nominated and eventually win! they shut out the movie so that slumdog will be assured of its golden oscar coz dark knight would have really be a strong threat to every nominee.

Kealoha Aniu -

WhO iSh thE bESt ACtORS fOR thE yEAR Of 2009-2010??

julie -

I agree with you Roger about Mickey Rourke’s acting,he’s immersed so much in the part that it seems so natural;that is what acting is all about.I agree with you mostly on Sean Penn and would add this (since you seem to qualify him as a technical actor)I don’t know where he learned his techniques but he seriously needs another method!!

Roger -

When I watch Sean Penn, I’m always aware that he’s “acting.” Nothing seems organic. Everything he does seems too studied and calculated. I felt his work in MILK was no exception. Mickey Rourke ‘s work in THE WRESTLER was astonishingly natural and real. I forgot I was watching a movie. I felt as if I was watching a documentary about an over the hill wrestler. I hope Hollywood gets it right and gives him the Oscar. Win or lose, it will always be remembered as a performance for the ages.

Hpar -

I really want FROZEN RIVER to win best original screenplay.
It would be a worthy recognition for a brilliant piece of filmmaking on a very low budget.

Hpar -

How wrong can you be…

julie -

Sean Penn gives me the “creeps”everytime I see him in a movie this “asshole”thinks he’s better than anyone else, come on he’s a jerk with no real talent. When have you seen him displaying a whole range of emotions like playing in a comedy?No he simply can’t,he can only play the range of his own fuck up life including a gay one just like this movie!Please give the statuette to a real actor and most of all stop considering this “con artist”as a real actor!!!

julie -

sean penn is not an actor,he acts himself out in all his movies and the public can fell it.Disregarde him as a best actor and give the statuette to a real actor and strugler Mickey Rourke!!!!!

theo jones -

they were all good but mickey rourke was great.

deniro gained 30 lbs for raging bull. rourke did too but it was all muscle. deniro didn’t really have a fighter’s built. not a big deal, deniro was absolute dynamite. langella is fantastic but this was mimicing as if a SNL skit. boomers know the story anyhow. ditto Harvey Milk. btw Milk may have been gay but he used people. brad pitt is always good but Button was a cornball sentiment interminable cheesy, etc. he was better in Burn After Reading. rourke hands down, the time worn Rocky story made fresh. not especially a rourke fan, but get real. he flattened the field.

Hpar -

Mickey Rourke is getting so much credit he doesn’t deserve i mean its not because its a comeback performance that its the best of the year.
I agree he is emotional in The Wrestler but come Sean Penn is better.

Marc -

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will win Best Visual Effects. The creation of this movie is an revolutionary achievement (have you seen the making of?). I would be very surprised if The Dark Knight would be able to top that.
Also Wall-E has a real chance in the sound categories because the sound is so crucial in that movie.

O Jay -


Best Actor
Mickey Rourke should win. He gave the best performance of the year!!!
Sean 2nd, Frank 3rd, Brad 4th, Richard 5th

Best Actress
Kate Winslet should win. She has always been consistent, and it is time to reward her.
Anne 2nd, Angelina 3rd, Meryl 4th, Melissa 5th

Supp. Actor
Heath Ledger should win. He had the second best performance of the year, after Mickey.
Robert 2nd, Philip 3rd, Josh 4th, Michael 5th

Supp. Actress
Penelope Cruz should win. She gave the third best performance of the year, after Mickey and Heath.
Marisa 2nd, Viola 3rd, Taraji 4th, Amy 5th

1. Mickey
2. Heath
3. Penelope
4. Sean
5. Frank
6. Marisa
7. Kate
8. Anne
9. Robert
10. Angelina
11. Meryl
12. Brad
13. Melissa
14. Philip
15. Viola
16. Taraji
17. Richard
18. Josh
19. Michael
20. Amy

Randy -

I saw all the Best Actor performances except
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor. I believe the
Langella performance is exceptional, but sadly,
his performance and Frost/Nixon will be passed
by this year. I found the Mickey Rourke performance to be inspiring, I did not find his
character to be down-and-out and I don’t believe
that he is basically presenting himself.
But I agree that Sean Penn’s performance has the greatest breadth, boldness and complexity.
He is the Best Actor this year and the Academy
members will recognize his work with the Oscar.

Hpar -

How can you say that The Reader has a chance at best picture!
Thats just a joke!
I havent seen Benjamin Button yet but i can GUARANTEE everyone that if there is an upset it will be either Milk or Benjamin Button, The Reader and Frost/Nixon dont have the slightest chance of winning best picture.
Its not even about what the academy likes (holocaust etc), you just have to look at the film to realise that its simply not good enough to win.

Hpar -

AND i would be willing to bet that its Penelope Cruz winning for supporting actress and not Marisa Tomei. Once again, Tomei is very good, but Cruz is awesomely natural playing an insane, jealous, incredibly sexy ex-wife in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
In other words what i am saying is that the academy loves original and crazy roles whereas Marisa Tomei’s character in The Wrestler is not so unusual.

Hpar -

I do not agree with people saying Mickey Rourke is going to win.
First of all, Milk is nominated for best picture (you wouldnt think that it gives an actor an advantage, but it does).
Secondly, Harvey Milk is a historical character, and everybody knows the academy loves these types of roles.
Finally, Sean Penn is purely and simply much better at what he does in Milk than what Mickey Rourke does in The Wrestler. Rourke is emotional and moving, but Penn is awesome, passionate, and completely believable playing a character while not being gay (I think).
So I think his effort is more deserving of the oscar than anybody else.

Jeremy -

KFP won the annie not because it was the superior film, but because dreamworks was a much valued sponsor. There’s no way Wall-E will lose in the Oscars. As for Best Picture, I think Slumdog will win it.

Netbug -

WALL-E’d better win. After the ridiculousness at the Annies, we need something bigger than a small critic’s award.

No offence to KFP, mind you. I enjoyed the film a lot. I’ve seen it like, 3 times. But the Annies… that was just rediculous.

Roger Rifkin -

I agree with your predictions in the supporting categories. However, I think the race between Ms. Winslet and Ms. Streep for Best Actress is too close too call. I also think Mickey Rourke will win for THE WRESTLER. Hollywood loves a comeback. It also doesn’t hurt that Mr. Rourke is astonishing in the film and is giving the performance of the year and a performance for the ages.

Christopher Xavier Lozano -

They are all winners and disserve tall acclaims, However My Personal Fav is Benjamin Button. That’s Brad on a little ol mans body flawlessly moving as one.

Not just because of my lil Still Photography Part of the Movie but because They all from David Fincher, Brad, Cate and Will Huff, Brian Sipe, Greg Canom going in out out of makeup 100s of times working all sooo hard and diligently to perfection. So many From Ben to Daisy where sooo sweet to work with (^_^)))))

And yes Brad was equally personable to work for even after standing still for me over 22 MakeUp FX Still Photo test shoots.

Sincerely Best
Christopher Xavier Lozano


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue browsing, that means you've accepted our Terms of Use/use of cookies. You may also click on the Accept button on the right to make this notice disappear. Accept Read More