Oscarcating '08: National Board of Review

Read the nominations here at All Things Fangirl.

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“Now it starts…”

Thoughts on the awards, after the jump…

People who know me know I have a little tradition when it comes to the Oscars. It’s called the “If/Then Award.” Goes something like this:

I swear to Christ, if <insert nomination/win> happens, I will personally drive to Hollywood and burn the Kodak Theater to the ground.

Last year, it was “If ‘Falling Slowly’ loses Best Original Song.” Which it didn’t, and so the Kodak Theater remained safe. But the National Board of Review has caused me to give out the “If/Then Award” stupendously early. Because I know how these motherfuckers work.

I swear to Christ, if Clint Eastwood or anyone associated with Changeling or Grand Torino are nominated or win for two obviously inferior and laughable films simply because the Academy has a hard-on for Clint Eastwood, I will personally drive to Hollywood and burn the Kodak Theater to the ground.

Unforgiven is a masterpiece, one of the ten greatest films of all time. And I suspect that Grand Torino could be pretty good, if the “Unforgiven of cop/revenge movies” vibe the trailer gave off is to believed. (Although you could make the argument — and I have — that The Wire was the deconstructionist period on the sentence of not just the modern cop story, but everything since Raymond Chandler wrote “down these mean streets a man must go, a man who is not himself mean…” fifty-plus years ago. Jimmy McNulty is both condemnation and an exploration of that character, and what happens to that character in the real world.)

But as much as I liked Mystic River and as much as I liked a lot of the other Eastwood movies since then, everything that I’ve read suggests that Changeling and Torino are big piles of crap. Big, big piles. And as much as the Academy loves to award steaming piles of crap (Fuck Crash), not this year. I will not permit it.

There’s some nice surprises there, though — Anne Hathaway over Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep , Josh Brolin over Heath Ledger. That makes me think that Ledger may have to settle for a nomination this year; that as much as the Academy loved him and is willing to throw a comic book movie a bone (I know, Rachel, I know.) with a couple of big nominations, it may belong to somebody else. And as much as I loved Ledger in Dark Knight, the last guy to win a posthumous Oscar was Peter Finch for Network and Ledger in Dark Knight is no Peter Finch in Network.

I really liked that the hilarious, soon-to-be-cult-classic Burn After Reading didn’t get forgotten. I was unsurprised that Slumdog was up there, surprised that Fincher and was. The fact that Melissa Leo’s being talked up for a Best Actress nom makes me really happy, because Melissa Leo is what we Homicide: Life on the Street fans affectionately refer to as “the shit.” (Second season, “Last of the Watermen.” See it, own it, worship it.)

And, like Dan, I need to see a bunch of movies — starting with Let The Right One In — and soon.

(The “If/Then Award” is inspired by internet hyperbole, and is not meant to threaten or condone any actual violence against the winner or the Kodak Theater. Opinions conveyed on this commentary do not reflect the views of the studio or Time Warner Entertainment. I’m Brendan M. Leonard, and I approve this message.)

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