Thursday, December 15, 2016

2009: The Year in Review

Seeing as the Best Picture choice for the Oscars this year, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, was really a film from late 2008, I gave myself free reign to go with another magnificent and more unusual war film as the winner of the top spot in 2009. Upon seeing it that summer, I knew that no other film this year would best Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, an uproariously entertaining reimagination of WWII history anchored by Christoph Waltz's tremendously venal supporting performance as a sly Nazi hunter of Jews (heading the year's best ensemble cast). It was easily, also, 2009's most accomplished film from a craft standpoint as well, though the Academy showed much love for James Cameron's hit 3D abomination Avatar, a movie that I thoroughly despised then, and hate perhaps more now. On the other hand, I had much love for Jacques Audiard's stunning crime drama A Prophet; Jane Campion's Bright Star, an elegant romantic biopic centered around 19th Century poet John Keats and his ardent lover Fanny Brawne; the Coen Brothers surreal morality tale A Serious Man; Wes Anderson's gorgeous, hysterically funny animated adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox; Gaspar Noé's unforgettably trippy Enter the Void; and Michael Haneke's black-and-white masterpiece of pre-Nazi horror The White Ribbon. Though 2009 was a great year for world cinema and animated film, I continued to believe that Hollywood was taking a downturn into the dregs of CGI-driven boredom. But, luckily, we still had the indie world to give us some terrific movies and performances here and there, with Waltz, Mo'Nique (both scary and heartbreaking as the abusive mother in Lee Daniels' Precious), Patton Oswalt (a comedian surprising us with a jolting dramatic turn as an unbalanced sports nut in Robert Siegel's Big Fan), and a superb Charlotte Gainsbourgh as another of Lars von Trier's tortured heroines in Antichrist all emerging as the leads in their categories, in my estimation. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (US, Quentin Tarantino) (2nd: A Prophet (France, Jacques Audiard), followed by: Bright Star (Australia, Jane Campion); A Serious Man (US, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen); Fantastic Mr Fox (US, Wes Anderson); Enter the Void (France, Gaspar Noé); The White Ribbon (Germany/France, Michael Haneke); Big Fan (US, Robert Siegel); Antichrist (Denmark, Lars Von Trier); Fish Tank (UK, Andrea Arnold); Collapse (US, Chris Smith); The Father of My Children (France, Mia Hansen-Love); My Dog Tulip (US, Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger); Moon (UK, Duncan Jones); The Cove (US, Louie Psihoyos); Lebanon (Israel, Samuel Moaz); Mary and Max (Australia, Adam Elliot); Mother and Child (US, Rodrigo Garcia); Wild Grass (France, Alain Resnais); The Informant! (US, Steven Soderburgh); White Material (France, Claire Denis); The Maid (Chile/Mexico, Sebastián Silva); Dogtooth (Greece, Giorgos Lanthimos); Mother (South Korea, Bong Joon-ho); In the Loop (UK, Armando Iannucci); Up (US, Pete Docter and Bob Peterson); Precious (US, Lee Daniels); A Single Man (US, Tom Ford); Where The Wild Things Are (US, Spike Jonze); The Yes Men Fix The World (US, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonnano, and Kurt Engfehr); (500) Days of Summer (US, Marc Webb); Ponyo (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Coraline (US, Henry Selick); Up in the Air (US, Jason Reitman); An Education (UK, Lone Scherfig); The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (US,  Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith); A Town Called Panic (Belgium/ Luxembourg/France, Stephanie Aubier and Vincent Patar); Crazy Heart (US, Scott Cooper); Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (US, Werner Herzog); The Messenger (US, Oren Moverman); Away We Go (US, Sam Mendes); That Evening Sun (US, Scott Teems); Zombieland (US, Ruben Fleischer); Gentleman Broncos (US, Jared Hess); The Girl on the Train (France, André Téchiné); The Young Victoria (UK/US, Jean-Marc Vallée); I Am Love (France, Luca Guadagnino); The Art of the Steal (US, Don Argott); Observe and Report (US, Jody Hill); The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, Nils Arden Oplev); Drag Me To Hell (US, Sam Raimi); The Girlfriend Experience (US, Steven Soderburgh); Agora (Spain, Alejandro Aménabar); Outrage (US, Kirby Dick); Star Trek (US, J.J. Abrams); The Secret of the Kells (Ireland, Tomm Moore); Youth in Revolt (US, Miguel Arteta); Sin Nombre (Mexico, Cary Fukunaga); Invictus (US, Clint Eastwood); The House of the Devil (US, Ti West); Adventureland (US Greg Mottola); Whip It! (US, Drew Barrymore); The Last Station (Germany/ Russia/UK, Michael Hoffman); Cairo Time (Canada/ Ireland/Egypt, Ruba Nadda); 9 (US, Shane Acker); Beeswax (US, Andrew Bujalski); The Invention of Lying (US, Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson); Micmacs (France, Jean Pierre Jeunet); The Road (US, John Hillcoat); The Lovely Bones (US/UK/New Zealand, Peter Jackson); Nine (US, Rob Marshall); District 9 (US, Neill Blomkamp); Avatar (US, James Cameron); Public Enemies (US, Michael Mann); Watchmen (US, Zach Snyder))

ACTOR: Patton Oswalt, BIG FAN (2nd: Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, followed by: Colin Firth, A Single Man; Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart; Sam Rockwell, Moon; Matt Damon, The Informant!; Morgan Freeman, Invictus)

ACTRESS: Charlotte Gainsbourg, ANTICHRIST (2nd: Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank, followed by: Catalina Saavedra, The Maid, Gabourey Sidibe, Precious; Abbie Cornish, Bright Star; Carey Mulligan, An Education; Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2nd: Paul Schneider, Bright Star, followed by: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger; Niels Arestrup, A Prophet; Matt Damon, Invictus; Kevin Corrigan, Big Fan; Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique, PRECIOUS (2nd: Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds, followed by: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart; Julianne Moore, A Single Man; Anne-Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy; Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air; Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air) 

DIRECTOR: Quentin Tarantino, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2nd: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man, followed by: Jacques Audiard, A Prophet; Gaspar Noe, Enter the Void; Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox; Jane Campion, Bright Star; Michael Haneke, The White Ribbon)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: A PROPHET (France, Jacques Audilard) (2nd: Enter the Void (France, Gaspar Noe), followed by: The White Ribbon (Germany/Austria, Michael Haneke); The Father of My Children (France, Mia Hansen Love); Lebanon (Israel, Samuel Moaz); Wild Grass (France, Alain Renais); White Material (France/Cameroon, Claire Denis); Dogtooth (Greece, Giorgios Lanthimos); The Maid (Mexico, Sebastian Silva); The Girl on the Train (France, André Téchiné); The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden, Nils Arden Oplev))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: COLLAPSE (US, Chris Smith) (2nd: The Cove (US, Louie Psihoyos), followed by: The Yes Men Fix The World (US, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonnano, and Kurt Engfehr); The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (US,  Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith); The Art of the Steal (US, Don Argott); Outrage (US, Kirby Dick))

ANIMATED FEATURE: FANTASTIC MR. FOX (US, Wes Anderson) (2nd: My Dog Tulip (US, Paul Fierlinger and Sandra Fierlinger), followed by: Mary and Max (Australia, Adam Elliot); Up (US, Pete Docter and Bob Peterson); Coraline (US, Henry Selick); A Town Called Panic (Belgium/Luxembourg/ France, Stephanie Aubier and Vincent Patar); Ponyo (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); 9 (US, Shane Acker); The Secret of the Kells (Ireland, Tomm Moore))

ANIMATED SHORT: LOGORAMA (France, Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy, and Ludovic Houplain) (2nd: A Matter of Loaf and Death (UK, Nick Park), followed by: French Roast (France, Fabrice Joubert)) 

LIVE ACTION SHORT: I KNEW IT WAS YOU: REDISCOVERING JOHN CAZALE (US, Richard Shepard) (2nd: The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant (US,  Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert), followed by: Rabbit a la Berlin (Poland/Germany, Bartosz Konopka))  

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Quentin Tarantino, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2nd: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man, followed by: Michael Haneke, The White Ribbon; Robert D. Siegel, Big Fan; Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer))

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, FANTASTIC MR. FOX (2nd: Thomas Bidegain and Jacques Audilard, A Prophet, followed by: Jane Campion, Bright Star; Scott Z. Burns, The Informant!; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche and Ian Martin, In The Loop)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Christian Berger, THE WHITE RIBBON (2nd: Grieg Fraser, Bright Star, followed by: Benoit Debie, Enter the Void; Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds; Anthony Dod Mantle, Antichrist)

ART DIRECTION: ENTER THE VOID, Inglourious Basterds, Bright Star, Avatar, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

COSTUME DESIGN: BRIGHT STAR, The Young Victoria, Coco Before Chanel, I Am Love, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus


FILM EDITING: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, A Prophet, A Serious Man, Enter the Void, Lebanon

SOUND: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, Up, Avatar, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek

SOUND EFFECTS: UP, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek

ORIGINAL SCORE:  Marvin Hamlisch, THE INFORMANT! (2nd: Michael Giacchino, Up, followed by: Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox; Mark Bradshaw, Bright Star; James Newton Howard, Up in the Air)

ADAPTED OR SONG SCORE: T-Bone Burnett, CRAZY HEART (2nd: Carter Burwell and Karen O, Where the Wild Things Are)

ORIGINAL SONG: “The Weary Kind” from CRAZY HEART (Music and lyrics by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham) (2nd: “You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” from An Education (Music and lyrics by Beth Rowley and Ben Castle), followed by: “Other Father’s Song” from Coraline (Music and lyrics by John Flansburgh and John Linnell); “All Is Love” from Where The Wild Things Are (Music and lyrics by Karen O and Tom Biller); “Hideaway” from Where The Wild Thing Are (Music and lyrics by Karen O and Imaad Wasif); “Little One” from Mother and Child (Music and lyrics by Lucy Schwartz))


MAKEUP: STAR TREK, Drag Me To Hell, The Young Victoria

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

2008: The Year in Review

This is an odd year in that it left me searching desperately for answers. It is the first period of the most modern era that clued me into the downturn in cinematic quality--the Hollywood studios seemed unwilling to do anything great, and so I had to search through indie output for a conclusion. The surprise ascension of Danny Boyle's ho-hum Slumdog Millionaire still leaves me with a feeling of "What the hell happened here?" So I had to rewatch the year's output all over again to find what production I really felt was the best. At first, I was ready to go with Tomas Alfedson's brilliant blending of horror and young romance Let The Right One In, but it didn't feel completely correct as a Best Picture choice. As much as I loved Charlie Kaufman's dazzlingly personal epic Synecdoche, New York, I also realized it's an incredibly odd film that probably would not connect with most viewers. Neither does Mike Leigh's most challenging work Happy-Go-Lucky, juiced by Leigh's unusual script and astounding performances by Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan. Meanwhile, the 2009 Best Picture winner, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, first revealed at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival and a recipient of a few 2008 Independent Spirit nominations, was terrific in its visceral recreation of the Iraq War, but is also not factually correct in its depiction of military operations; I wish the movie was more well-researched (many veterans had problems with the film's screenplay). But it is incredibly strong in its most tense moments, and so there was a big push to make Bigelow the first female winner of the Best Director Oscar the following year. But I consider The Hurt Locker to be a 2008 release, and as such, I have to deny Bigelow the top spot. And, also, I see The Hurt Locker as a terrific imitation of a male-oriented tale, and so I am in search of something else.

I definitely agree that a female director finally needed to be recognized. And in my recount of 2008's output, I uncovered the film I believe should've been roundly lauded. Kelly Reichardt's debut, 1994's River of Grass, was a black-and-white, beautifully low-key hit at that year's Sundance Film Festival, but it would be years before her real breakthrough landed with 2006's Old Joy, a minimalist masterpiece about the last gasps of a male friendship, all breathed during a tentative, woodsy reunion. With only two films under her name, Kelly Reichardt had already commanded a unique place in American cinema. But this position was cemented by her biting, totally moving tale of poverty and desperation Wendy and Lucy. Reichardt lent her own sweet yellow dog Lucy as the film's co-lead and, in doing so, she perfectly portrays the undying adoration humans can have for animals (a focus I find needs more support from filmmakers; this is the most affecting film on this largely unexplored subject since Paul Mazursky's 1974 movie Harry and Tonto).

More importantly, Reichardt expertly portrays the desperation of poor people trying to find their way to happiness without a cent in their pockets (making it a perfect film for 2008, where the US and world economy took an epic dive). Michelle Williams, in the lead, delivers a crushing show as a woman whose savior trip to Alaska, dog in tow, is interrupted by complications that will send any pet-loving viewer into a frantic, head-grabbing tizzy. The economical Wendy and Lucy is easily the year's most emotionally effective movie--one that I defy anyone not to weep at its conclusion. And so I ultimately had to find in its favor as 2008's best film. It has so much to say to us. To those who haven't seen it: be patient. This is miles away from the year's most popular movie The Dark Knight (a well-crafted superhero movie most notable for Heath Ledger's startling supporting performance). Wendy and Lucy carefully dramatizes the desolate places we are headed. Are you a pet owner? It makes me sad to say it, but you might have to get ready to really experience something like this in the future. Even if you don't share your life with an animal, anyone with any empathy whatsoever will be reduced to tears and to further understanding by Reichardt's remarkable movie, and by Michelle Willams' undeniably ravishing performance. I love, love, love the bravery of Reichardt's subtly profound film. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

(2nd: Synecdoche, New York (US, Charlie Kaufman)
followed by: Let The Right One In (Sweden, Tomas Alfredson)
Happy-Go-Lucky (UK, Mike Leigh)
The Hurt Locker (US, Kathryn Bigelow) (won in 2009)
Still Walking (Japan, Hirokazu Kore-Eda)
In Bruges (UK, Martin McDonagh)
The Beaches of Agnès (France, Agnès Varda)
WALL-E (US, Andrew Stanton)
Somers Town (UK, Shane Meadows)
The Wrestler (US, Darren Aronofsky)
Hunger (UK, Steve McQueen)
Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Canada, Sacha Gervasi)
Tropic Thunder (US, Ben Stiller)
Man on Wire (US, James Marsh)
Of Time and the City (UK, Terence Davies)
Julia (France/US/Mexico/Belgium, Erick Zonca)
Trucker (US, James Mottern)
Two Lovers (US, James Gray)
Vicki Christina Barcelona (US, Woody Allen)
The Promotion (US, Steve Conrad)
Nights and Weekends (US, Greta Gerwig and Joe Swanberg)
The Dark Knight (US, Christopher Nolan)
Doubt (US, John Patrick Shanley)
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (US/UK, Marina Zenovich)
Role Models (US, David Wain)
Medicine for Melancholy (US, Barry Jenkins)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel, Ari Folman)
Blindness (US, Fernando Meirelles)
Bronson (UK, Nicolas Winding Refn)
Idiots and Angels (US, Bill Plympton)
Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes (UK, Jon Ronson)
Departures (Japan, Yôjirô Takita)
Pray The Devil Back to Hell (US, Gini Reticker)
W. (US, Oliver Stone)
The Class (France, Laurent Cantet)
Be Kind Rewind (UK/France/US, Michel Gondry)
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany, Uli Edel)
Iron Man (US, Jon Favreau)
Burn After Reading (US, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
35 Shots of Rum (France, Claire Denis)
Changeling (US, Clint Eastwood)
The Wild Man of the Navidad (US, Duane Graves and Justin Meeks)
The Bank Job (UK/US/Australia, Roger Donaldson)
Frozen River (US, Debra Granik)
Gran Torino (US, Clint Eastwood)
I’ve Loved You So Long (France, Philippe Claudel)
Frost/Nixon (US, Ron Howard)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (US, Nicholas Stoller)
JCVD (Belgium/Luxembourg/France, Mabrouk El Mechri)
Lovely Still (US, Nicholas Fackler)
Transsiberian (Spain/Germany/UK/ Lithuania, Brad Anderson)
Dying Breed (Australia, Jody Dwyer)
What Just Happened (US, Barry Levinson)
Baghead (US, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass)
Revolutionary Road (US, Sam Mendes)
Che (US, Steven Soderbergh)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (US, Kevin Smith)
Rachel Getting Married (US, Jonathan Demme)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (US, David Fincher)
Shine a Light (US, Martin Scorsese)
Gran Torino (US, Clint Eastwood)
Wanted (US, Timur Bekmambetov)
Milk (US, Gus Van Sant)
Slumdog Millionaire (UK/India, Danny Boyle)
Australia (US/Australia, Baz Luhrmann)
Me and Orson Welles (US/UK, Richard Linklater)
Speed Racer (US, Lilly Wachowski and Lana Wachowski)
The Reader (US, Stephen Daldry)
Twilight (US, Catherine Hardwicke)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (US, Steven Spielberg)
The Happening (US, M. Night Shyamalan)

ACTOR: Mickey Rourke, THE WRESTLER (2nd: Michael Fassbender, Hunger, followed by: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Synecdoche, New York; Tom Hardy, Bronson; Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers; Josh Brolin, W.; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon)

ACTRESS: Michelle Williams, WENDY AND LUCY (2nd: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky,  followed by: Tilda Swinton, Julia; Michelle Monaghan, Trucker; Angelena Jolie, Changeling; Meryl Streep, Doubt; Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You for So Long)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Heath Ledger, THE DARK KNIGHT (2nd: Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky, followed by: Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road; Brad Pitt, Burn After Reading; Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker; John C. Reilly, The Promotion)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis, DOUBT (2nd: Penelope Cruz, Vicki Christina Barcelona, followed by: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler; Tilda Swinton, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Amy Adams, Doubt; Samantha Morton, Synecdoche, New York; Lina Liandersson, Let The Right One In)

DIRECTOR: Kelly Reichardt, WENDY AND LUCY (2nd: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche New York, followed by: Tomas Alfredson, Let the Right One In; Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky; Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker (won in 2009); Andrew Stanton, WALL-E; Agnès Varda, The Beaches of Agnès)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Sweden, Tomas Alfredson) (2nd: Still Walking (Japan, Hirokazu Kore-Eda), followed by: The Beaches of Agnès (France, Agnès Varda); Waltz with Bashir (Israel, Ari Folman); Departures (Japan, Yôjirô Takita); The Class (France, Laurent Cantet); The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany, Uli Edel); 35 Shots of Rum (France, Claire Denis); I’ve Loved You So Long (France, Philippe Claudel))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: THE BEACHES OF AGNES (France, Agnès Varda) (2nd: Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Canada, Sacha Gervasi), followed by: Man on Wire (US, James Marsh); Of Time and the City (UK, Terence Davies); Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (US/UK, Marina Zenovich); Waltz with Bashir (Israel, Ari Folman); Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes (UK, Jon Ronson); Pray The Devil Back to Hell (US, Gini Reticker)))

ANIMATED FEATURE: WALL-E (US, Andrew Stanton) (2nd: Idiots and Angels (US, Bill Plympton), followed by: Waltz With Bashir (Israel, Ari Folman))

ANIMATED SHORT: LAVATORY--LOVESTORY (Russia, Konstantin Bronzit) (2nd: The House of Little Cubes (Japan, Kunio Kato), followed by: This Way Up (UK, Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith); I Am So Proud of You (US, Don Hertzfeldt))

LIVE ACTION SHORT:  THE WITNESS FROM THE BALCONY OF ROOM 306 (US, Adam Pertofsky) (2nd: Next Floor (Canada, Denis Villeneuve), followed by: Toyland (Germany, Jochen Alexander Freydank); Signs (Australia, Patrick Hughes))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Martin McDonagh, IN BRUGES (2nd: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York; followed by: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky; Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter, and Jim Reardon, WALL-E; Shane Meadows, Somers Town)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: John Ajvide Lindqvist, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2nd: Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond, Wendy and Lucy; followed by: John Patrick Shanley, Doubt; Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, and David Goyer, The Dark Knight; Justin Haythe, Revolutionary Road)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Hoyte van Hoytema, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2nd: Frederick Elmes, Synecdoche, New York, followed by: Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight; Sam Levy, Wendy and LucyAnthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire)

ART DIRECTION: SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK, The Dark Knight, Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

COSTUME DESIGN: REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Duchess, Australia, Synecdoche New York 

FILM EDITING: THE HURT LOCKER (won in 2009), Wendy and Lucy, Let The Right One In, In Bruges, The Bank Job

SOUND: THE HURT LOCKER (won in 2009), The Dark Knight, Wall-E, Wanted, Iron Man


SOUND EFFECTS: WALL-E, The Hurt Locker, Wanted, The Dark Knight, Speed Racer

ORIGINAL SCORE: Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders, THE HURT LOCKER (2nd: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire, followed by: Thomas Newman, WALL-E; Johan Söderqvist, Let the Right One In; Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, The Dark Knight)

ORIGINAL SONG: “The Wrestler” from THE WRESTLER (Music and lyrics by Bruce Springsteen) (2nd: “Down to Earth” from WALL-E (Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; lyrics by Peter Gabriel), followed by "Gran Torino" from Gran Torino (Music and lyrics by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, and Michael Stevens); “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire (Music by A.R. Rahman; lyrics by Gulzar))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: THE DARK KNIGHT, Iron Man, Synecdoche New York, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Speed Racer

MAKEUP: TROPIC THUNDER, The Dark Knight, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button