The first movie award nominations from a critics group were announced this morning by the Broadcast Critics Association. The Critics Choice Awards, aptly named, set the stage for a season of dogfighting.
You should note, dear reader, that I vote with this group and don't agree with all their selections.
But that's what makes it so interesting.
The Critics Choice Awards gave multiple nominations to "Milk," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "The Reader," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Doubt."
What surprised me: the Critics really went for Clint Eastwood's "Changeling" including the lead performance by Angelina Jolie. I doubt any of that will proceed to the Oscars, but it's nice.
Eastwood himself got Best Actor for "Gran Torino," a movie maybe not every voter had the chance to see. When the Academy voters view it, however, "Gran Torino" will be a Best Picture nominee.
The Critics also lapped up the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight," which reflects the populist tastes, especially among television reviewers. "The Dark Knight" got nominations for Best Picture, Best Action Action Film, Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger), Ensemble, Composer, and Director (Christopher Nolan). Most of that will vanish with the Oscars.
Where the CCA's got it right: eight nominations for "Milk," which won't win the Oscar, but has lots of support just like "Brokeback Mountain" did a couple of years ago; six nominations for "Slumdog," which will win the Academy Award for Best Picture and deserves it; six for "Doubt," including the amazing Viola Davis for Supporting Actress; and three for "The Reader," although they missed Stephen Daldry for Best Director but got Kate Winslet for Supporting Actress and David Kross for Best Younger Actor.
The offbeat choices from the Critics: nominations for a movie really not in the Oscar mix at all, called "Nothing But the Truth."
One thing these nominations guarantee: appearances on the January 8th live VH1 show by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The couple has become the loss leader bait for awards shows. They don't win anything, but they're gracious enough to attend, and it's always good for ratings.
And one glaring problem: as awards season proceeds, missing from the mix seems to be Sam Mendes' "Revolutionary Road," with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. There could be many reasons. For one, I only just received my DVD screener yesterday, along with "Benjamin Button" from Paramount. The lateness shouldn't matter, but maybe it did. I can only only urge Academy voters to watch this film for two extraordinary performances. DiCaprio is a revelation, and Winslet is merely excellent.
It would be a shame if this film fell through the cracks.