January 22, 2009

Oscar Nominations Announced

Hollywood, Calif. - After months of speculation, the nominations for the 81st Academy Awards were announced today, Thursday, January 22. The three finalists in the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year are Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, and Wall-E. Following the recent visual-effects bake-off, the nominees for Achievement in Visual Effects are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man. For Best Animated Short film, the nominees are La Maison en Petits Cubes, Lavatory ­ Lovestory, Oktapodi, Presto, and This Way Up.
The nominations were made by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker. Ganis and Whitaker, who won an Academy Award for his lead performance in The Last King of Scotland, announced the nominees in 10 of the 24 categories at a live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives. Lists of nominations in all categories then were distributed to the news media in attendance and via the Internet.    

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories: actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, however, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees. Nominations ballots were mailed to the 5,810 voting members in late December and were returned directly to Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, the international accounting firm, for tabulation.    

Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members this weekend at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Screenings also will be held at the Academy's Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York, and San Francisco. All active and life members of the Academy are eligible to select the winners in all categories, although in five of them  Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject and Foreign Language Film -- members can vote only if they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.    

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide. Recently the annual Oscars visual effects bakeoff was held at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' headquarters in Beverly Hills. Seven films were presented at the event -- Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Iron Man, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. 

The nominees for each film had five minutes to introduce their clips of finished footage from the film (15 minutes), followed by a three-minute question-and-answer period from branch members to the presenter. At the end of the presentations, the VFX branch members voted for their top-three choices. A steering committee of 43 members chose which films would be presented at the bakeoff.  

Nominations for the 81st Academy Awards include:  

Best animated feature film of the year

- “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

Achievement in 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 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, L¹Ãƒ©cole de l¹image Production,
Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
- “Presto‚” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug
“This Way Up‚” A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Performance by an actor in a leading role

- 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
- Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler‚” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

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

Performance by an actress in a leading role

- 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)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

- 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)

Achievement in 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

Achievement in 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

Achievement in 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 O¹Connor
- “Milk‚” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
- “Revolutionary Road‚” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage),
Albert Wolsky

Achievement in directing

- “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‚” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David
- “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 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 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

Achievement in 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 foreign language film of the year

- “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,
- “Revanche‚” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
- “Waltz with Bashir‚” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang
Production, Israel

Achievement in makeup

- “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button‚” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg
- “The Dark Knight‚” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O¹Sullivan
- “Hellboy II: The Golden Army‚” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (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

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original 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 motion picture of the year

- “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,
- “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, Nominees to be determined
- “Slumdog Millionaire‚” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films
Production,Christian Colson, Producer

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

Achievement in 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

Achievement in 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
- “Slumdog Millionaire‚” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul
- “WALL-E‚” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
- “Wanted‚” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

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

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