Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight
My Overall Thoughts:
This was another year where the right choices were never so clear cut. The fact that Slumdog dominated the awards this year is proof of that. It may be a fun film, but it’s plotted out too perfectly and just isn’t BP material IMHO. Taking into consideration that the Academy changed a lot of their rules the following year shows how much of a disaster this was.
5. Gus Van Sant
4. Ron Howard
3. Stephen Daldry
2. Danny Boyle
1. David Fincher
5. The Reader – Really liked the way that they essentially tell two completely different stories here; one a story of young love and the other how one deals with knowledge about the past. Winslet is great here and definitely deserved her Oscar for Best Actress for this role because it is both sensual and also horrific at the the same time once you watch things unfold. I’m not convinced that this film deserved a Best Picture nomination, because it isn’t as good as one would hope for it to be and due to the fact that it was the weakest of the 5 nominees that year while there were two excellent films overlooked by the Academy: Wall-E (2008) and The Dark Knight (2008). The moral issues brought up in this film are ones that can be pondered over for a long time after watching it.
4. Slumdog Millionaire – Weak Oscar BP, but feel good movie. Interesting movie to see but it too often feels much like the script is a connect the dots story that seems too planned out to fit together so perfectly.
3. Milk – Great film that is led by an amazing Penn who is able to transform himself into the character making us forget who is playing the role. The story is told quite well and we get a clear sense of the way that gays and other minorities were treated at the time. The supporting cast is also great and the fact that this is based on a true story helps give this film an even harder impact. The problem is that there is something slightly missing that would have raised the stakes even higher and would have made it amazing. Nominated for 8 Oscars but only managed to win Best Actor and Best Screenplay.
2. Frost/Nixon – Sheen and Langella make this film so fun to watch because they are both such engaging characters. The discussions between them through the course of the film seem like a seesaw because both have points where they are up and points when they are down, but each is doing his best to stay at the top. The fact that a story like this can stay engaging for the entire two hours says so much about the directing by Howard. Definitely deserving of the Best Picture Nomination, but not the strongest contender that year so I wouldn’t have expected it to win.
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Great story told in a great way. Excellent script that really makes us feel for and understand many of the characters and their actions. Pitt is amazing as the lead character. Unbelievable use of special effects that make us truly wonder how it was all done. I’m still baffled that the Academy chose Slumdog over this one….
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not at all! I can appreciate how difficult it can be to put together a Bollywood movie in Hollywood, but Fincher does a much better job with an even better story that is told beautifully.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!