The 2009 Oscars A Close Race For Frontrunners

 A picture of three oscar statues - Courtesy of Google Images
Written by Claire Booher
Sports Editor 
The year of 2008 was an interesting year for movies. On February 22, Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Academy Award in what will be an exciting night for all the nominees.

Leading the way this year with 13 Oscar nominations is “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” written by Eric Roth. While “Benjamin Button” was a unique story, the movie dragged on about 45 minutes too long. The visual effects in the movie were of course stunning, making the 46 year old Brad Pitt’s looks range from those of an 86 year old to those of a 16 year old.
Despite these visual effects captivating the audience from start to finish, Pitt spoke very little in the movie and seemed emotionally static throughout the film. Pitt so far has not captured the best leading man award.

The Golden Globe went to Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler” and the Screen Actor’s Guild went to Sean Penn for “Milk.”The Academy Award likely will go to either of the two, each of whom took on tragic characters this year.

As for best actor in a supporting role, the question is not who will win, but who will accept on behalf of Heath Ledger. Ledger’s portrayal of the psychotic clown known as the Joker in “Dark Knight” left everyone feeling disturbed, thrilled and saddened by the loss of so talented a man.

The other nominees in the category had the unfortunate luck of landing in the same category as Ledger but should be considered as good contenders anyway. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” divided the minds of movie-goers on whether or not they had faith in his character. If Ledger were not nominated in the category, my money would be on Hoffman.

2008 was an excellent year for strong female actresses. Meryl Streep stole the show in “Doubt” and has picked up a Screen Actors Guild Award due to her excellent performance.

Both Anne Hathaway and Kate Winslet have been praised for their roles in “Rachel Getting Married” and “The Reader.”
The race will be tight come Oscar night as all three women have been recognized by different award shows for their roles. I cannot clearly pick a winner for this category but I can pick the person I would like to win, and that is Kate Winslet.

Winslet has been nominated for six Oscars that she should have been recognized for. Unfortunately thus far, she has not played a character damaged enough for the Academy. Hopefully “The Reader” is enough to bring Winslet the trophy.

In the supporting role, Amy Adams and Viola Davis in “Doubt” tug at one’s heartstrings and sense of security with authority figures in our lives.

Both women did a good job but I feel this award will most likely go to Davis who placed every audience member in the uncomfortable position of whether or not she was doing the right thing for her child. None of the nominees for this Oscar have been recognized by other award shows, so the winner will be a surprise for any of them.

In the most coveted categories, Best Director and Best Picture, there is one movie that should win and if not it will be an atrocity. While many of the movies this year left one feeling depressed, “Slumdog Millionaire” left moviegoers with tears of happiness and a strong desire to dance to Indian music.

This is by far the best movie of the year. It follows “Benjamin Button” with ten nominations, and deserves them much more. The movie tells the story of a young man named Jamal that grows up in the slums of Bombay and is now on the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” show.

As Jamal gets closer and closer to winning one millionaire dollars, he is suspected of cheating and must explain to the police how he knows the answers to all the questions, thus launching into a love story beginning with two six year old children.

This movie has already received the award for best picture from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild and deserves both by far above the rest.

The other movies in this category do not compare to the elated feeling “Slumdog Millionaire” gives as the ending credits role.
There are many great movies that have been recognized this year, but two surprisingly snubbed movies are “Revolutionary Road” and “Valkyrie.”

Both movies were thought to generate huge Oscar buzz with the reuniting of Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise plotting against Hitler.

Both movies received zero nominations in any of the major categories with the exception of Michael Shannon for Best Supporting Actor for “Revolutionary Road.”

The night is sure to be full of attention-grabbing results and memorable moments as has been expected from the Academy for the past 80 years.

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