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Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino”: Oscar roadkill

January 22, 2009

It was perhaps the biggest snub of the Oscar nominations, actor/director Clint Eastwood’s “Gran USA/Torino” was overlooked by voters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with no — zero — nominations. Or, was it?

(For a slideshow of nominees, click here, and for a list of nominees, click here.)

For weeks, as the road to Oscars’ Feb. 22 ceremony in Hollywood has laid out in front of award watchers, critics and industry groups have continually turned their heads as “Gran Torino” drove by — no Golden Globes or Broadcast Critics Choice awards, no nominations by producers, directors, actors or writers guilds. You could see the roadkill on the highway.

Yet, Eastwood is a favorite of the Motion Picture Academy voters. He has won two best director and best film awards (“Unforgiven” and “Million Dollar Baby”), but never won for acting. He was the star of “Gran Torino,” and the movie and his performance have earned mostly good reviews. Moreover, the film has been a hit with moviegoers who vote with their dollars at box offices ($78 million and climbing). As a result, many award watchers believed Academy voters would make Clint’s day. But they didn’t. And the question is, did they get it right or wrong?

GOLDENGLOBES/“The Reader,” which has been seen by few people, earned a nomination for best picture over “Gran Torino” and Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” – a well-respected actor but hardly a household name — was nominated over Clint for best actor. Was that right?

In other surprises, Leonardo DiCaprio was shut out of the best actor category after turning in a strong performance in dark drama “Revolutionary Road,” and that film, which also starred Kate Winslet, also failed to make it in the best film and best director category with its filmmaker Sam Mendes (Winslet’s husband). Winslet did, however, land in the best actress race for “The Reader.”

And what about Batman movie “The Dark Knight.” It was 2008′s No. 1 movie at box offices, but wasOSCARS/ shut out of best director (Christopher Nolan) and best picture. The movie’s nominations — except for supporting actor for Heath Ledger – came mostly in technical categories like makeup, visual effects and sound-editing.

So, the race for Oscars is on, and the checkered flag will wave on Feb. 22, but now is your chance to get in your own votes on Fan Fare: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk,” and so on. Let us know what you think were Oscar’s hits and misses.

Comments

“Shakespeare in Love” beat out “Saving Private Ryan” for Best Picture in 1999. If you think that the Academy would have it figured out by now, guess again.

I applaud Clint Eastwood and all involved (especially Nick Schenk, from the great state of Minnesota) for making this film. It is easily the best film I’ve seen in five years.

Posted by C. G. Hutchens | Report as abusive
 

I’ve never agreed with the Oscarss much, but they have always been fun to watch, and I usually like about 60% of the nominations. I am rooting for Slumdog Millionaire, and am happy that it made it in. Benjamin Button by all rights should have the least nominations. It may seem it fulfills all the clichés of the Oscars. But it is such a mess, and I mean if “No Country For Old Men” can be a winner then who needs epic clichés?. The fact that Gran Torino was completely snubbed, at the very least the title song with Jamie Cullum should’ve won already!! But honestly despite the fact that Clint has won many awards, and already received rightfully his directing Oscars, Gran Torino totally rules!! I am still shocked and sickened by it’s complete lack of nominations. I loved all the performances, and the story uncovers many levels that will haunt me forever. It has funny, dark, and sad moments. It is honest, and a revelation. We should all get together and send a message to the Oscar nomination boards that they’ve made a massive mistake.

Posted by Darrin | Report as abusive
 

I saw “Gran Torino” last Friday night and absolutely loved it. Eastwood’s snub by Oscar is beyond belief. As someone else wrote, the film is certainly NOT politically correct, nor should it have been. It wouldn’t have been the same picture, and anyone who would expect Eastwood to, “make the Academy’s day” by bowing to such pressures doesn’t know Clint.

After the nominations were announced, my wife and I went to see, “Benjamin Button: Meet Joe Black.” Or, perhaps an even more apropos title would be, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, In Which Nobody Ever Asks the Title Character Anything Regarding His ‘Reverse Aging’ Thing.”

If there is one thing I hate, it’s a lack of intellectual curiosity. This movie is chock-full of “willful ignorance” and is the ultimate Snooze-a-palooza. Brad Pitt obviously wanted a Gump-ish flick to put on his resume, and boy did he get it. “Best Actor” nomination for Pitt over Eastwood? What a joke. The guy didn’t change the tone of his voice or facial expression throughout the whole movie. In other words, he phoned it in. If I had known my wife was despising it as much as I, we would have been out the door in under 30 minutes.

“Revolutionary Road” is so uneven, it jars the senses. I know Sam Mendes didn’t want to just make another “American Beauty,” but the film would have been much more coherent, tolerable (and maybe even enjoyable) if he would have gone with the dark humor on display during the scenes with the actor playing Kathy Bates’s son. Finally, we loved “Slumdog Millionaire” and as far as I’m concerned, only it and “Milk” are worthy winners.

Posted by Reese Thompson | Report as abusive
 

IMO it should win everything, great movie GREAT movie.

Atleast it made a buttload of money so thats good.

Posted by John Silverback | Report as abusive
 

This is ridiculous. Eastwood has been underrated as an actor and his behind the scenes work as well. Hollywood and the academy has an agenda and so it does not matter who has created the best or most relevant work, it’s a pretty basic formula really. Hate on this value or that tradition, or be this way politically, in a film or in music, and you win big.Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have your motion picture company be a big “donor” to the academy. These are bought and sold, rarely earned.Now hold a viewers’ choice and this touching, sadly beautiful film would win.

Posted by emily | Report as abusive
 

“Gran Torino” was such a sensational work of art and Clint Eastwood’s performance so outstanding that one can only assume the Academy snubbed it because it was not what they consider “politically correct”. The lack of due recognition for this great picture confirms that the Academy has become irrelevant and obsolete as an arbiter of great art.

 

I havent seen the Oscar nominees for this year, but what I have seen is Gran Torino, twice actually. I absolutely cannot believe it did not receive any nominations. I consider it to be one of the best films I have seen in my life(I am 50, so that is saying something) The Oscars are a joke and have been for a long time. Mr. Eastwood, when I stepped into a theatre for the second time in two months to watch your movie, which I have never done in my life, I was mezmerised by your portrayal, by the story, and by the humanity of your film. It was truly a great film, with much to teach the world. I salute you and the film, and I along with millions of other movie-goers award you with our hard earned dollars that we pay to go to the theatre and watch Gran Torino

Posted by Rebecca Kinney | Report as abusive
 

Hollywood has a political agenda…I do not support any of their decisions, they are a joke! Anybody that does not support their leftwing gay agenda is an outcast!

 

My husband and I saw Grand Traino,we thought it was a wonderful film. I tell people that the humor in the movie is what I consider, “real.” We told our children and many others about this masterpiece and all of them have responded the same way, It was fabulous!!
When I was young I believed in and trust the FDA. As an adult I do not. I guess the Oscars will go the way of the FDA, because frankly something stinks here.

Posted by Debra Hodroff | Report as abusive
 

Could someone PLEASE explain to me why Gran Torino got snubbed at the Oscars???
I can’t be more disgusted by the ignorance of the “Academy” for not recognizing this brilliant, real life and touching film. My husband and I viewed this movie together and were filled with many emotions. I would imagine many of the people who have seen this movie have experienced this situation in some way. This movie reminded me of my grandfather, father, uncles etc… People who weren’t horrible hateful people but weren’t educated about culture. They were in a position during war to kill asian people, not befriend them. To them they were always the enemy. Just like Walt Kowalski felt. Once they got a chance to know someone of the Asian culture they had an eye opening experience. They no longer saw them as the “enemy” but their neighbor, friend or just a good person. I applaud Mr. Eastwood for making such an eye opening and real life film that many of can relate to.
We all know real life isn’t glamorous but it can also be an eye opening experience.
Perhaps the academy needs to study what real people experience. Looks as though many of them have forgotten what that is.
Thank you Mr. Eastwood and the many actors who contributed to such an amazing film.

Posted by Amy | Report as abusive
 

I try to see all the supposedly good movies. But, lately, most of them left me feeling empty, cheated, and unmoved. I hadn’t been moved to tears by a film for over a decade, until “Gran Torino”. I don’t care what the Academy says, this movie is a masterpiece. It was disturbing to watch, but ultimately uplifting. I think maybe the Academy finds poetic justice uncool. The American public doesn’t. Thank you, Clint Eastwood.

Posted by Judith B. | Report as abusive
 

The oscars are not for the “audience” they are for the voters…who think they are smarter than the audience….every year movies that most of us never see, win the oscars. It did not used to be this way.

 

To celebrate our yearly ‘Snub the Oscars” we went to see Clint’s gem of a movie, Grand Torino. We laughed and cringed at the name calling and yes we cryed. The barbershop scene alone was a winner. So get yo head out yo @ss Acadamy snobs and catch some real entertainment art.

Posted by AnnC | Report as abusive
 

We had to drive nearly 30 miles to see Clint Eastwood’s, Grand Torino. And we’d do it all over again. This work is truly a magnificent vehicle of film entertainment. Kudos to Clint, to hell with the Oscars!

Posted by CarlosOjai | Report as abusive
 

My wife and I saw Gran Torino last month after my son recommended we see it. All I can say is, Clint is still the best.

This is the only movie, in 21 years of marriage, that the wife and I both loved. As a disabled veteran from the Midwest who has friends in Detroit, I totally empathized with Clint’s character and the realistic depiction of urban blight and street thugs.

Definitely not politically correct but it is factually and realistically correct.

The Oscars ARE politically motivated and a JOKE which is why I BOYCOTTED them this year and why I will continue to not watch it any longer.

How they managed to overlook this movie with all it’s messages of hope, family, and sacrificing one’s self for another is beyond me.

Well, I guess I just answered my own question. Hollywood is full of the left wing, “Hate America” crowd so I guess I should have expected Gran Torino to get snubbed.

I guess if you espouse old time American values in a movie you lose. I bet if the gang bangers had killed Clint and escaped punishment and were the heroes of the film, then it would have been nominated for an Oscar.

I hope Clint continues to make more movies. As for the other movies that were nominated, I didn’t watch any of them, except for the Dark Knight, because they just didn’t appeal to me.

Too many “chick flicks” and unrealistic garbage like Benjamin Button

Posted by H. RIVERA | Report as abusive
 

I’ve never cared or payed that much attention to the Oscars. But when I heard that Gran Torino did not get any nominations, I was in disbelief! I was moved to Google a site where I could voice my disgust. Gran Torino is one of the top 10 best movies I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen it twice. I will buy the DVD. And when my son is old enough, he’ll see it. (And by the way, I’m typically one of those left-wing liberals you all are complaining about… so I don’t think they overlooked it because they’re left-wing liberals… I think they overlooked it because they are just STUPID)

Posted by Janet | Report as abusive
 

I think the people who vote are too left wing to consider a film like Gran Torino for an Oscar. Most have little tolerance anything outside their own views.

Posted by evelyn | Report as abusive
 

The Academy- this is the same type of group whom nominated Milly Vanilly back in the day- is made up of CA liberals who would never move into the ghetto and help the types of people who were featured in this movie. They are out of touch with their singing and dancing Hugh whoever that was last night. What a joke- the whole thing! Clint you are better than this.

 

I had heard Gran Torino described as Dirty Harry in his dotage. But what the heck. My wife and I are both almost as old as Clint. We both like him. Perhaps she less than I liked Dirty Harry but so what? I go to chick flicks with her. So we climbed out of our recliners, strapped on my STI, and zipped off to see GT, albeit without high expectations. Wow, were we surprised! Both of us found GT easily near or at the top of of the most memorable and compelling films we have seen in our combined 140+ years.

The not yet updated IMDB concludes its career writeoff of Clint with the prophetic sentence “Although he is aging now, Clint Eastwood has surprised before, and who knows, he may surprise again.”

Several previous bloggers have attributed the Academy snub to politics. I think it more likely to be immaturity.

Posted by Donald Beeth | Report as abusive
 

i am so glad to read all the comments here, because i thought i was losing my mind. i don’t feel a pressing need to go see movies on a regular basis, but when ‘gran torino’ was advertised, my husband and i immediately wanted to go. i cannot begin to tell you what an impact that movie made on my life. i cried so hard i couldn’t stop once the movie was over! clint eastwood is a GENIUS. he has always had his hand on the pulse of real people. i totally agree with this review and all the comments, it at times was hard to watch because of the language and the violence, but it is REAL LIFE. clint’s character reminded me of so many people in my life, people who weren’t ‘politically correct’ but they sure had their priorities in the right place. unfortunately, the academy doesn’t.

Posted by erin | Report as abusive
 

I just came from watching “Gran Torino”, yes I know… A little late but I live on a military base and we get our movies late.

I thought it was an amazing movie. It touched my heart. I laughed and cried. Clint Eastwood is one remarkable actor. For him to not have gotten an Oscar nod was unbelievable. It’s one of the best movies I have seen EVER and I’d watch over and over again… because it’s just that AMAZING.

Posted by J. S. Shawl | Report as abusive
 

This is why people don’t watch the oscars anymore. The oscars no longer feature the greatest movies of the year but rather those movies that the politically active in Hollywood prefer.
Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino is a great movie produced and directed by America’s greatest cinamatic talent. His performance was indeed worthy of an oscar.
The world knows who deserved the oscar even if Hollywood politically correct idiots keep featuring movies that no one wants to see.

Posted by Bruce | Report as abusive
 

I watched Clint Eastwood’s new film “Gran Torino” the other day and had just realised why he hadn’t won, or else been nominated for an Oscar.
As a teen, I know what teenagers love but Gran Torino really touched me. It was just my most favorite movie of all time.
I watched “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” also but it was too long and pretty much, a teen like me would rather watch a Brad Pitt film but Gran Torino WAS MUCH BETTER!

I know this isn’t fair… Especially when Gran Torino could possibly be Eastwood’s last film and should at least deserve a nomination. I watched “Slumdog Millionare”, it was good, but not compared to Gran Torino. In Australia, the critic reviews literally rated this film a pure 5 stars. And Clint Eastwood’s line of “get off my lawn” is a winner and could possibly become a famous movie one-liner.

I just hope, that Eastwood could get a nomination for the 2009 Oscars. This film touched me dearly, and the one film which got me to start watching Clint Eastwood film’s.

Bravo to you Mr. Eastwood!

Posted by Ariel N. | Report as abusive
 

Clint Eastwood has made, what I believe, is his greatest movie to date. I have always enjoyed his movies but this has to be the best.
It represents what is going on in the United States and is very real. Most movies they claim are so great are boring , confusing and in some cases ridiculous.
Are the academy awards legitimate or just another political farce?

Posted by Raymond Schuerger | Report as abusive
 

Gran Torino sucked. The acting was bad, all around. Clint Eastwood’s performance was reminiscent of Dana Carvey’s “Grumpy Old Man” bit from Weekend Update. The script was horrible, completely unbelievable. So much matter of fact expository about Hmong culture. Some of the dialog sounded like it was lifted from a National Geographic article, not like realistic conversation. The Academy was right in not nominating this film in any category.

Posted by melissa | Report as abusive
 

To: melissa

My dad plays that “grumpy old man” bit to a tee every day, whether he realizes it or not. He was born in 1936.

The fact that you say the movie “sucked” proves that you don’t understand it, because that’s the extent of your vocabulary. “Sucked?” Really? Also, you probably don’t know many people of that generation. My dad’s generation is old, grizzled, racist… and they mostly get along with each other now. They grew up in much different times than yours. They throw around the “n-”word, Pollack, Jew, Chink, etc, but if you get them in one bar together, you’ll find all those old farts buying each other drinks. They’re a totally different generation and they’re complicated. I thought the movie was great.

Posted by Mo | Report as abusive
 

Gran Torino is one of the greatest movies I have seen. We all know it deserved an Oscar and so does Clint for Best Actor. The unknown actors who play the sister and brother were absolutely outstanding. I loved the movie. Mr Eastwood, You are one hell of a director. Keep em comin! s l long

Posted by M A Long | Report as abusive
 

OK, two years after the fact, I feel obliged to enter a comment. Being left-wing does NOT mean being politically correct. I support gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose, and just about any other socially left wing policy one would care to name. I love living in a cosmopolitan city and rednecks irritate me no end. And I LOVED this movie. I saw it on a plane and liked it so much I made my husband watch it with me again. Two years later, a conversation reminds me of Clint Eastwood and I feel compelled to call my dad and ask him if he’s seen this movie, and if not, to get out there and watch it!

Posted by scispence | Report as abusive
 

I was at my 22 year olds hospital bedside when this movie came out and was out of touch with regard to movies at that time. With that said, I just saw Grand Torino for the first time tonight and I have to say, “Wow, what a movie!” This movie was spectacular and I cannot believe it was snubbed at the Oscars. Clint Eastwood has always been a favorite of mine, but he out did himself with this one. I’m a 46 year old mother of 4 boys who lives on a farm in WV, so my opinion may not count for much when it comes to cinema, but I know what I like and I loved this movie! Way to go Mr. Eastwood! PS. Loved the Super Bowl commercial too! Clint Eastwood for president! :)

Posted by kbartrug | Report as abusive
 

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