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