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Oscars snub 'The Dark Knight' and star of 'Slumdog Millionaire'

January 22, 2009 |  8:38 am

"The Reader" has so much strength with voters at the Oscars that not only did it bump "The Dark Knight" from the top races for best picture and director, but Kate Winslet also was moved up from supporting to lead. Despite giving the core performance in the picture, Kate Winslet had been campaigning for a supporting nod so as not to cancel out her hopes for a lead nomination for "Revolutionary Road." The latter film, which was virtually snubbed, reunited Winslet with her "Titanic" costar Leonardo DiCaprio and was directed by her Oscar-winning husband, Sam Mendes ("American Beauty").

"Revolutionary Road" costars DiCaprio and Winslet were nominated for best lead drama actor and actress at the Golden Globes, where Winslet won twice: in lead for "Road" and supporting for "The Reader." However, DiCaprio was also snubbed today at the Oscars, just like he was the last time he costarred with Winslet — in "Titanic," which earned her a nomination for best actress (she lost to Helen Hunt, "As Good As It Gets"). "Titanic" ended up sailing off with more Oscars than any other movie in history (except "Ben-Hur," which also received 11), leaving its lead male star behind. DiCaprio, in turn, snubbed the Oscars and didn't attend the ceremony.

The_dark_knight_oscar_nominations_s

Over the last decade, the best picture and director lineups have been out of sync by at least one nomination in every year but 2005. So it was widely thought that if "The Dark Knight" didn't get in for best picture at least DGA nominee Christopher Nolan would be recognized for his helming. Instead, "The Reader's" Stephen Daldry made the cut with the directors, which lined up exactly with best picture. This means that Daldry has been nominated for every feature film he's ever directed. His previous two flicks were "Billy Elliot" (2000) and "The Hours" (2002).

The Oscar nominations for "The Reader" are a huge vindication for studio chief Harvey Weinstein, who forced the film's release in 2008 even though it meant clashing with co-producer Scott Rudin. Rudin was backing his other pony in the Oscar race — "Revolutionary Road." And with Kate Winslet understandably loyal to her husband, Rudin wanted Weinstein to wait till 2009 to release "The Reader." When Weinstein wouldn't, Rudin pulled his own name from the credits of "The Reader." Last year, Rudin produced best-picture winner "No Country for Old Men" and nominee "There Will Be Blood."

Many Oscarologists believed that Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino") would be nominated for best actor despite the fact that he had been shut out at both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. After all, Eastwood has never been nominated for acting by the Globes and wasn't nominated by SAG for "Million Dollar Baby." (SAG didn't have competitive awards when "Unforgiven" was released in 1992.) Nonetheless, he did manage to reap past acting bids at the Oscars for "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby."

It's surprising that critics' darling Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") was snubbed, considering her early derby victories as best actress at both the Gotham and L.A. critics' awards, as well as the Golden Globes. Oscar voters nominated the lead female stars of other Mike Leigh films: Brenda Blethyn ("Secrets and Lies") and Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake").

Where's the slumdog, you ask? Dev Patel, star of "Slumdog Millionaire" and a BAFTA lead actor nominee, was snubbed in the supporting race even though his film reaped an impressive tally of 10 nominations and is considered the front-runner to win best picture.

Indeed, the love for "Slumdog Millionaire" was so strong that the academy's music branch nominated two of the songs from the film — "Jai Ho" and "O Saya" — and snubbed past Oscar winner Bruce Springsteen, who just won a Golden Globe for the title track to "The Wrestler." Bruce Springsteen won his Oscar in 1993 for the song "Streets of Philadelphia" from the film "Philadelphia." He was nominated two years later for the title song of "Dead Man Walking" but lost to "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas."

NOTABLE OSCARS SNUBS

BEST PICTURE
"The Dark Knight"
"Wall-E"
"Gran Torino"

BEST DIRECTOR
Christopher Nolan, "The Dark Knight"

BEST ACTOR
Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino")
Leonardo DiCaprio ("Revolutionary Road")
Dustin Hoffman ("Last Chance Harvey")

BEST ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky")
Cate Blanchett ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button")
Kristin Scott Thomas ("I've Loved You So Long")

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire")
James Franco ("Milk")
Ralph Fiennes ("The Reader")
Eddie Marsan ("Happy-Go-Lucky")

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rosemarie DeWitt ("Rachel Getting Married")
Debra Winger ("Rachel Getting Married")
Kathy Bates ("Revolutionary Road")

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Oscar Nominations Pooh-Pooh Kate Winslet's Campaign for 'The Reader'

Oscar Nominations Reward December Releases

Heath Ledger's Death-Defying Bid for 'The Dark Knight': Why So Serious

Quiz: What Movie Had the Most Oscar Nominations Ever?

Oscars Welcome Nine First-Time Acting Nominees

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Comments

Thank goodness the Academy did not fall for the overhyped TDK. Did anybody truly enjoy that relentless exercise in sadism? Pull out a gun at the end, point it at a young boy, and torture both the boy and his family while the audience eats it up. I hope not. I found Sally Hawkins' character annoying, no matter how well played. I wouldn't have nominated her. Dev Patel should have been in Lead Actor, but of course he didn't have a chance against that crowd, so he was dropped down to Supporting. I hate this nomination shifting practice. I would like to have seen Clint get a nomination, but have no quarrel with the finalists. Ditto Kristin Scott Thomas. I did not see the role provided Tariji Hanson with a quality part.

I agree with Ace, not so much in regards to Eastwood, but in the notion that any movie about homosexual men seems to warrant a nomination. What is the fascination with homosexuality. Could it be that many of the voters are such and therefore highly biased?

What is the facination about developed countries watching poverty, slums of developing countries ?

Clearly Eastwood and Gran Torino were snubbed by Hollywood because a story involving Detroit and guns is just too politically incorrect among the ultra-liberal entertainment industry.

Now, if Eastwood would simply have had a homosexual relationship with the young man who he was mentoring, then the film would have undoubtedly been flooded with Oscars and countless other awards.

Slumdog Millionaire was a beautiful film in a variety of dimensions. It also reinforced for those who care just how valuable our children are in all the countries. Oscars hardly mean anything any more because those who rate don't get it! I never watch any longer.

Academy is not credible anymore for snubbing Sally Hawkins. You guys don't know how to appreciate a real talent. Her performance is so good than Jolie or even Streep. She should have won BTW.

I have no problem with a beautifully made piece of popular entertainment receiving a best picture nod, and I think Mileshigh is right that it is a bit sad that those movies do not get recognized more. I think Wall-E was such a movie -- a beautifully constructed story, told in a way that was simple enough to appeal to kids but also sophisticated enough to appeal to adults, and perfectly put together.

However, I just would not put TDK in the same league as Star Wars, ET and some of the others. (The nomination for Towering Inferno was always a joke.) Personally, I found TDK tedious, overlong, and incredibly muddled both narratively and thematically. It was loud, fast, action-filled -- and mindnumbingly boring whenever Heath Ledger was offscreen.

The one thing a great entertainment of this kind ought to be is masterful in its storytelling. I thought that TDK failed in that respect.

I actually think that Christopher Nolan may have been precisely the wrong director for this movie. Nolan IS a brilliant filmmaker. Memento is a great film, very complex but always very clean and clear narratively, if you pay attention. Nolan may almost thinks too complexly to convey the simple broad strokes of a comic book kind of story.

With the possible exception of Slumdog Millionaire (which I think is slightly overrated), I would not have included any of the nominated best pictures in my "ideal" list. But it's the Oscars. Anyone who takes them too seriously is deluding himself.

TDK not being in the race for best pic is so wrong. Best picture is a movie that to me you enjoy and walk away thinking about it and talking about it and even get a lesson from. Got all that from batman matter of fact you learned about the good in people and the sacrifices that are made to fight evil. Sounds like a best pic to me and besides my whole fam enjoyed it and saw it more than once even my 86 yr old grandma. The point is it was the best movie and watching it you forgot it was a comic movie why because you were engrossed in the story and feeling in it. No I will not be watching the Oscars!

I was only annoyed that 'Reader' was nominated, now I'm pissed! Its pathetic what Weinstein did to Winslet, Mendes, and Rudin. What a ruthless business man. He's just bitter because none of his overpriced, awkward film festival crap returns a profit.

No one will remember this dreadfully boring film this time next year, other then denying 'Dark Knight' a best picture nod. Anyone who thinks TDK wasn't worthy of a nod because of light themes and blockbuster status doesn't realize 'Star Wars,' 'The Towering Inferno,' 'Jaws,' 'E.T.' 'The Fugitive,' 'The Sixth Sense,' and all three 'LOTR' movies were nominated for Best Picture. (BTW, I'm not a 'fanboy')

You didn't need to be a pretentious, heavy handed, melodramatic message movie in the past to receive a BP nod, but it looks like times are changing. I probably wont be watching this year's irrelevant telecast.

I hope Heath wins, I'm sure he will but to bad I won't be watching. After seeing that The Dark Knight or Gran Torino weren't nominated I won't be watching. They don't deserve anyone watching that garbage of a show they're going to put on. Lets noimated a dreadfully boring movie like Benjamin Button but not nominate The Dark Knight...oh yeah you have your fingers on the pulse of whats actually a good film. and anyone who gives congrats to the oscars for not nominating TDK because it did well at the box office is just as lost as the voters are. You think your so cool and are in this exclusive club because Button or The Reader didn't bore you to tears...yeah ok, your so cool with your little geeky click, lol. Chris Nolan not being nominated for any of his works of art like Momento, The Prestige or The Dark Knigt is a crime!

The Dark Knight always had such a divided audience, you can see it in the posts here. A repetitive, pseudo-intellectual, pontifying drag of a superhero movie. Benjamin Button left me a wee bit cold as well, but there was much to appreciate nevertheless. Barring Brangelina's inclusion, the Academy got it fairly right this time.

Unfortunately, I will pass on watching the Oscars telecast as I have no passion for the nominees this year. Sure, I feel the Best Actor category is very intriguing, but Michael Fassbender/Hunger is sorely missing. But that's a long story.

However, I am disgusted that The Dark Knight did not receive a Best Pic nomination. AMPAS should be embarrassed by this snub. I just looked at the nominees and feel nothing that pulls me to watch it this year. However, I will read the play by play from my peers here at The Envelope as their commentary throughout the program is always more entertaining that actually watching the Oscars on tv.

Tom, I tracked the DVDs that were sent to Academy members from your posts here -- if my list is correct, "Happy-Go-Lucky" was not sent out. How much might this contribute to the lack of a nomination for Hawkins?

"Revolutionary Road was SNUBBED! This is ridiculous. Sam Mendes is one of the most gifted directors we have and both Winslet and DiCaprio gave Oscar-worthy performances."

For all we know Winslet's RR role made the Top 5, but she was ineligible since actors can't be nominated more than once in the same category. Silly rule btw. If you had two Oscar worthy performances, you should be praised for both.

I thought I was going to watch the Oscars for the first time in many years. Nope. Not when the snub The Dark Knight from Best Picture and Christopher Nolan from Best Director. Piss off Oscars!

-- The Dark Knight pretended it was a deep and profound analysis of evil and human character, but its message was utterly muddled and simplistic. In my books, that makes it pretentious.

-- I never said I've Loved You So Long should be nominated for best picture. I never said it was or wasn't pretentious. I said KST's acting in it deserved a nomination. If you wanna attack me, attack me for something I actually said, not for some fantasy idea of what offends you.

-- I made no comment on whether The Dark Knight was better than the movies that were nominated, so challenging me on whether it was better than Benjamin Button is irrelevant. I simply said I thought The Dark Knight was not deserving of a Best Picture nod. In fact, I totally hated Benjamin Button and thought it was insulting and empty product. If I had to choose, I would put TDK in the noms over Button, but I don't think either deserved it.

-- Why do people get so hot under the collar about TDK? Maybe because the only people who loved it are adolescents, with appropriately adolescent reactions to someone who doesn't like what they like??? If someone hated a movie I loved, I couldn't care less.

I'm glad that Dark Knight snubbed out.

I do agree some actors or actreses like Sally Hawkings or James Franco are subbed out for the wrong reasons.


The Dark Knight was an in-depth film. And one of the best in generations. Yet the Oscars refused to acknowledge it. They are simply jealous that 'TDK' made so much money. But seriously, 'Milk' and 'Benjamin' getting the nod and 'TDK' not? And you think only politicss has conspiracies.

Hey Tom,
Why don't you lose the overworked verb "snubbed"? The lack of a nomination is not an automatic snub.
The Dark Knight was not snubbed. It got nominations in every category it deserved--the techs. DiCaptrio was not snubbed--Four great performances plus one Big Movie Star were just voted in ahead of him. Ditto, Dev Patel was not snubbed--he lost out to two better performances.

Lose the "snubbed," please.

Revolutionary Road was SNUBBED! This is ridiculous. Sam Mendes is one of the most gifted directors we have and both Winslet and DiCaprio gave Oscar-worthy performances.

As a male in my 20s, I thought this might be the first year I would watch the Oscars since I was a kid since I thought there's no way they would snub a great movie like "The Dark Knight". Well I was wrong and the Academy has proved that the Oscars are no more than the Super Bowl for women and gay men. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay. I guess I'll just take my disposible income and watch Sportscenter that night.

BTW, there's no way in hell Benjamin Button was better than The Dark Knight.

hahaha Ive Loved You So Long is NOT pretensious?! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the dark knight was far and away the best film this year, you douche!

"pretentious mess of a movie"?

more like, thanks for wasting my time by posting such a pretentious waste of a comment.

Bravo to the Academy for refusing to be swayed by the box office and snubbing The Dark Knight. One great, iconic performance does not make a pretentious mess of a movie into a masterpiece.

But shame on the Academy for snubbing Sally Hawkins and Kristen Scott Thomas. I sincerely thought that Hawkins had a chance of sneaking up the middle between Streep and Winslet.


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