At the tender age of 13, he wowed audiences with “Empire of the Sun.” Since then, he has shown us just how dirty a Wall Street employee can get. He dropped 60 pounds to portray Trevor Reznik, but nearly doubled that loss to become a symbol and save the city of Gotham. In 2007, he magnificently portrayed an American pilot struggling to survive in Vietnam and helped save the western genre with 3:10 to Yuma. But even after those great performances, Christian Bale has been snubbed once again of an Oscar nomination. But ol’ Batman isn’t the only one.
There were plenty of Oscar snubs this season, and some really surprising ones at that. One of the more noteworthy films is Sean Penn’s “Into the Wild.” After making itself known at other award shows, “Wild” squeaked into the Oscars with merely Best Supporting Actor (Hal Holbrook) and Best Editing nominations. Not bad, but not very good considering the noise it was making elsewhere.
And as mentioned, Christian Bale received nothing, but “3:10 to Yuma” managed to snag a couple nominations. Bale’s performance in “Yuma” was solid, but his portrayal of Deiter Dengler, the aforementioned German-American pilot shot down over Laos right before the Vietnam War in “Rescue Dawn,” is what should have gone for at least some sort of consideration.
Another surprise was the exclusion of “The Simpsons Movie” for Best Animated Feature. It is no surprise that “Ratatoullie” was nominated (it will probably win), and neither was the “Persepolis” nomination, but “Surf’s Up” over “The Simpsons”? Excuse any thoughts of penguin bias.
The nominations for Best Song were met with some frowns as well. While there is no definitive snub, does “Enchanted” really need three of the five nominations?
“Hairspray” may have been an adaptation (or would it be a double adaptation?) but still presented two new songs, “Ladies’ Choice” and “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go).” Both are equally able to contend with “Enchanted,” but would have some trouble with the strong “Falling Slowly” from “Once.”
Denzel Washington also seems to be an outcast this Oscar season. “American Gangster” was one of last fall’s biggest films, for both its stars and director, but wasn’t the most impressive when compared to others. Washington’s role was quite good, but considering he’s already won for playing the villain (“Training Day”), it wasn’t likely the Academy would give him another shot. His other big movie, “The Great Debaters,” also seemed to block any nomination. As talk about “American Gangster” heated up, this snuck in towards the end of 2007 and was essentially the nail in the coffin, despite the fact that “Debaters” was pretty good.
Tim Burton also got another snub for his “Sweeny Todd” effort. Considerably well done with no previous experience to call from, Burton could have easily been nominated over Jason Reitman. And sticking with Sweeny, Helena Bonahm Carter should have been nominated over Ruby Dee.
And of course, there is always a deserving snub. This year’s would be Jonny Greenwood.Greenwood, the Radiohead guitarist and composer, penned a hauntingly beautiful score for “There Will Be Blood.” Many were surprised, however, when it was discovered that parts of the score were borrowed from other compositions, thus outing the film’s score (as the nomination states, it has to be original).
Perhaps these snubs will see some justice at some point in time, but for now they can only sit back and watch the nominees duke it out Feb. 24. And, speaking of the other nominees, make sure to check back next week to see our picks for the big show.