Defendor

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Peter Stebbings

DIRECTOR: Peter Stebbings

BUDGET: $3.5 million (estimated)

GROSS: $37,606

 

the last decade has seen the the super hero/comic book movie seemingly take over hollywood. every year they are releasing and rebooting more super heros and every company that can is delving into whatever comic vault they can find looking for a comic hero that they can turn into a movie (and hopefully a franchise of course).

as we all know, when a certain genre of film starts to get really big, what the next thing to happen is (after everyone trying to make a movie in said genre). first you get the parodies: Superhero Movie. then you get films that some might call post-modern parodies (although, i appreciate that that term, "post-modern" is somewhat overused and/or used incorectly).

these are films that take a reflective and self-aware look at the genre, deconstructing it while playing within it (the little pretentious man inside of me got very excited as i wrote that). the "everyman" superhero theme is a big one here and films like Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World come to mind. and then there is the film, Defendor.

woody harrelson plays arthur poppington. a man who comes to believe he is a superhero, Defendor. he has tasked himself with fighting the evil in the city as part of his large quest in search of "captain industry" - the man who killed his mother.

while films like Scott Pilgrim and Kick-Ass seem to be winking at us the whole time, as if to let us know how smart they are and how aware they are of what they are doing, Defendor never does that. and i say that to point out differences, not to, in any way, diminish those other films (Scott Pilgrim was on my best of the year list last year and Kick-Ass just missed the list).

what was unexpected about Defendor was how genuine it was. while there are some very funny moments, the movie is also quite dramatic, touching and real. from the questions of arthur's mental health, his friendship with a teenage girl and even down to the color scheme which plays in the darks and greys and cloudy skies. and these aren't comic book greys, or gothem city darks. it is just a cloudy city.

this is a concrete world. a world outside our window - not inside a comic book. and although there is the superhero element to it, peter stebbings (the writer and director) is more interested in the "hero" part then the "super.

Micmacs (Micmacs A Tire-Larigot)

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Guillaume Laurant

DIRECTOR: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

BUDGET: €27,000,000 (estimated)

GROSS: $1,260,917 (USA)

 

few directors take full advantage of the medium in which they work like jean-pierre jeunet. one of the premier directors around, jeunet is one of those film makers for me, whose name on a film is reason enough to go see it. and Micmacs is yet another example of him at the top of his game.

when he was a boy, bazil's father was killed by a landmine in morocco and years later by a completely random turn of events he himself was shot by a stray bullet. he survived but lost his job and ended up on the street - there are some brilliant scenes during this part of the film that harken back to classic silent film and both the scenes and the performance by dany boon (bazil) would make buster keaton and charlie chaplin proud.

while on the streets he meets an eccentric junk yard dealers who take him into their "family" (you got a contortionist, an ex convict, a math genius, a human cannonball, etc... you get the idea). one day, by complete chance, he stumbles upon the two weapons manufacturers that built the landmines that killed his dad and the bullets that hit him. with the help of his friends he begins an intricate plan to destroy them both...

while there are obviously many ways this story could be told. but, imagine it in the hands of the director of Delicatessen and Amelie. well, it is even better then you imagined. Jeunet is at the top of his game and the film is a brilliantly conceived and accomplished dark comedy/quirky/fable that is more than just a feast for your eyes. i have talked about this idea before, but it bears repeating in the context of this film...

unlike other film makers who can create a great visual experience, jeunet is able to bring all the pieces together to make great films. the characters and the script and the complete originality had me engaged and excited watching this film - it had my eyes and ears glued to the screen.

i was excited by every scene and i was excited to see where the film would take me... and speaking of the visual style: it isn't a gimmick here. it encompasses the characters and the story and the way the story is told. it all works together perfectly.

44 Inch Chest

YEAR: 2009

WRITER: Louis Mellis & David Scinto

DIRECTOR: Malcolm Venville

BUDGET: ?

GROSS: £152,171 (UK)

when colin (ray winstone) finds out his wife has been unfaithful, his friends kidnap the wife's lover and hold him captive so that the colin can get his revenge. so is the story of 44 Inch Chest. the film stars ray winstone, john hurt, tom wilkinson, stephen dillane and ian mcshane and they are all in top form here.

there are flashbacks and some "dream" sequences, but other than that the film all takes place in, and just outside, the room where they are holding the wife's lover - who they refer to as loverboy. the film isn't based on a play, but it really feels like it could be in how simple the locations are and how wonderfully talky it is.

what was funny (not funny ha ha, but funny interesting), was that after having watched the movie i read what some critics had said about it at the time and two of the most popular negative comments towards the movie were that it was talky and stagey. some even referred to it as, and i'm paraphrasing here, a group of brilliant actors trying to one-up each other and an actor's workshop...

do i disagree with those comments? not really. the difference is that for me they didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film, nor did i even see them as negatives that the film had to overcome to be good. i really enjoyed watching these guys act and listening to them talk. and the script (from the same two guys that wrote Sexy Beast) is worth listening to. it definitely wasn't perfect though. the dream/fantasy elements of the third act felt like they were a little out of place. i get why they were there, but it didn't feel like it completely worked.

i also read some complaints about the ending, but i have to say i really appreciated it. yes it is almost anti-climactic, but for me it was very satisfying.

Observe And Report

YEAR: 2009

WRITER & DIRECTOR: Jody Hill

BUDGET: $18 million (estimated)

GROSS: $23,930,794

 

films get lost in the shuffle for a variety of reasons. sometimes there just isn't any publicity so no one even knows it exists. sometimes the initial critical reviews are negative (right or wrong) and then there are films like Observe And Report.

this one had a some star power with seth rogan in the lead role and there was at least some publicity for it, as i remember seeing trailers for it many times on tv and in the theatre. now, i will say that critical response was pretty much 50/50, but i don't think that is why this film got lost. unfortunately, i think the reason it got lost was the film itself. stick with me here.....

Observe And Report is a dark comedy about a bi-polar mall security guard trying to bring down a flasher who is terrorizing the mall area.  he is also in love with anna ferris who works in the mall, lives at home with his drunk mother and is very territorial when the real cops (ray liotta) are brought in to investigate.

when the general public thinks of seth rogan they think Knocked Up and Superbad. so when they see a trailer with him playing a character in a dark comedy that is 180 degrees from his general perception they might not know what to make of it. also, there is that trailer...

this is not an easy film to make a trailer for. it made me think of a film like Worlds Greatest Dad - another dark comedy that is a little difficult to make a please-everyone trailer for. both films aren't simple set-up/punch line, or visual gag comedies that make for easy trailering. and finally, there might have been a little mall cop movie overload...

i have to admit that when i first saw the trailer for Observe And Report my first reaction was, "really? another mall cop movie?" as some of you may remember, earlier in 2009 there was released a film called Paul Blart: Mall Cop which did surprisingly big numbers. it was another Armageddon/Deep Impact and Dante's Peak/Volcano situation...

however, if i had given Observe And Report a chance, i would have seen that, not only was it not at all the same kind of mall cop comedy, but it was also really good (another thing that sets it apart from Paul Blart).

so, now it is your turn to give it a shot and catch one of the better dark comedies to come along in the last few years. and one of seth rogan's best performances as well.

2010 Oscar Predictions

WILL WIN are in bold 

SHOULD WIN (where i have an opinion) is underlined 

 Did Win are BIG 

 

 

 

MY SCORE: 17/24

well, the oscars have come and gone and i had an average go with my predictions this year. it wasn't my most impressive performance, but it wasn't awful either. where i messed up this year was with the shorts (animation, live action, documentary). normally i get at least one of those right and this time nothing. and then, missing both screenplay winners is just awful. but, i went  17/19 for the rest of the awards and a perfect on the top 6 categories which isn't bad.... so, how did you all do?

Best motion picture of the year
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up In the Air
Performance by an actress in a leading role
  • Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
  • Helen Mirren (The Last Station)
  • Carey Mulligan (An Education)
  • Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
  • Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia)
Performance by an actor in a leading role
  • Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
  • George Clooney (Up In the Air)
  • Colin Firth (A Single Man)
  • Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
  • Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
  • Matt Damon (Invictus)
  • Woody Harrellson (The Messenger)
  • Christopher Plummer (The Last Station)
  • Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
  • Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Penelope Cruz (Nine)
  • Vera Farmiga (Up In the Air)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart)
  • Anna Kendrick (Up In the Air)
  • Mo'Nique (Precious)
Best animated feature film of the year
  • Coraline
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Up
Best Documentary Short Subject
  • China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
  • The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
  • The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
  • Music by Prudence
  • Rabbit à la Berlin
Best Short Film (Animated)
  • French Roast
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
  • The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
  • Logorama
  • A Matter of Loaf and Death
Best Short Film (Live Action)
  • The Door
  • Instead of Abracadabra
  • Kavi
  • Miracle Fish
  • The New Tenants
Achievement in art direction
  • Avatar
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
  • Nine
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • The Young Victoria
Achievement in cinematography
  • Avatar, Mauro Fiore
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Bruno Delbonnel
  • The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd
  • Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson
  • The White Ribbon, Christian Berger
Achievement in costume design
  • Bright Star, Janet Patterson
  • Coco before Chanel, Catherine Leterrier
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Monique Prudhomme
  • Nine, Colleen Atwood
  • The Young Victoria, Sandy Powell
Achievement in directing
  • James Cameron (Avatar)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Lee Daniels (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman (Up In the Air)
Best documentary feature
  • Burma VJ
  • The Cove
  • Food, Inc.
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
  • Which Way Home
ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP
  • Il Divo, Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
  • Star Trek, Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
  • The Young Victoria, Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore
Achievement in film editing
  • Avatar, Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
  • District 9, Julian Clarke
  • The Hurt Locker, Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
  • Inglourious Basterds, Sally Menke
  • Precious, Joe Klotz
Best foreign language film of the year
  • Ajami
  • El Secreto De Sus Ojos
  • The Milk of Sorrow
  • A Prophet
  • The White Ribbon
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  • Avatar, James Horner
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox, Alexandre Desplat
  • The Hurt Locker, Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
  • Sherlock Holmes, Hans Zimmer
  • Up, Michael Giacchino
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  • "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
  • "Loin de Paname" from Paris 36 Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
  • "Take It All" from Nine Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
  • "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from Crazy Heart Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
Achievement in sound editing
  • Avatar, Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
  • The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson
  • Inglourious Basterds, Wylie Stateman
  • Star Trek, Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
  • Up, Michael Silvers and Tom Myers
Achievement in sound mixing
  • Avatar, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
  • The Hurt Locker, Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
  • Inglourious Basterds, Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
  • Star Trek, Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson
Achievement in visual effects
  • Avatar, Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
  • District 9, Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
  • Star Trek, Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton
Adapted screenplay
  • Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (District 9)
  • Nick Hornby (An Education)
  • Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche (In the Loop)
  • Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious)
  • Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (Up In the Air)
Original screenplay
  • Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman (The Messenger)
  • Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man)
  • Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy (Up)

Best And Worst Of 2009

looking back, 2009 was a good year overall. however, that overall positive average comes from a rather okay to disappointing big blockbusters and general cinema-near-you fair, to a good to great smaller film and surprise blockbuster year...

the summer blockbuster season was generally a disappointment with films like Watchmen, Terminatore and Transformers all ending up on the "worst of" list. and how can we forget Avatar (i know it wasn't a summer release). sure, it was a huge sucess money-wise and with many critics, but it wasn't a good movie... there were some successesthough, like Star Trek, Inglourious Basterds and District 9 - but even then, you look at the budget for District 9 at $30 million and that is almost independent film budget level.

on the other hand, many of the smaller/foreign/independent/less-publicized films that grabbed my interest ended up living up to expectations - which is often not the case (with the exception of the painfully disappointing The Limits Of Control of course).

like i always say: i can't see everything. so, now is time to list some of the films that have been making the rounds on other list, and garnering awards nominations, that i hadn't seen when i put mine together. they include:

Crazy Heart, Up In The Air, State Of Play, Bright Star, A Single Man, Moon, Anvil: The Story Of Anvil, The Cove, Public Enemies, Me And The Orson Wells, Food Inc....

with all that being said, let the listing begin......

DON'T FORGET (BEST)

1.  Inglourious Basterds
2A Serious Man
3Humpday
4Hunger
5500 Days Of Summer
6.  In The Loop
7.  Distric 9 & I'm Not Your Friend
8.  Fantastic Mr. Fox
9World's Greatest Dad
10.Bronson

don't forget (honorable mention): Up, Where The Wild Things Are, Away We Go, Precious, Star Trek, I Love You Man, Tyson, Adventurland, The White Ribbon, FAQ About Time Travel

 

FORGET (WORST)

if you want to read some short discussions on these crappy films, you can see a write-up on some of them at www.notgoodmovies.com 

1.   Terminator Salvation
2.   Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
3.   Surrogates
4.   The Limits Of Control
5.   G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
6.   Watchmen
7.   Angels And Demons
8.   The Invention Of Lying
9.   Gamer
10. Avatar

World's Greatest Dad

Year: 2009

Writer & Director: Bobcat Goldthwait

Budget: ?

Gross: $219,719

if you were asking yourself, "when is robin williams going to make a great comedy again" then it must be because you haven't yet seen World's Greatest Dad. and you wouldn't be alone considering how little money this film made at the box office. but, that's why i'm here folks. to tell you about great movies like this that not only have you probably not seen, but might not have even heard of.

World's Greatest Dad is a dark comedy from the mind of bobcat goldthwait who you might remember from his role in three of the Police Academy movies or from his infamous appearance on the Tonight Show with jay leno back in 1994 when on impulse he set the couch on fire. or maybe you are familiar with his first film, 1991s Shakes The Clown? no? well, it doesn't matter, cause based on that resume one would probably not be expecting much from World's Greatest Dad. but, much is exactly what we got (and i mean that in a very good way).

robin williams plays a high school poetry teacher who wants to be a writer. he has written multiple novels and had them all rejected. then, through an unlucky turn of events he gets his wish, but the way he gets it might not be something he can deal with.

yes, i know i am being vague. that is on purpose. and, anyone who decides to check out this film should know as little about the story as possible going in.

watching the film and the way the dark humor was presented made me think of todd solondz and films like Happiness and Welcome To The Dollhouse. films that will make you laugh and will make you a little uncomfortable as well (although "Dollhouse" and "Happiness" more so then "Dad"). rather then laugh out loud satire, these movies take on ideas and subjects from a slightly different angle. i guess we could call it dark satire, but i'm not sure if that would be mixing my metaphors so-to-speak.

if your only images of robin williams these days are from films like Old Dogs, Licence To Wed and the Night At The Museum series and was wondering what had happened to a guy that has been in some great films in the past... well, allow World's Greatest Dad to restore your faith in him and his ability and willingness to step away from the middle of the road and explore what is beyond the curb.

A Serious Man

Year: 2009

Writer and Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Budget: $7 000 000 (estimated)

Gross: $3 196 496 (as of October 25th, 2009)

 

in 2007 the coen brothers gave us No Country For Old Men which was a masterpiece and made the number one spot on my best of the year list for that year. then last year they gave us Burn After Reading which was kind of fun and entertaining, but ultimately disappointing and unsuccessful as a complete film (and ended up at number 10 on my worst of list last year). this year they have given us A Serious Man and i am very happy to tell you that this one has the coen brothers back on track.

A Serious Man is an incredible film and one that has put itself in the running for best movie of the year in my books.

what's interesting is that, just like Burn After Reading, A Serious Man is a little random at times, can be confusing to anyone trying to make sense out of all the various symbols and ideas as well as the opening prologue and closing image. and yet, where Burn After Reading left me empty and unsatisfied, A Serious Man blew me away.

the funny thing is, i'm not sure that everything is supposed to make sense or connect to each other in some grand meaning beyond the general ideas. maybe everything isn't supposed to "make sense" in that way?

there is a great scene in the film in which the main character is talking to a rabbi, trying to get some help with his life that is falling apart. the rabbi tells him this story about a dentist who saw something on a patients teeth once and became obsessed with figuring out what it meant. when the story ends the man asks the rabbi what ended up happening and the rabbi basically responds, "nothing. he just went on with his life."

using that story as a metaphor for a reading of the film, one could take away that not every symbol or moment is connected with everything else and that there aren't always answers to the questions. sometimes there are just more questions (like the last moment of the film which left me exhilarated, but also left me with more questions rather than answers).

however, as i say that, i almost want to take it back, because i just have a hard time thinking that the coen brothers would do that. they are famous for their meticulousness in their film making (they storyboard every single frame of their films) and so a film without answers or a well though out meaning to every single image and scene seems almost silly to say. but, i said it.

i would tell you what the film was about, but that wouldn't do it justice. the basic plot outline is actually rather regular and uninteresting if narrowed down to a sentence or two. where this film becomes the magnificent thing that it is is in the execution of it all and in the brilliant writing that takes the simple outline to places that one would never imagine had they been given said plot summary and told to create a story out of it.

these guys are film makers at the top of their game. the camera work, the editing, the writing, the use of sound and music and imagery. it is all excellent and given their past films, it is not a surprise how good they can be.

2009 Oscar Predictions

 here i go again...

Will Win: Bold

Did Win: Big

 

 

 

MY SCORE: 19/24

 

BEST PICTURE
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Milk"
"Slumdog Millionaire"
"Frost/Nixon"


BEST DIRECTOR

Gus Van Sant ("Milk")
Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon")
David Fincher ('Benjamin Button')
Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire")
Stephen Daldry ("The Reader")

BEST ACTRESS
Kate Winslet ("The Reader")
Angelina Jolie ("Changeling")
Melissa Leo "(Frozen River")
Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"
Meryl Streep ("Doubt")

BEST ACTOR
Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler")
Brad Pitt ("The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button")
Sean Penn ("Milk")
Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon")
Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor")

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams ("Doubt")
Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona")
Viola Davis ("Doubt")
Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler")
Taraji P Henson ('Benjamin Button')

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Phillip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt")
Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road"
Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder")
Josh Brolin ("Milk")
Heath Ledger "(The Dark Knight")

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"Waltz With Bashir" (Israel)
"Revanche" (Austria)
"The Class" (France)
"Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" (Germany)
"Departures" (Japan)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
“Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
“Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
“In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
“Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
“The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

BEST EDITING
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
“Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
“Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

BEST SCORE
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.),Alexandre Desplat
“Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman 

BEST ART DIRECTION
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Changeling"
"The Duchess"
"Revolutionary Road"
"The Dark Knight"

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
“The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
“Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
“Revolutionary Road”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

BEST ANIMATED FILM
"Wall-E"
"Bolt"
"Kung Fu Panda"


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
“Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
“The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
“Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
“Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl


BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
"The Conscience of Nhem En"
      A Farallon Films Production    Steven Okazaki
"The Final Inch"
      A Vermilion Films Production    Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
"Smile Pinki"
      A Principe Production    Megan Mylan

"The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"
      A Rock Paper Scissors Production    Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

 
BEST MAKEUP
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz


BEST ANIMATED SHORT
“La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
“Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
“Oktapodi” (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand

“Presto” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland

“This Way Up”, A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
“Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
“New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
“The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh

“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank

 

BEST SOUNDS EDITING
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
“Wanted” (Universal),Wylie Stateman

 

BEST SOUND
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick

“Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
“WALL-E” (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
“Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
“The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
“Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan