Thursday, February 12, 2009

2008 Leaman Awards: Major Award Nominations and Winners

Here is the final part to the 2008 Leaman Awards. Thanks for reading and Enjoy!

Best Supporting Actress
And the nominees are…


- Cate Blanchett The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Viola Davis Doubt
- Rosario Dawson Seven Pounds
- Rosemarie Dewitt Rachel Getting Married
- Marisa Tomei The Wrestler

Wnner: Rosemarie Dewitt Rachel Getting Married
Runner-Up: Viola Davis Doubt

Comments: It would have been natural for Rosemarie Dewitt to play her character with a little more unbalance and moral self-righteousness. Her sister is such an selfish hog of attention, that its refreshing to see Dewitt bring a level of restraint and calm to her character. There are moments that Dewitt gives us a glimpse into the bubbling anger underneath her surface, but its in her gracious moments that her characters is truly defined.


Best Supporting Actor
And the nominees are…

- Michael Angarano Snow Angels
- Aaron Eckhart The Dark Knight
- Bill Irwin Rachel Getting Married
- Heath Ledger The Dark Knight
- Gary Oldman The Dark Knight

Winner: Heath Ledger The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: Gary Oldman The Dark Knight

Comments: What can be said? Ledger's Joker is spectacular. He is more than a villain, more than a nemesis for Batman to fight, Ledger embodies a Joker that in the end comes to represent chaos itself, yet remaining completely human. Ledger transcends his character to create something of an archetype, a symbol of evil. This role will be remembered for a long time to come. It’s simply iconic.


Best Actress
And the nominees are…

- Kate Beckinsale Snow Angels
- Anne Hathaway Rachel Getting Married
- Meryl Streep Doubt
- Naomi Watts Funny Games
- Kate Winslet Revolutionary Road

Winner: Meryl Streep Doubt
Runner-Up: Kate Winslet Revolutionary Road

Comments: There are those who might charge me with favoritism and claim that I’m biased; well that may be true, but Streep wins this award here not because of my bias, but because I believe she honestly outshone her peers. To watch Streep’s performance as Sister Aloysius is to watch a master class of acting and characterization.This is one of Streep’s finest performances.


Best Actor
And the nominees are…

- Clint Eastwood Gran Torino
- Leonardo DiCaprio Revolutionary Road
- Phillip Seymour Hoffman Doubt
- Frank Langella Frost/Nixon
- Mickey Rourke The Wrestler

Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio Revolutionary Road
Runner-Up: Philip Seymour Hoffman Doubt

Comments: As much as I enjoyed Hoffman’s performance opposite Meryl Streep (one of his finest) in Doubt, the best male lead performance of 2008 belongs to DiCaprio. His performance runs the gamut of emotions and winds up being the true anchor of the film. Yes, there are scenes of grand drama, but there is quite a bit of great subtle acting going on as well. Cograts to DiCaprio for his first Leaman Award.


Best Ensemble Acting
And the nominees are...

- The Dark Knight
(Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman)

- Doubt
(Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis)

- Frost/Nixon
(Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfayden, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones)

- In Bruges
(Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemency Poesy)

- Rachel Getting Married
(Ann Hathaway, Rosemarie Dewitt, Mather Zickel, Bill Irwin, Debra Winger, Jerome Le Page, Anisa George, Anna Deavere Smith)

Winner: The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: Doubt

Comments: There may have been other comic-book superhero films with just as credible casts, but never has a superhero film ever given its cast such meaty roles to play. The cast doesn’t waste the opportunity. Ledger’s Joker, Eckhart’s Harvey Dent, Bale’s Batman, and most surprisingly Oldman’s Gordon are all award worthy performances. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal all have great moments and give memorable performances. The Dark Knight’s ensemble doesn’t just give us great performances, they give us great characters.


Best Director
And the nominees are…

- Jonathan Demme Rachel Getting Married
- Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight
- Stefan Ruzowitsky The Counterfeiters
- John Patrick Shanley Doubt
- The Wachowski Brothers Speed Racer

Winners: Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: The Wachowski Brothers Speed Racer

Comments: The mastermind behind the most ambitious undertaking of the year. Rescuing the Batman franchise from purgatory, Nolan’s unique and focused vision single-handedly brought The Dark Knight to the pinnacle of superheroes. Not content to fashion a modest follow-up to his moderately successful Batman Begins, Nolan has brought us what many have called The Godfather II of our generation.


Best Picture

And the Nominees are…

- The Dark Knight
- Doubt
- Kung Fu Panda
- Rachel Getting Married
- Speed Racer


Winner: The Dark Knight
Runner-Up: Rachel Getting Married

Comments: (Excepted from my original review of The Dark Knight)
“It has been some time since I've walked out of a theater with a mix of depression, hope, exhaustion, admiration, and trepidation. Let me get this out of the way now, in my estimation, The Dark Knight is the best Super-Hero film of all-time. The experience of watching the film is something similar to allowing your emotions to run a marathon. Its a breathtaking and brutal affair, and I can't wait to do it again.
What The Dark Knight has accomplished is remarkable. Not only has The Dark Knight surpassed its genre mates, it has obliterated them. There are all the hallmarks of the superhero comic book genre here, but what Nolan provides us with, elevates the film into an epic crime saga between Greek Gods, where everything has implications not only for our characters but for humanity as well. The ideas of a costumed crusader and a villain with a flair for theatricality is squeezed for everything its worth. From these ideas spring a deep pool of themes ranging from what a hero really is, hope vs. despair, anarchy vs. civilization, and the basic goodness of humanity Its as if the entire genre has come of age in one film. One of the movie's tag lines is "Welcome to a World Without Limits", and it seems Nolan has taken that to heart.”



2008: A Year in Review
"Still Worth It"

It would be easy to try and paint 2008 as a bad year for film and then use this space to wax eloquently about all the major disappointments that 2008 brought. While it is true that disappointments were to be had in 2008 (something that I will get into a bit later), the film year still had plenty of solid films, lovely surprises, iconic moments, and at least one genuine cultural masterpiece. While some years may prove more bountiful than the next, I find that even in a comparatively “down” year like 2008, it’s still worth it.
My Top Ten of 2008 is an odd list, because I would never have predicted that nine of the titles would find themselves there. Most of my favorites of the year were films that I neither expected to like nor really sought out, and that translated into a very odd year for me. By the halfway point this year I had seen The Dark Knight, Kung Fu Panda, Speed Racer, and The Counterfeiters; and I was already feeling disappointed about the year. Then came Oscar season and it was a real letdown for me as well. Films like Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Synecdoche New York, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Milk, and others were all either average, or simply busts for me. In their place I found small gems like Traitor which came out of nowhere to become my favorite contemporary “War on Terror” film. A chance viewing of Role Models at a dollar theatre opened my eyes to the most underrated comedy of the year. Probably the biggest surprise of the Oscar season was the little talked about Rachel Getting Married. Here is a film that exudes honesty and reality, and eschews the typical dramatics that typify Hollywood dramas. These welcome surprises are always an enjoyable aspect of my film watching.
Running through many of the year’s best films was the common theme of “how do you respond when facing a desperate and seemingly hopeless decision”; Batman faced the hopeless chaos of the Joker, Rachel’s sister extended grace and love to an undeserving sister, a self-righteous nun searches for certainty in a doubtful world, a young racer wonders whether to continue racing despite knowing the fix is in. It’s a powerful and potent theme, and the strength and wisdom that each character displayed made for some truly great moments in cinema.
As I stated above, 2008 is a disappointing year in cinema for me. In fact, I would say this is the worst overall year for me since 2001. However, its years like this that help me to re-consider why I spend all this time watching films and studying them as well. Upon reflection, even in these low point years, it’s all worth it.

- The Part-Time Critic: Kyle Leaman


Films with Nominations

- 12 Nominations: The Dark Knight

- 8 Nominations: Rachel Getting Married, Speed Racer

- 7 Nominations: Doubt

- 4 Nominations: Kung Fu Panda

- 3 Nominations: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Slumdog Millionaire

- 2 Nominations: The Counterfeiters, Defiance, The Fall, Frost/Nixon, Funny Games, In Bruges, Jumper, Revolutionary Road, Seven Pounds, Snow Angels, Synecdoche Ne York, Traitor, Wall *E, The Wrestler

- 1 Nominations: Bolt, Changeling, The Duchess, Gran Torino, Horton Hears a Who!, Iron Man, The Other Boleyn Girl, Quantum of Solace, Role Models, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Star Wars: Clone Wars


Films with Runner-Ups

- 4 Runner-Ups: Doubt

- 2 Runner-Ups: The Dark Knight, Rachel Getting Married

- 1 Runner-Up: Bolt, The Duchess, The Fall, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, In Bruges, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire, Speed Racer, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Speed Racer, Wall *E


Films with Multiple Wins

- 8 Wins: The Dark Knight

- 2 Wins: Rachel Getting Married, Speed Racer

- 1 Win: Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, The Fall, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Kung Fu Panda, Rachel Getting Married, Revolutionary Road

Bertram Pincus: Did anything usual happen during my operation? Surgeon: You... uh... died for seven minutes. Bertram Pincus: I died! For seven minutes! Surgeon: We brought you right back. People die all the time. Bertram Pincus: Yeah, but it's usually just once at…

The End.

2 comments:

micahmcmillan said...

Where's the award for most likely to seduce the judge? I know there's something fishy going on with you and Meryl...

Kyle Leaman said...

My argument against actor bias is this: Philip Seymour Hoffman is my favorite male actor right now, hands down. He was nominated twice in the Leaman awards this year and lost both times. In fact, I am at work right now so I can't check my archives, but I think this is the first Leaman Award that I've given to Meryl. All that to say, me hopes to be as objective as possible, but its not easy when she is soooo great!

P.S. Now that I think of it, I think she won in 02' for Sup. Actress in Adaptation. "I'm trying to make a dialtone!"

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