Other Notable Films from 2008
The Dark Knight
Rachel Getting Married
Waltz with Bashir
Let the Right One In
Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
2008 Nominees in Review
Slumdog Millionaire: B- (Won Best Picture)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: C
The Reader: C-
2008 jumps out to me as one of the weakest fields in modern history, with no great films and a lot of mediocre to merely above average ones. What makes it so much worse is that there were some really obvious alternative choices that would have made for a much better field-The Wrestler, WALL-E and The Dark Knight (even if I think Batman Begins is equally good or better) are all far more inspired nominees than Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Reader; these above listed films (mainly WALL-E and The Dark Knight) are pretty much the reason why the field expanded the next year. However, that shouldn’t take away from Milk and Slumdog Millionaire (a fair choice for Best Picture given the nominees) being good movies that deserved their spots.
For 2009, the first year with 10 nominees since 1943: James Cameron breaks his own record for highest grossing film of all-time; the highest grossing sports-drama ever; its title is a reference to District 6, an area in Cape Town, South Africa that in 1966 was demolished to make room for a whites-only neighborhood; Rosamund Pike plays a ditz in this film, but in real life ironically did exactly what the main character did: study English at Oxford; Kathryn Bigelow became the first (and currently only) woman to win Best Director for this movie; Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for playing a Nazi “Jew-Hunter”, ironically enough has a Rabbi for a son; the first Best Picture nominee by an African-American director; a Coen brothers film that takes place in their hometown of St. Louis Park, Minnesota and during the period they were growing up; the first 3D animated film to be nominated for Best Picture; and George Clooney was nominated for playing a character named Ryan Bingham-the same year a real person named Ryan Bingham won an Oscar.