Oscar List: Robert Downey, Jr is In, Detroit Snubbed!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its list of nominated films, this morning.

On the list for the 81st Oscars are some obvious picks -- Sean Penn in "Milk", Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" and the numerous nods for "Benjamin Button".

One shocker is how well the voters liked "Benjamin Button" -- 13 nominations overall. Also, Clint Eastwood received a shutout for his work on Detroit lensed "Gran Torino". Speaking to some critics, they felt Clint would get something for the film because it is said to be his last acting role. But not all is lost for Mr. Eastwood, his other film in 2008, "Changeling" received multiple nominations -- but none for the 78-year-old mulit-talent and multi-award winner.

But the real shocker on the list -- for me -- is that the Academy gave a nomination to this guy for this role:

If I'm correct, that would make Robert Downey Jr. the first actor nominated for a role featuring an actor in "racially incorrect" make-up. But, what's interesting about Downey in "Tropic Thunder" is how he uses that characterisation to mock the pomposity of Hollywood types. Check out this video for more on his feelings about doing the blackface role:

Beyond Downey -- who will probably lose out to Heath Ledger -- it was good to see Mickey Rourke for "The Westler" on the list. Too bad the film itself only received two nominations -- Rourke and co-star Marisa Tomei.

That's just my quick observation of the list. I'm looking forward to what my fellow "Film Forum" hosts on WDET, Jeff and Corey, have to say about it.

Here's the full list:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor”

Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon”

Sean Penn in “Milk”

Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Josh Brolin in “Milk”

Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder”

Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt”

Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight”

Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married”

Angelina Jolie in “Changeling”

Melissa Leo in “Frozen River”

Meryl Streep in “Doubt”

Kate Winslet in “The Reader”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in “Doubt”

Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Viola Davis in “Doubt”

Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler”

Best animated feature film of the year


“Kung Fu Panda”


Achievement in art direction


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“The Duchess”

“Revolutionary Road”

Achievement in cinematography

“Changeling” Tom Stern

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Claudio Miranda

“The Dark Knight” Wally Pfister

“The Reader” Chris Menges and Roger Deakins

“Slumdog Millionaire” Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in costume design


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Duchess”


“Revolutionary Road”

Achievement in directing

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” David Fincher

“Frost/Nixon” Ron Howard

“Milk” Gus Van Sant

“The Reader” Stephen Daldry

“Slumdog Millionaire” Danny Boyle

Best documentary feature

“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath

“Encounters at the End of the World” Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser

“The Garden” Scott Hamilton Kennedy

“Man on Wire” James Marsh and Simon Chinn

“Trouble the Water” Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Best documentary short subject

“The Conscience of Nhem En” Steven Okazaki

“The Final Inch” Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant

“Smile Pinki” Megan Mylan

“The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306” Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

Achievement in film editing

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

“The Dark Knight” Lee Smith

“Frost/Nixon” Mike Hill and Dan Hanley

“Milk” Elliot Graham

“Slumdog Millionaire” Chris Dickens

Best foreign language film of the year

“The Baader Meinhof Complex” Germany

“The Class” France

“Departures” Japan

“Revanche” Austria

“Waltz with Bashir” Israel

Achievement in makeup

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Alexandre Desplat

“Defiance” James Newton Howard

“Milk” Danny Elfman

“Slumdog Millionaire” A.R. Rahman

“WALL-E” Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E”, Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel

“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”, Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar

“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire”, Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best motion picture of the year

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”



“The Reader”

“Slumdog Millionaire”

Best animated short film

“La Maison en Petits Cubes” Kunio Kato

“Lavatory - Lovestory” Konstantin Bronzit

“Oktapodi” Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand

“Presto” Doug Sweetland

“This Way Up” Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best live action short film

“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” Reto Caffi

“Manon on the Asphalt” Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont

“New Boy” Steph Green and Tamara Anghie

“The Pig” Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh

“Spielzeugland (Toyland)” Jochen Alexander Freydank

Achievement in sound editing

“The Dark Knight”

“Iron Man”

“Slumdog Millionaire”



Achievement in sound mixing

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“Slumdog Millionaire”



Achievement in visual effects

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“The Dark Knight”

“Iron Man”

Adapted screenplay

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

“Doubt” “Frost/Nixon”

“The Reader”

“Slumdog Millionaire”

Original screenplay

“Frozen River”


“In Bruges”



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