2009 Oscar: Snubs & Surprises

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting alter-ego, Batman Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and his crime fighting alter-ego, Batman

As Forest Whitaker and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis finished announcing the nominees for the 81st Academy Awards in Los Angeles Thursday morning, many were left scratching their heads about movies and actors that were ignored, while some nominees got the surprise of their lifetime.

The most glaring nomination omission has to be “The Dark Knight” in the Best Picture and Best Director category. Though Heath Ledger received a Best Supporting Actor nod, the movie and director Christopher Nolan were left out. This comes a surprise to many as the movie has been honored by Critics’ Choice Awards and the Golden Globes – along with earning spots on multiple top films of 2008 lists. Nolan has also been nominated for a DGA Award from the Director Guild of America.

Also missing from the Best Picture category was Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Revolutionary Road,” which has been highly touted and honored this awards season. The drama earned a Golden Globe nomination and acting win for Kate’s role as a tortured housewife in 1950s Connecticut suburbs. Kate and Leo also both failed to get Oscar acting nods for the Sam Mendes-directed drama.

Kate and Leo might have been left on the side of the Oscar “Road,” but co-star Michael Shannon earned a nod for Best Supporting Actor, which caused audible cheers and screams of excitement from the crowd at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Access Hollywood’s Scott “Movie” Mantz weighed in on Michael Shannon’s nomination.

“I was very happy to see that Revolutionary Road’s Michael Shannon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor,” Mantz said. “He’s only on screen for 10 minutes, but he makes his mark with an impression that’s unforgettable.”

Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins was passed over for her amazing work in the Mike Leigh-directed “Happy-Go-Lucky.”

Though Oscar fav Clint Eastwood did not receive the congratulatory phone call for his directing or acting work in “Gran Torino,” the Hollywood legend’s directing work with Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” was honored in the form of a Best Actress nod.

The Oscar good news continued at the Pitt-Jolie house, with Angelina’s partner, Brad Pitt, also getting a nod for Best Actor in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Brad’s romantic fantasy about a man aging in reverse was the big winner Thursday, racking up an impressive 13 nominations — but came up one short for Brad’s co-star, Cate Blanchett, who was passed over by the Academy for her role as Brad’s leading lady.

Newcomer Dev Patel, who earned a SAG nomination for “Slumdog Millionaire,” was also left out Thursday morning, but his movie and director Danny Boyle did earn noms.

In a small show of more diversity, two African-America actresses, Viola Davis ( “Doubt”) and Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), were both nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.

On the music front, Bruce Springsteen was passed over for Best Original Song for “The Wrestler,” which shares the same name as the Mickey Rourke drama. Bruce won a Golden Globe for this song earlier this month.

Oscar host Hugh Jackman’s “Australia” failed to receive hardly any award season love this year, but the movie did eek out a single nomination for Best Costume.

Fans will find out if the Oscar nomination surprises continue when the 81st Academy Awards are presented live on February 22 on ABC from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.

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