Two of America's least liked presidents were portrayed in Hollywood films this year with much liked performances. A day after one left office, the other gets a Best Picture nomination. Coincidence? Yes.
So my question to David Frost is how long do we have to wait for 'Frost/ W.' ? I know that won't happen for many reasons. One being that Bush doesn't really have much to admit. Unlike Nixon, the recent ex-president was making his mistakes publicly and operating on "bad intelligence." Another reason being that Nixon agreed to the interview primarily for the big paycheck, whereas Bush is probably far from exhausting his recession rations yet.
But back to the Oscars; years of perfecting the role in the stage version payed off for Frank Langella who was nominated for his excellent Dick (Nixon). I think Josh Brolin deserved a nomination for his spot-on Bush, even if the film was kind of weak. I thought both of these performances were far better than the over-hyped, steroid popping Micky Rourke. Brolin did get nominated in the supporting actor category for 'Milk' which I have yet to see. Seriously, when the hell did the older brother from 'Goonies' become such a good actor? I hadn't seen him in much else 'til his star suddenly skyrocketed to the top of the A-list in 2007. I looked at his filmography and he actually has been working pretty steadily all along, with supporting roles in b-movies. I recognized some of the titles, but couldn't tell you who directed any of them. In the last couple years, he's worked with Robert Rodriguez, the Coen brothers, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Gus Van Sant and Paul Haggis. All high profile films with meaty roles that Brolin pulls off well.
Anyway, Brolin is competing with Robert Downey Jr. for his role in 'Tropic Thunder.' This was one of the two surprises from the predictable as usual nominations, but it doesn't matter because Heath Ledger will win. The other surprise was Richard Jenkins in the best actor category for a film called 'The Visitor' which I hadn't heard of until today, but sounds pretty good. I think this was the only nominee in a major category who wasn't already nominated for a Golden Globe last month.
Did you know that the Academy Awards were started just as a way to market films? Did you know that Academy is made up of the same people making these films? This is why it's easy for them to ensure that most of the nominated films are still in theaters during the lead up to the ceremonies. We are in the midst of “Award Season” that conveniently begins just in time for Christmas, when we get all the films the studios know will win awards released at once. In fact I believe that the fan favourite summer blockbusters ('Wall-E' and 'The Dark Knight') were likely excluded from the best picture category in place of ones that are still in theatres (all 5). Most of these films are what I call 'pandering,' the worst offender being 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.' This is a not so short film inspired by an F. Scott Fitzgerald short story and adapted for the screen by Eric Roth, the same man that provided that service for 'Forrest Gump.' Please watch.
Now we can add 'most nominated film of the year' to the list of reasons why Benjamin Button is Forrest Gump re-hashed. I'd say the least deserving of these nominations would be the aforementioned scribe followed closely by Brad Pitt for his non-performance, but it doesn't matter because Mickey Rourke will win.
You can see a full list of the nominees here: