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Oscar Watch '08: Miramax maxes out while the Mouse gets skunked

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Oscar Watch '08: Miramax maxes out while the Mouse gets skunked

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"Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day ..."

-- lyric from "The Man I Love"
by George & Ira Gershwin

Well, if you worked on the Miramax Films side of the Mouse House, Tuesday definitely was a "good news day." Disney's art house arm snagged Academy Award nominations for four of its most recent releases. With "No Country for Old Men" (Which Miramax co-produced with Paramount Vantage) earning eight nods:

  • Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Achievement in Directing
  • Achievement in Cinematography
  • Achievement in Film Editing
  • Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • Adapted Screenplay

While "There Will Be Blood" (Which -- just to further confuse the situation -- Paramount Vantage co-produced with Miramax) also received eight nominations: 

  • Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
  • Achievement in Directing
  • Achievement in Art Direction
  • Achievement in Cinematography
  • Achievement in Film Editing
  • Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Adapted Screenplay

While "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (A Miramax Films / Pathé Renn co-production) scored four nominations:

  • Achievement in Directing
  • Achievement in Cinematography
  • Achievement in Film Editing
  • Adapted Screenplay

While Ben Affleck's directorial debut -- "Gone Baby Gone" -- earned a single nomination for Amy Ryan's performance in a supporting role.

Which -- you have to admit -- is a pretty impressive performance by Miramax Films. Particularly when you take into consideration the meager number of nominations that the Walt Disney Pictures side of the studio received this year. 

Copyright 2008 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
& ABC, Inc. All Rights Reserved

In spite of what Mouse House officials had been hoping for, there was no Best Actress nod for Amy Adams' highly praised performance in "Enchanted." Nor was there a Best Picture nomination for the best reviewed film of the year, "Ratatouille."

Mind you, it's not like these two Mouse House productions totally got ignored. After all, "Enchanted" did receive three "Best Song" nominations for:

  • "Happy Working Song"
  • "So Close"
  • "That's How You Know"

Which should make composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz happy.

As for "Ratatouille," Pixar's latest did get a "Best Animated Feature" nod. And Brad Bird should take some consolation in the fact that his last minute overhaul of Jan Pinkava & Jim Capobianco's story did manage to snag a "Best Original Screenplay" nomination. And let's not forget about Michael Giacchino being nominated for his work on "Ratatouille" 's score.

But beyond that ... The Walt Disney Pictures side of the studio had to settle for a number of tech-related nominations. With "Ratatouille" potentially being recognized for its Achievements in Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. And "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is in the running for both a Best Makeup and a Best Visual Effects Oscar.

But if I had to single out Disney's biggest disappointment today ... It would probably have to be the lack of "Best Animated Short Film" nomination for Walt Disney Animation Studios' "How to Hook Up Your Home Theater."

That "Home Theater" got no recognition whatsoever from the Academy has to be truly disappointing for the folks at WDAS. Given that this new Goofy short (along with -- of course -- "Enchanted") was supposed to signal that hand-drawn animation was making a comeback at the Mouse Factory. The fact that Academy voters didn't feel that this obviously significant development was worthy of acknowledgment is ... Well, to say the least, troubling for toon fans.

Of course, what's really troubling for Walt Disney Company officials about this year's Oscars isn't the number of nominations that the Walt Disney Pictures side of the studio received. But -- rather -- what's going to happen on February 24th. Which is when ABC's supposed to be broadcasting the 80th annual Academy Awards live from the Kodak Theatre. Should the Writer's Strike still be dragging on at that point, it's expected that the actors will still honor those picket lines. Which means that this year's Oscar broadcast could wind up be the same sort of stripped-down snoozefest that last week's Golden Globes show was. Which was something of a ratings disaster for NBC.

Copyright 2008 The Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences & ABC, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

So just to recap here ... If you work for the Miramax Films side of the Mouse House, Tuesday was a very "good news day" indeed.

If -- on the other hand -- you work for the Walt Disney Pictures side of the studio and/or ABC ... Well, let's just say that Blue Monday arrived one day late.

Your thoughts?

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  • Grow up, Jim. This is a non-story

  • The rat was a long shot for best picture nod anyways...  Keep in mind the reasons why the best animated picture category was created... I was suprised about Goofy but not about Amy Adams the movie  while very good , was not oscar worthy

  • Hey Jim, glad to see you sticking up for Ratatouille.  I'm similarly disappointed with its failure to obtain a well-deserved Best Picture nod.  Overall, I'm glad that the Best Animated Feature Oscar exists, but I'm angry that it's stopping excellent animated films from Best Picture contention.

    A slight correction to your article: Lifted was not nominated this year because it was nominated last year (it lost to a Norwegian short called The Danish Poet).

  • I am quite surprised that with the amount of quality films out there, some people were shocked (or a similar feeling) that Ratatouille was not nominated for Best Picture.  C'mon... it was a good movie but not THAT good.  Another question is what happened to Meet the Robinsons?

  • I'm glad to hear I'm not in the minority when I say I'm not shocked with the nominations. It's too bad that a non-nomination appearantly means your movie was bad. I completely disagree. I loved Rat, I saw Enchanted 3 times, but neither of them were best picture worthy. Rat is deserving of the animated best picture and that's it.

    Does anybody other than the studios really care that much about the Oscars? It's a reason for a party and then some watercooler discussions... that's about it in my book. I would think everybody with a brain realizes that these awards things are all political anyway. Money = Award.

    Disney made some great films this year. Films that will be favorites for years to come and make them tons of money. It's tough enough to put out good quality movies... and Disney did that, but it's even harder to make "the best movie", which I don't think Disney did.

    So Disney doesn't get the Oscars they are wishing for... who really cares?

    I don't.

    So excuse me while I go pop Rat into my dvd player and watch it yet again.

  • For years people have been complaining about the too-long awards shows which drag into overtime and the local nightly news.  Self-important Hollywoodites basking in their "I'm important" glory... maybe stripped down shows of a half-hour just showing clips and announcing the winners is not always such a bad thing.  That leaves more time during prime time for airing entertainment programming, not awards for entertainment programming.  Of course, the strike has hit us there as well.

  • So, now that we're at a point where it would be completely absurd to openly criticize Ratatouille, Jim now takes each and every opportunity to throw backhanded compliments at this film.


    Congratulations Pixar on your nomination and your CONTINUED success.

  • Capatinhook91 said - "Money = Award."  Uh, I think you have that wrong there, Hook...it's Award = Money.

  • Is it me....or are the stories getting really boring???

  • "buttermaker said:

    Is it me....or are the stories getting really boring???"

    It's not you ... It's been at least 30 days since I've read something even remotely interesting on this site.

    I ask again ... Why is Jim avoiding writing about the Spaceship Earth revamp?????

  • In the past I could not wait to read Jim's articles.

    As bad as it is to say...at leat the Pixar bashing articles were remotely interesting.......remotely.

    But lately.....

    By the way forget about "Cloverfield" and  go see "The Orphanage"  A fantastic movie! IMHO

  • A story about Spaceship Earth would be great.

    Or about the box-office performance of Enchanted, which never got a proper article.

    Or that new "Princess+Frog" image thats plastered all over the internet, which was never even mentioned here.


    ANYTHING other than ratatouille-bashing.

  • "ANYTHING other than ratatouille-bashing"

    So if Jim just writes the word Ratatouille he's bashing? Hysterical. By the way, if stuff is "plastered all over the internet"...READ THAT!...not a site you don't even like. Jus' sayin'.

  • I think the frustration for alot of the Jim Hill long time fans is  whats happened with the shift of the site recentlty....    Monday Mousewatch and Why for fridays are not even a regular occurence anymore...    and the series Jim starts he never complete if he finishes them its one thing...  and now Jim has put out stuff non mouse related which is fine as long as it has some tye in to the overall theme of the site? shrek was fine but cloverfield. but this is not deadlinehollywooddaily we want to read we want the  jim hill many  grew attached to in the 99- to early 2000;s with his detailed stories and his inside sources... perhaps his sources have dried up and he is just looking to expand the business elsewhere but i dont know many disney sites that actually make a huge profit

  • Lighttragic. Thanks for a well stated point-of-view. Quite refreshing to read someone who is able to get their points across, without the whining.

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