MOTOWN BLUES: And I’m telling you that they’re not going … to the Oscar bigtime.
|AP Photo/DreamWorks, David James|
|Eddie Murphy , above, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and co-star Jennifer Hudson was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls, but it didn't get a Best Picture nod.|
Dreamgirls led the nominations today for the 79th Academy Awards with eight nods, but the Motown musical still managed to look like the biggest loser.
It didn’t score a nomination for Best Picture, something that may be a first in the annals of Oscar history. The Academy has confirmed it's the fist time a nominations leader didn't also get Best Picture nod.
For that matter, Dreamgirls was also knocked out of the race for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.
It did manage noms for Best Supporting Actor for Eddie Murphy and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Hudson, along with bids for art direction, costumes, sound mixing and original song.
Dreamgirls has three nominations for Best Original Song: “Listen,” “Love You I Do” and “Patience.”
This means the most Oscars it can possibly win is six, and the chance of it sweeping the full half-dozen is slim, especially if votes for those three songs cancel each other out.
It’s quite a comedown for a movie that many felt would be the one to beat at this year’s Academy Awards.
But musicals have always been a hit-or-miss thing at the Oscars. Back in 1972, Cabaret swept the ceremony with eight wins, but Best Picture wasn’t won of them. It has the dubious distinction of having the most Oscar wins of any film without winning Best Picture.
|Cabaret, starring Liza Minelli and Joel Grey swept the 1972 Oscars and Cabaret has the dubious distinction of having the most Oscar wins of any film without winning Best Picture.|
Yet even that outcome would be preferable to the nightmare facing the Dreamgirls team.
In other Oscar news, the nominations were generally wise and worthy, with no embarrassments amongst the Best Picture five: Babel, The Departed, Letters From Iwo Jima and Little Miss Sunshine.
Clint Eastwood’s gambit to bump up the release date for Letters From Iwo Jima after its companion World War II epic Flags of Our Fathers crashed and burned proved to very smart. Letters is in the running for picture, director, original screenplay and sound editing.
Canadians can be especially proud, because it’s a banner year for us at the Oscars, especially if you happen to come from London, Ont.
London-born Ryan Gosling is up for Best Actor for Half Nelson while fellow Londoner Paul Haggis is nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Letters From Iwo Jima, which he says with co-writer Iris Yamashita.
Toronto’s Deepa Mehta is in contention for Best Foreign-Language Film with Water, which managed to knock Pedro Almodóvar’s higher-profile Volver out of the fifth slot in the category.
And Montreal’s Torill Kove is keeping the National Film Board’s maple leaf flying in the Best Animated Short category. Her nomination for The Danish Poet is her second Oscar nom, the previous one being for My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts in 2000.