Hold It There, Kitty Cat!-Revisited

Drowning PolanskiI previously addressed the rising controversy over the crook-artist formerly known as artist Roman Polanski shortly after the director took some strides toward getting his case dropped, trying to use the technicalities of the law to his advantage (claiming malfeasance on the part of the original sitting judge for the case, now deceased, who was coached by a deputy district attorney outside the boundaries of the law; this was documented in Marina Zenovich’s pointed film, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” (available online through Netflix Watch Instantly), and was cited by Polanski’s legal team) despite his elected fugitive status. Fortunately, the LA Court was savvy to his ways, and his efforts were stymied with a ruling stating no steps would be taken toward dismissing his case without the physical presence of Polanski in the court room. A hearing was set for last May, and, to no one’s surprise, Polanski did not show up.

(Update: And yesterday, David Wells, the former deputy district attorney who made the claims that he coached Judge Laurence J. Rittenband on sentencing Polanski, issued a formal retraction saying these were false claims. He only wanted to inflate his own ego on the camera, and so he lied that his involvement in the case was more substantial than his actual position. “It never happened,” he added. This undercuts the basis for Polanski’s dismissal.)

Last Saturday justice finally caught up with the director. While traveling to Switzerland to receive an award at the Zurich Film Festival, Polanski was detained by Swiss police on a standing interpol order issued at the request of the LA District Attorney. Expedition to the US is pending, with Polanski’s legal team, which I’m sure is big enough to fully field both sides in a football game, pedaling in high gear to stop these orders. His team’s most recent acquisition is Reid Weingarten, a Washington heavy who rubs shoulders with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. This likely means no end in sight, but one can hope.

The initial (premature) reaction was surprise in Europe. The cultural minister for France stated he was “shocked.”  Over 100 film industry bigwigs—including some of my favorite directors, such as Pedro Almodóvar, Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, and Wong Kar-Wai—signed a petition expressing “stupefaction” over the arrest. Part of this reaction is due to the fact Polanski has traveled to Switzerland, where he maintains a home, on many occasions as a fugitive and the timing of his arrest—why not one of the countless other times he was in the country in full public regale?—stunned many of his friends and colleagues. (To suppress further bafflement, the LA DA’s office issued a timeline of their efforts over the years, which include a close call in Israel two years ago.)

Other public support was especially ill informed, or Pensive Polanskiat the least utterly stupid. Noted philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy was forgiving of the detained director, stating Polanski “perhaps had committed a youthful error.” Really? So a 43-year-old drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl, even if she looked like she “could be any age up to 25” (Thanks for the insight Angelica Huston!), qualifies as youthful error?

Granted, the more heinous elements of the crime—such as the drugging and the raping part—were dropped in a plea bargain 31 years ago, leaving only the “having sex with a minor” crime. This is still a crime. Whatever illicit actions the presiding judge took should not excuse Polanski’s (now this is in jest) “youthful error.” While an actual ruling, if we ever get one, should reflect no more than this crime, any ruling would be a relief if a sense of closure could be brought to this decades long spectacle.

I particularly appreciated the view of Luc Besson. It would be far fetched to say Besson’s contributions to the film world—such as “The Fifth Element” and “La Femme Nikita”—are of a caliber higher than fluff, but they are for the most part incredibly watchable, and sometimes almost revolutionary. Anyhow, even though he is an acquaintance of Polanski, his name was notably absent from the aforementioned petition. Taken from the end of the NY Times article:

“Our daughters are good friends,” Mr. Besson said in a radio interview with RTL Soir. “But there is one justice, and that should be the same for everyone.”

One can hope.


The Myth of Mann

Michael Mann's "Heat"The seven minute bank heist at the beginning of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” gave the film an immediate context for a superhero or supervillain to viably occupy: a land of the human superman. As the crime punctually unfolds, the sporadic dialogue between the criminals, spoken as each performs his function with the perfunctory ease of an accountant adding up dollars or a computer programmer writing a simple algorithm, serves to create an image of a mischief maker with means and malevolence beyond the reach of a human, despite the fact this world of heroes and villains is without the genetic extremities allotted to the alternate universes that gave us the “X-Men” and “Spiderman” franchises. Here, in Gotham City, the superpowers of its occupants are the abilities to incarnate the Manichean duals rather than the abilities to shoot lasers out of one’s eyes or to fly without wings or mechanical aide. “So why do they call him the Joker?” they continually ask themselves with absolute sincerity, when the exclusive “they” in the question should be substituted by an inclusive “we.” The Joker becomes exclusive from any speaker.

When the deed is done and the bank sufficiently robbed, we are finally introduced to the painted face of the Joker. But when he takes off his mask, instead of debunking the myth created by his former employees now deceased, we are given another mask, one that seems to confirm each rumor and every contradiction. “Whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stranger,” he laughs. Simultaneously he delivers both a joke and a prophecy. Instead of returning the Joker to the realm of mortals, the revealing of his face is his apotheosis.

This type of moment happens in each and every movie of Michael Mann, so it is no surprise that Nolan name dropped Mann—specifically mentioning “Heat”—when he talked about influences for the film.


Mann got his start, as filmmakers often do, in television, where he worked as a writer for “Starsky and Hutch” and more famously as an executive producer (not creator) of “Miami Vice,” among other projects. Even then the subject of his stories seemed to be from a different world, but maybe this was partly indebted to the ascribed Hollywood template of what a good guy on television can be: he is invincible no matter the peril; he is ultimately morally right no matter how tainted the back story; and he is his own boss no matter what level of the food chain he inhabits. But Mann seemed to take it a step further, and gave us the epitome of cool in Don Johnson’s Sonny Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas’s Rice Tubbs, with bright colors, sharp suits, fast cars, beautiful women and indefatigable charisma. Mann left “Miami Vice” after season 3, leaving Dick Wolf (“Law & Order”) in charge, to pursue other endeavors. It did not take long until the series went sour, but not before an indelible imprint was left on the American psyche. But that’s giving way too much credit.


After a quiet start in the 80s with “Thief” and “Manhunter” (the latter brought the first incarnation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an oleaginous Brian Cox, to the silver screen), he first gained popularity in the 90s from a book by James Fenimore Cooper. Written in 1826, the second installment in the five-book “Leatherstocking Tales” series, “The Last of the Mohicans,” was not a farfetched subject for Mann to tackle, even though there existed a part for a female lead (an aim Mann subsequently eschewed until “Public Enemies”). Part of Cooper’s intent in writing was as a show of rebellion against the presumed aesthetic of the American novel. Most of what he read he labeled as trash (need cite, excluding the infallible word of my high school English teacher), and to show his contempt, he ventured to spin an equally if not even more ludicrous yarn full of silly deus ex machina escapes and other literary follies, but to still reach (and scale) the heights of popularity of the texts he vehemently abhorred. This he accomplished. (A particular criticism Cooper continues to receive is for his subhuman portrayal of female characters, precisely echoing the common sentiment toward Mann’s distaff parts.)

Daniel Day-Lewis requires little intervention to elevate him to a seemingly divine level of performance (tears almost came to my eyes when he looks Madeleine Stowe’s former wooer in the eye and says, “One of these days you and I are going to have a serious disagreement;” okay, maybe I jest), but Mann still felt obligated to give his own hint of legend. In the opening scene, shortly following a written introduction—to give context to the story and a stamp of artificial literary provenance to the film (this is really just a glorified action movie, as the book was just a glorified action book, but this does not talk little of this film (but does talk little of the book))—the audience finds Hawkeye (Mr. Day-Lewis) outrunning a deer in the woods with two of his adopted Mohican family. As they glide through the forest like a trio of primeval wood elves, Mann chooses to keep the camera close to the ground, where a simple leap over a bush or a fallen log can become a voluntary suspension of gravity. These are not mere men we are witnessing, as if in answer to a question posed by a twit. This is the common creed of Mann.

The final twenty minutes of the movie are almost completely devoid of dialogue—there is only the “I am the last of the Mohicans” speech on the cliff edge before the credits—giving Mann a chance to play with his wrought supermen. One character runs through something like twenty Mohawk before finally falling to a stronger supervillian, Magua. Then Hawkeye and the remaining Mohican run through another twenty or thirty Mohawk, before a climactic (and short) battle of the titans ensues, with a mostly predictable conclusion. (Was there a John Woo reference in there when Hawkeye shot down foe after foe with a gun in each hand?) Do I care that this was the equivalence of a period Jean-Claude Van Damme movie? (Nothing against the Muscles from Brussels. JCVD, rock on!) Not in the least. Instead, with a simple but effective soundtrack and a reliance on the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains (substituting for upstate New York), this will remain a simple pleasure, easily palatable and almost (not so almost) powerful, mostly in part to the capacity of Mann.


More to come later…


The Academy is Full of Surprises

36294-OscarThis past week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it will expand its Best Picture nominee list from 5 to 10 films. This is understandable considering its dwindling audience in recent years. Had this been the case last year, there would’ve been space for crowd favorites like “Wall-E” and “The Dark Knight,” which in turn would have been able to get more people to sit down and watch Hollywood give itself a grand celebration. (I was going to write “stroke its own cock” but that would’ve been vulgar.)

Is this a good thing? Some people say it will take away the “prestige” factor for nominees, which is key in some marketing ploys by some companies or at least bragging rights for others. But I in all honesty could probably care less. I can’t remember the last time I thought the year’s best film actually took home the Best Picture trophy. Maybe “Unforgiven,” and that was almost two decades ago. I think the “prestige” factor has been lacking since the awards ceremony became tantamount to a high school ASB Presidential race. It’s annoying that Kate Winslet can win a Best Actress award because this was her sixth nomination and not that she was actually the best actress of that year (which was the case last year; maybe she was deserving for her role in “Little Children,” but she was going up against a more politically motivated Oscar campaign (but also more qualified) for Helen Mirren that year).

So with 10 nominations there will still be the requisite dross nominees (“The Reader” this year, “Juno” the prior year), but at least there will the likely consolation that a few worthy contenders will make their way onto the list even if they have a GM chance of winning. I was happy that my favorite film of two years ago, “The Letters of Iwo Jima,” at least made the list of nominees, even though a middle of the road Scorsese film took home the grand prize. (And what’s with Scorsese’s next film, “Shutter Island,” looking like a horror film? Maybe he’s just been tired of doing crime dramas forever but felt he couldn’t win an Oscar without doing another—and then also lost the motivation to make an original story, choosing instead to copy a better Hong Kong movie—and now is relieved to have the ability to take a new path without the remorse of tainting his image come awards season. More the power to him, I suppose. )


In other Oscar news, the Academy now announced plans to allow only liked songs, those reaching an 8.25 scale on an Academy voters survey for whatever that’s worth. Also, they will do without the public ceremony for the honor recipients the Academy feels bad about for not giving a real Oscar since they take up too much valuable time.


The Off Season

Part of my reluctance to continue writing about movies on this page is because this is the time of season when my interest in movies generally wanes. (Another reason is a recent unwholesome obsession with my PS3’s functions other than Blu-ray player, but that’s enough about that.)hasbro-729108

Now, at least in local theaters, the focus is on the summer blockbuster and weekend box office numbers. While this is not always a bad thing, it serves to be more distracting than rewarding. Last summer’s barrage of comic book divertissements—“Iron Man” (liked), “The Incredible Hulk” (meh), “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (liked a lot some reason, more so in retrospect), “The Dark Knight” (very much liked)—has been replaced by a basket full of Hasbro advertisements.


Michael Bay, perennially in competition with Uwe Boll for Worst Director, will be bringing to the world the next chapter in the arduous nationalization process of Earth’s (relatively) recent immigrant population: the Autobots. In a few trailer viewings of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” there appears to again be a focus on slo-mo CGI battle scenes and Megan Fox, which would’ve made me pee my pants if I were 10 (okay, I guess Megan Fox is easy to look at, as long as she doesn’t talk). I think I will prefer to play with my Transformer toys currently collecting dust in a box somewhere for two and a half hours than sit through this one in theaters. But I do try (kinda) not to pass judgment without having sampled what potentially hazardous cinematic victuals the world has to offer. After all, I did sit through the first one (not in theaters, mind you), Cobra_movie_posterbut it took me about four beers to get all the way to the end. (Maybe I’ll need to institute an alternative “beer rating” for movies.) I find movies fascinating because, even if the movie is lame, I feel each film serves to at least give a cursory glimpse at a certain demographic and its interests and expectations, even if it does have an unhealthy toy fetish.

Stephen Summers, the genius behind “The Mummy” series and other gems like “Van Helsing,” will be the other helmer for the toy industry with “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.” (Why is the format of this title the exact same as the other toy movie?) Now, I also saw a trailer for this one, and I am disappointed to say it is not at all tied in with the 1986 classic “Cobra” (check out that tagline!). I was hoping it would be a zombie movie with Lieutenant Marion ‘Cobra’ Cobretti, originally played with regular aplomb by Sylvester Stallone (who also took a writing credit for that film), coming back from the dead to fight some more neo-fascist mass murderers. Or perhaps the neo-fascist mass murderers Sly killed in the first film are the ones coming back from the dead and Cobra actually didn’t die of a steroid overdose as he did in the extended edition, alternative ending fashioned together in my head. After all, in the original film Sly’s police division was known as “The Zombie Squad,” so my mind of course followed the logical deduction process to arrive at both plausible scenarios for a sequel. Alas. Also, I was sad to see it bared little resemblance to these revamps of the original cartoon, so my disappointment was two-fold.


This being the “off season,” movies worth pursuing still exist. So far this year, the movies I’ve most enjoyed include: “Adventureland,” a coming of age story of a post-grad in need of summer employment, minus the usual sophomoric tendencies of the genre or the unrealistic fascinations of Judd Apatow; “Coraline,” the 3D stop-motion adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s story of a girl who discovers an ideal alternative world, or almost ideal; “Summer Hours,” Olivier Assayas’s vision of globalization and art on the familial scale; and “Drag Me to Hell,” Sam Raimi’s return to his nonpareil “Evil Dead” roots after an overlong stay in the Hollywood factory (“Spider-Man 3” sure lacked the pizazz of the first two; hopefully this film gives him a jump-start on the interesting front for the announced next “Spider-Man” installment).

A couple of movies slated for wide release in the next few weeks I’m most excited about include “Public Enemies,” directed by Michael Mann who seems to have a godly touch with the crime genre (“Heat,” “Collateral”), and “The Hurt Locker,” about a bomb squad unit in Iraq and the many joys involved. And “Bruno.” Can’t forget Bruno.

While at times it may seem like there is a dearth of quality on the screens, it pays to look a little farther away from home and one may be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully.


News Flash

84266490CC085_NCAA_ChampionIn case no one heard (that is, if you for some reason rely on my reportage for your daily news, in which case, you’d be up a certain type of creek for the last two months, given my extended sojourn to the world of social discourse and human contact, i.e. the anti-blogosphere; P.S. I hate the word “blogosphere” with a passion and will hence murder any who use the word twice within the span of 10 seconds in a 30 foot radius of my hypocritical presence), Carolina did take home the important trophy. I honestly had to fight back a few manly tears when I saw the utterly naive and exuberant Hansbrough hugging Coach Williams after the confetti began to fall. I wonder how long until I see another player of such doltish prowess.


Two months and no posts.


Maybe I’ll start up again.

Also, to add slightly to the cinecentric aim of this page, yesterday I watched “Jurassic Park” for the upteenth time. I think when I grow up, I want to be a paleontologist.  This, obviously, brings to mind Tracy Jordan(/Morgan)’s comment about feeding a parrot in “30 Rock” about three weeks ago–plus or minus a month–found about 5 and a half minutes into the clip below.


Enter as a Lamb, Exit in a Straightjacket

It is now more than a week into March, and we are in the gut of the most exciting time in college basketball: March Madness.

College basketball has long been my favorite sport since I was a kid growing up in North Carolina (a friend of mine pontificated upon the subject of college over professional sports ever so eloquently here). And coming from North Carolina I was given the choice (sort of) to follow UNC or Duke basketball, which is like having a choice between working in a soup kitchen during the holiday season (UNC) and watching with glee as an IED that you strategically placed for maximal carnage go off in a full maternity ward (Duke). Since I’m not evil (subjective view) and I actually try on occasion not to be an utter asshole, I chose the side of good and all that is holy in life: the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Psycho T earning 2 of his 2,717 career points

Psycho T earning 2 of his 2,717 career points

This past weekend, UNC secured an outright ACC regular season championship by completing a sweep of Duke (which would’ve been a shared title with Duke if UNC were to have lost; I’m glad UNC decided to be selfish), while also bidding a homecourt adieu to the reigning national player of the year, Tyler Hansbrough (who, thanks both to an improved supporting cast and the nonpareil Blake Griffin, won’t be taking home another POY award). A much improved Danny Green, a quietly efficient defender Bobby Frasor and a reserve Michael Copeland were also given the senior fête, while the mercurial Ty Lawson (crowned today as the ACC Player of the Year; he was joined on the all-ACC first team with Hansbrough who received his record fourth unanimous first-team selection; the last time Carolina had two on the all-ACC team they won a national championship) and the off and on sharpshooter Wayne Ellington made their most likely last home appearances (both along with Green withdrew from the NBA draft in June, so I expect them to stick their names in the hat more permanently this next summer). Hansbrough is only 52 points shy of the ACC career scoring title, currently held by the nefarious former dookie/dick, J.J. Redick. This last scoring record will likely be claimed either Saturday or Sunday in the ACC tournament for Hansbrough, who will exit as the most decorated Tar Heel ever.

I expect great things from this team in not just the ACC tournament but the NCAA tournament. An NCAA championship would help alleviate some of the accumulated pain suffered over the last two tournaments, with a shameful Elite Eight exit against Georgetown due to a scoreless overtime two years ago followed by an unforeseen drumming by Kansas in last year’s Final Four. Currently the Tar Heels sit at the top of the polls, the first time in ten weeks. Due to the aforementioned pending exits, this year is their best chance in the near future to end a season with the final victory. They may not be the unbeatable team they were touted to be at the beginning of the season, but they are still a pretty damn good team.

Anyhow, since I usually focus on movies here, I’ll take a quick look at basketball in film.


Hoosiers“Hoosiers”: It is impossible to talk about movies and basketball and not start with “Hoosiers.” I’m not alone in this thinking; A.O. Scott, in line with the current zeitgeist, included a Critics’ Picks video entry last week about this 1986 film.

The story is simple enough: former college coach who has since fallen from grace, Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), leads a small Indiana high school to a state championship against all odds. In the fifties (when the story takes place) all high schools competed against each other for a state title regardless of size in Indiana. So the feat (which vaguely resembles Milan High School’s 1954 Indiana state championship, hence the “inspired by a true story” label) was definitely of Herculean proportions considering the team’s immensely undersized school.

To be honest, there isn’t a special little place next to my heart (maybe I don’t have one?) for this movie, but I find it hard to actually fault this movie for its faults. The trite inspirational movie still has its purpose, and this one bangs its drums ever so loudly and proudly that I was unable to stave off a smile for the inevitable come from behind, buzzer-beating finale. Maybe David Anspaugh, the director, felt he found his niche with this debut film, and so he continued to stick with the underdog sports genre, later helming “Rudy” (1993), the story of the Notre Dame football inspirational hero, and most recently “The Game of Their Lives” (2005), a look at US soccer’s unlikely one-nil victory over England in 1950.

“Hoosiers” continues to make different all-time lists, ranking in at number 4 on AFI’s Top 10 Sports Movies. In a survey last November for the Most Inspirational Movie Ever on moviefone.com, “Hoosiers” made an appearance at number 9. First place went to “My Left Foot.” And with that, I give you:


Hoop Dreams“Hoop Dreams”: Unlike “Hoosiers,” which used a substantial sugar coating for its David and Goliath message, “Hoop Dreams” (1994) brings the unadulterated and gripping story of the American Dream as seen through the eyes of two young black men. Arthur Agee and William Gates come from poor black neighborhoods in Chicago. Their skills on the court opened their eyes to a future outside of their impoverished surroundings when they are each given a partial scholarship to play at the illustrious St. Joseph High School. Their NBA aspirations, be it those of 14-year-olds, seem far from a pipe dream; St. Joseph’s recruited Isaiah Thomas (a point Gene Pinatore, the coach for St. Joseph’s, ensures everyone is aware of), who makes an appearance in the film, fresh off leading the Detroit Pistons to a second consecutive NBA championship.

But their roads soon diverge. While William makes a comfortable transition both in the classroom and on the court (he starts on the varsity team in his first year), Arthur struggles (his grades hurt and he is relegated to the freshman team). In Arthur’s words: “I’ve just never been around a lot of white people, but I can adjust.” Later Arthur is upbraided for acting up in class (a symptom his coach is quick to blame on “his environment”), and in his sophomore year he is forced to transfer to the local public school with $1,500 in back tuition. St. Joseph’s would not allow Arthur to transfer credits needed for graduation until his family could set up a way to pay back this money.

Pinatore’s empty talk about caring about his players’ futures is as transparent as glass. When William injures his knee, Pinatore urges him to play prior to a complete recovery. When William fathers a child and his grades suffer, he went to his coach for some help in dealing with his family. Pinatore’s advice: “Write them off.”

St. Joseph’s attempted to sue the film makers, Steve James, Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert (who spend over seven years of their lives making this film), for defamation of character, and they tried to prevent it from reaching theaters. Luckily, they failed. In conclusion, I’ll borrow more directly from the NY Times review by Caryn James a snapshot of the best moment in the movie:

Depite all the drama on and off screen, a particularly quiet moment best captures the life lesson of “Hoop Dreams” and is the scene most likely to have audiences cheering. William, about to graduate from St. Joseph, tells Coach Pingatore of his college plans. “I’m going into communications,” he says, “so when you come asking for donations, I’ll know the right way to turn you down.” 


“Teen Wolf”: In case you were unaware of the importance of this centerpiece of American cinema, you just needed to tune in two weeks ago on Larry King Live when Tracey Jordan recounted the entire plot of “Teen Wolf” (1985) before leading all of the country into mass hysteria (with advice such as “take a deep breath, calm down, and start preparing [your] bodies for Thunderdome. That is the new law”) following an Asian stock market panic. Okay, maybe that was only on an episode of “30 Rock”—found online—but still, this is an undisputed American classic that needs to be studied in the classroom next to “Moby Dick” and “Huckleberry Finn.” Just look at some of the life lessons this film manages to inculcate.

Exhibit A: How to purchase a keg of beer when looking like you are 12

Exhibit B: How to surf on top of a moving van (note: so I couldn’t find an English version of this clip, but everyone knows Spanish, right?)

I think they should’ve followed this up with a keg stand on top of the van. Wait, I’m beginning to sound like a Duke(/deuche) fan.


And the winners are…


The cute kids from "Slumdog Millionaire"

The littluns from "Slumdog Millionaire"

I pretty much sucked with my predictions, getting a whopping 50% correct (12 out of 24). I wasn’t surprised by the huge night for “Slumdog Millionaire,” but I wasn’t exactly rooting for it. At least the cute little kids were there for the celebration.

“Slumdog” led the night with 8 wins (80% of its 10 nominations), including 3 of the top categories (Film, Director, and Adapted Screenplay) but no acting awards (largely due to the fact it received no acting nominations, mostly deservedly, not to say only deserving performances are recognized by the Academy).

In a distant second place was “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” with 3 wins (23% of 13), all from “periphery” categories (Art Design, Makeup, Visual Effects). “Milk” and “The Dark Knight” each wound up with 2 wins, including the first posthumous trophy since Peter Finch for Heath Ledger.

I don’t have much more to add other than Hugh Jackman was decent (I like that he made a joke about not watching “The Reader,” for which I envy him) but I preferred Jon Stewart’s politically incorrect candor; the changeup in the acting presentations was okay (5 previous winners present, each taking turns panegyrizing a candidate; for the leading acting awards, this replaced the winner from the previous year presenting the category for the opposite sex, which likely eliminates the potential for improvised osculation); I was almost as unimpressed with some of the winners as I was with those nominated (goddamit Kate Winslet); and lastly, the best winner’s speech was given by Kunio Katô after receiving the Animated Short Film trophy:

which brings to mind a song infinitely better than ‘Jai Ho’:


The winners are as follows, with my successful picks in green:

Film: Slumdog Millionaire
Director: Danny Boyle
Actor: Sean Penn
Actress: Kate Winslet
Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger
Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz

Original Screenplay: Milk
Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Foreign Film: Departures
Animated Film: WALL-E
Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire

Original Song: Slumdog Millionaire (‘Jai Ho’)
Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire

Costume Design: The Duchess
Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Documentary: Man on Wire
Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Animated Short Film: La Maison en Petite Cubes
Live Action Short Film: Spielzeugland (Toyland)
Documentary Short: Smile Pinki