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Oscar nominations will be announced on January 22. We’re counting down to the big day by tackling some tough questions and spouting some mad opinions. Today’s topic: What bona fide long shots should get a nomination?

Adam: Give Killer In Bruges a Shot

Segueing nicely from my last post, a long shot for Best Picture that I would like to see is In Bruges. As I stated before, this was one of my favorite movies of the year and I honestly think it deserves a nod for Best Picture above Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon. I liked Frost/Nixon, but the fact that it is even in the running for Best Picture is a testament to the Academy’s complacency with mediocrity – as long as it is in the correct genre/format. Exceptional comedies or action movies are largely ignored in favor of familiar dramas, bio pics, or period pieces. I think The Dark Knight‘s seeming lock for a Best Picture nomination is the best thing to happen to the Oscars in a number of years. The fact that it is a long shot to win, however, just underscores the trend of prepossessed b***s*** that pervades the institution as well as the awards.

Jared: It’s Great WALL-E is in the Best Picture Universe But it Should Be a Nominee

That WALL-E is even in the discussion for Best Picture is a victory of sorts. But its status as a long shot is still disheartening. Sure, I could point to its status as tied for the second-highest metacritic rating of the year or its 96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, better than any of the current favorites for Best Picture as evidence to how highly-regarded it is among critics. Or its 8.5 rating on imdb, good for third among 2008 releases, as evidence of its popular appeal. Certainly it would seem strange for a movie with such widespread admiration among critics and the masses to not be noticed by the Academy. (Note that almost all of the arguments in favor of The Dark Knight work as well, if not better, for WALL-E). And yet I keep coming back to the impact it had on me. No other movie this year came so close to actually taking my breath away, to leaving me slightly stunned as I took an extra second after it finished to collect my thoughts. Surely that’s what filmmaking is all about. And surely that’s what defines a best picture.

John: Can The Wrestler Stage a Comeback (From Long Shot Status)?

The Wrestler is a really terrific movie that has stayed in my head much longer than expected. It’s a simple but classic story with a great, well-developed central character. I loved Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei’s performances as well as Darren Aronofsky’s documentary-style visuals. For a film that has been widely admired it’s odd that it hasn’t even moved onto the bubble for Best Picture. A lot of times a film garnering wide acclaim for only its acting will falter in other aspects (think La Vie en Rose or The Last King of Scotland) but that’s certainly not the case for The Wrestler. Every time a commercial for the film comes on and that Springsteen title song plays I get chills. I wouldn’t wish to promote it over The Dark Knight but it’s a shame that it’s barely in the conversation.

We all went with Best Picture choices, so let me throw out a few acting options as well. Burn After Reading was funnier in concept than in reality (meaning I enjoy thinking back on it than I did actually watching it) but it had some really terrific acting. As far as I know no performance has been promoted over the others, potentially causing the actors to cancel each other out, but it’d be great to see one of them pick up a Supporting nod. I’d put Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand at the top, but John Malkovich, Twilda Swinton, and George Clooney were also swell.

That’s what we say. What are some genuine long shots that deserve more of a chance?

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