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December 08, 2008

'Gomorra,' Heath Ledger and good docs

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Answer: "Gomorra," Heath Ledger, "Man on Wire" and "Waltz with Bashir."

Question: Who and what won some awards this weekend?

"Gomorra," a modern day gangster tale without the glamour, won an armload of hardware at the 2008 European Film Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor, best cinematography and best screenplay. (Director Matteo Garrone, pictured, couldn't carry them all at once). Maybe that primes the pump for its Oscar campaign for adapted screenplay? Couldn't hurt.

Kristin Scott Thomas, one of our picks in the Oscar race, won best actress for playing a convicted murderer just released from prison in "I've Loved You So Long."

Down Under, the Australian Film Institute gave its international award for best actor to native son, the late Heath Ledger, for his demented Joker in "The Dark Knight." Not sure Ledger's Oscar pump needs to be primed, even though he's not around to personally campaign for the nomination. Seems a lock. Now, winning is another matter.

And back in Hollywood, the International Documentary Association zeroed in on the tightrope walking "Man on Wire" and animated memoir "Waltz with Bashir" for top prizes. The former will almost certainly get an Oscar nod, while the latter might, but not as a docu. (Not eligible because of its release date). It'll have to compete in animation and/or foreign language film.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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