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December 19, 2008

'WALL-E' melts critics' hearts


All those critics in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles can't be wrong about "WALL-E." Or can they?

Looking back on the week that was, we see that reviewer groups in those cities all showered love, attention and kudos on "WALL-E," the Disney/Pixar morality tale that's not just for the kiddies. They all catapulted it out of the animated category and voted it best picture against stiff competition from the likes of "Milk," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Dark Knight."

Chicago critics, in fact, named it best picture and best animated movie, along with rewarding its original screenplay and score.

This should make a number of Gold Rush readers happy, including Caroline, who's pretty darn impassioned about the whole thing:

"'WALL-E' is no animated movie, it's a romance made by animation. Saying that 'WALL-E' is an animated movie is discriminating. If it doesn't show up in the Best Picture category, I will never watch the Oscars again. Mark my words."

Whoa now -- there are plenty of good reasons to stop watching that show. (Just kidding. Let's give Hugh a chance!)


Gold Derby took a straw poll and found that those of us who watch the Oscars for a living -- some call us pundits, others call us names not nearly as printable as that -- come down on both sides of the argument. Is "WALL-E" a best picture contender, will it levitate like EVE to the top of the entire movie pile, or stay in the cartoon realm and duke it out with two other films for that best-of title?

First of all, we see no animation ghetto. An animated picture nod is nothing to sniff at and having that separate category, as has been the case since the early oughts, allows voters to spread the wealth. But that's just us, and, we might add, some other awards ninnies.

There are plenty of so-called Oscarologists who disagree, though, saying the best picture derby isn't strong enough this year to have five shoo-ins and the affection that fans feel for "WALL-E" could carry it into the top category.

Find a number of our comments and "rationale" here.

And as usual, feel free to pipe in. It's Friday afternoon before the holiday break and you know you're not really working anyway. Get to commenting!


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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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