More at theage.com.au: “Recognising quality crowd pleasers is a long-standing Oscar hallmark, but of late he has often sidestepped blatant populism to honour small, deserving, edgier films with serious topics and diverse interests.
A survey of this year's field reveals that this tendency has reached a new extreme. Even the two big films are essentially high-quality arthouse films with large budgets.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a brilliantly conceived expansion of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1922 short story, is a sprawling contemplation about love, death and America across the 20th century. Frost/Nixon, an equally superb, highly cinematic adaptation of the hit Broadway play, combines an excoriating comment about celebrity journalism with a riveting dissection of Richard Nixon's complex, troubled character.
With Oscar favourite Slumdog Millionaire we have a small film by a left-of-centre British director set in India that wrestles with the weighty issues of class, wealth, poverty and sacrifice. The film's appeal to Academy voters is obvious: (1) its multinational flavour plugs right into the mood of a more selfless, open-minded, approval-seeking post-Bush America; (2) it's an absolutely terrific film.”
-- And I'm excited to see who will win! Did you fill out your predictions yet?
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