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'Benjamin Button' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' Lead 81st Academy Awards Nominations

By Maria Esteves - January 25, 2009

The 81st Academy Awards nominations was announced by President Sid Ganis of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and 2006 Oscar winner Forest Whitaker "The Last King of Scotland" on Thursday, January 22, 2009. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON picked up 13 Oscar nominations including best picture and best director. The next frontrunner with 10 Oscar nominations was SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE including best picture. 

The 81st Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008, hosted by Hugh Jackman, produced by Laurence Mark and executive produced by Bill Condon will be held at the Kodak Theater, Hollywood, California, and televised live by ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 22, 8:00 PM EST. This year's Oscar nominees by category are:  

Best Picture

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros. )
  • FROST/NIXON, (Universal)
  • MILK, (Focus Features)
  • THE READER, (The Weinstein Company)
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight)

Best Documentary Feature

  • THE BETRAYAL (Nerakhoon), (Cinema Guild)
  • ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment)
  • THE GARDEN, Black Valley Films Production
  • MAN ON WIRE, (Magnolia Pictures)
  • TROUBLE THE WATER , (Zeitgeist Films)

Best Documentary Short

  • THE CONSCIENCE OF NHEM EN, Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
  • THE FINAL INCH, Vermilion Films Production
  • SMILE PINKI, Principe Production
  • THE WITNESS - FROM THE BALCONY OF ROOM 306, Rock Paper Scissors Production

Best Foreign Language

  • THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, Constantin Film Production, Germany
  • THE CLASS, (Sony Pictures Classics), France
  • DEPARTURES, (Regent Releasing), Japan
  • REVANCHE, (Janus Films), Austria
  • WALTZ WITH BASHIR, (Sony Pictures Classics), Israel

Best Animated Feature

  • BOLT, (Walt Disney)
  • KUNG FU PANDA, (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount)
  • WALL-E, (Walt Disney)

Best Animated Short

  • LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES, Robot Communications Production
  • LAVATORY - LOVESTORY, Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production
  • OKTAPODI, (Talantis Films)
  • PRESTO, (Walt Disney)
  • THIS WAY UP, Nexus Production

Best Live Action Short

  • AUF DER STRECKE (On the Line), (Hamburg Short film agency)
  • MANON ON THE ASPHALT, (La Luna Productions)
  • NEW BOY, (Network Ireland Television)
  • THE PIG, M & M Production
  • SPIELZEUGLAND (Toyland), Mephisto Film Production

Best Director

  • STEPHEN DALDRY for THE READER, (The Weinstein Company)
  • RON HOWARD for FROST/NIXON, (Universal)
  • GUS VAN SANT for MILK, (Focus Features)

Best Actor

  • RICHARD JENKINS for THE VISITOR, (Overture Films)
  • SEAN PENN for MILK, (Focus Features)
  • BRAD PITT for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • MICKEY ROURKE for THE WRESTLER, (Fox Searchlight)

Best Actress

  • ANNE HATHAWAY for RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • MELISSA LEO for FROZEN RIVER, (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • MERYL STREEP for DOUBT, (Miramax)
  • KAT WINSLET for THE READER, (The Weinstein Company)

Best Supporting Actor

  • JOSH BROLIN for MILK, (Focus Features)
  • ROBERT DOWNEY JR. for TROPIC THUNDER, (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • HEATH LEDGER for THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.)
  • MICHAEL SHANNON for REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Best Supporting Actress

  • AMY ADAMS for DOUBT, (Miramax)
  • VIOLA DAVIS for DOUBT, (Miramax)
  • MARISA TOMEI for THE WRESTLER, (Fox Searchlight)

Best Adapted Screenplay 

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), screenplay by Eric Roth
  • DOUBT, (Miramax), written by John Patrick Shanley
  • FROST/NIXON, (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • THE READER, (The Weinstein Company), screenplay by David Hare
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Best Original Screenplay 

  • FROZEN RIVER, (Sony Pictures Classics), written by Courtney Hunt
  • HAPPY-GO-LUCKY, (Miramax), written by Mike Leigh
  • IN BRUGES, (Focus Features), written by Martin McDonagh
  • MILK, (Focus Features), written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E, (Walt Disney), screenplay by Andrew Stanton and  Jim Reardon

Best Film Editing 

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
  • FROST/NIXON, (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
  • MILK, (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens


Best Sound Editing 

  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), Richard King
  • IRON MAN, (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E, (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
  • WANTED, (Universal), Wylie Stateman

Best Sound Mixing 

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce & M. Weingarten
  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • SLUMDOG MILLIIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E, (Walt Disney),Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
  • WANTED, (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Best Original Score      

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Alexandre Desplat
  • DEFIANCE, (Warner Bros.), James Newton Howard 
  • MILK, (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E, (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman

Best Original Song      

  • DOWN TO EARTH from WALL-E, music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • JAI HO from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), music by A.R. Rahman, lyric by Gulzar
  • SAYA from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, music and lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

Best Visual Effects 

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
  • IRON MAN, John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Best Art Direction 

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Donald Graham Burt
  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), Nathan Crowley
  • THE DUCHESS, (Paramount Vantage), Michael Carlin
  • CHANGELING, (Universal), James J. Murakami

Best Cinematography

  •  THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
  • THE READER, (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • CHANGELING, (Universal), Tom Stern
  • SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Costume Design   

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
  • THE DUCHESS, (Paramount Vantage, Pathe and BBC Films), Michael O'Connor
  • AUSTRALIA, (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
  • MILK, (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
  • REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, (DreamWorks), Albert Wolsky

Best Makeup    

  • THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
  • THE DARK KNIGHT, (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan 
  • HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz


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