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Few Major Oscar Noms on Home Video

22 Jan, 2009 By: John Latchem

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

Anyone hoping to enjoy this year’s best picture Oscar nominees will have to head to theaters for the time being.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominees for best picture, announced Jan. 22, include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire, none of which have yet been slated for home video.

Only a handful of nominations in the major categories have reached either store shelves or been assigned a street date.

Foremost among them is Warner Home Video’s The Dark Knight, a critical and audience favorite (No. 2 all-time domestic box office) that many industry watchers pegged as a best picture contender, especially after earning nominations from the guilds representing directors, writers and producers. The Batman film still pulled down eight nominations, led by the late Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker for best supporting actor, with the rest in technical categories.

Another popular film, Pixar’s Wall-E (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment), earned six nominations, including best animated feature film, original screenplay, original musical score for Thomas Newman, best song for “Down to Earth,” best sound editing and sound mixing.

Joining Wall-E in the best animated film category are DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda (Paramount Home Entertainment), and Disney’s Bolt, slated for home video release March 24.

Home video enthusiasts also can enjoy two of the best documentary feature nominees. Available now are Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World (Image/Thinkfilm), a travelogue of Antarctica, and Man on Wire (Magnolia), a chronicle of Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope crossing of New York’s World Trade Center towers.

But just because the Academy reserved its top honors for films in need of a theatrical push doesn’t mean home entertainment companies weren’t prepared to take advantage of the occasion.

Within hours of learning Anne Hathaway was nominated for best actress for her performance in Rachel Getting Married, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced the film would street on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on March 10 (prebook Feb. 5).

And in the realm of Oscar tie-ins, Arts Alliance America announced the April 7 DVD release of The Caller, starring Frank Langella, who was nominated for best actor for playing Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon.

The 81st annual Academy Awards ceremony takes place Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.

Oscar nominees on home video:

Australia (Fox, March 3) — Costume Design
Bolt (Disney, March 24) — Best Animated Feature Film
Changeling (Universal, Feb. 17) — Best Actress: Angelina Jolie; Art Direction; Cinematography
The Dark Knight (Warner, Now Available) — Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger; Art Direction; Cinematography; Film Editing; Makeup; Sound Editing; Sound Mixing; Visual Effects
The Duchess (Paramount, Now Available) — Art Direction; Costume Design
Encounters at the End of the World (Image/Thinkfilm, Now Available) — Best Documentary Feature
Frozen River (Sony Pictures, Feb. 10) — Best Actress: Melissa Leo; Original Screenplay
Happy-Go-Lucky (Disney/Miramax, March 10) — Original Screenplay
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Universal, Now Available) — Makeup
In Bruges (Universal, Now Available) — Original Screenplay
Iron Man (Paramount, Now Available) — Sound Editing; Visual Effects
Kung Fu Panda (Paramount/DreamWorks, Now Available) — Best Animated Feature Film
Man on Wire (Magnolia, Now Available) — Best Documentary Feature
Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures, March 10) — Best Actress: Anne Hathaway
Tropic Thunder (Paramount/DreamWorks, Now Available) — Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Genius/Weinstein, Jan. 27) — Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz
The Visitor (Anchor Bay, Now Available) — Best Actor: Richard Jenkins
Wall-E (Disney, Now Available) — Best Animated Feature Film; Original Screenplay; Original Score: Thomas Newman; Original Song: “Down to Earth”; Sound Editing; Sound Mixing
Wanted (Universal, Now Available) — Sound Editing; Sound Mixing

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