Sundance rigors have made me sick — bod feels enervated, head feels virusy — but in my limited capacity I’m seeing at least one surprise among the just-announced Oscar nominees: Tommy Lee Jones being nommed as Best Actor for his performance in In The Valley of Elah. I called it for Jones in the Oscar Balloon all along, but I’m not aware of many other Oscar handicappers who did the same. This seems to me like a back-pat for the movie, for director-writer Paul Haggis…and a little bit of a slapdown for all the Elah dissers.
And you’d have to call Johnny Depp‘s getting a Best Actor nomination for Sweeney Todd a surprise also. Depp’s biggest supporter, The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil, looked at the indicators and wrote his chances off not too long ago. In a similar semi-passionate way, the Depp nomination is about Academy members giving a half-assed back-pat for Sweeney Todd, which they didn’t like (much less love) enough to give a Best Picture nomination to.