Best Actor – Tom Hardy for Bronson (2008)
Telling the story of Britain’s most notorious inmate, Bronson was a big hit when it was first released. When it premiered at London Film Festival, Tom Hardy was the talk of the town. Playing the central role, Hardy gained three stone prior to filming in order to take on Bronson’s physical appearance, confessing to doing up to two thousand five hundred press ups a day.
For six months, Hardy lived and breathed Bronson, meeting the man on a number of occasions to get his part exactly right. He threw everything into the role, and the result is absolutely breath-taking. You can almost believe you are watching a documentary on Charles Bronson, not an actor playing him in a film. Hardy never pulls back when performing the grittier scenes, constantly giving his all to a role that requires nothing but.
Best Supporting Actor – Michael Sheen for Music Within (2007)
This low budget flop only ever had one thing going for it. The film follows the true life of Richard Pimentel, played by Ron Livingston. He returns from Vietnam with severe loss of his hearing, subsequently playing a pivotal role in creating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Michael Sheen plays the role of Richard’s close friend, Art Honeyman. Art suffers from Cerebral Palsy, something which Sheen performs with heart and integrity. Mid-way through the film, Sheen makes you almost forget about the C.P, instead you concentrate on the man behind the condition.
Sheen is utterly remarkable in his role. He is no longer Michael Sheen, instead he fully takes over and becomes Art Honeyman.
Best Actress – Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road (2008)
Having previously been nominated five times for an Oscar and never winning any, Kate Winslet finally got her hands on a gong for her sixth nomination, playing a former SS guard in The Reader. There was however, much speculation surrounding this particular nomination she received. The Reader was released the same year as Revolutionary Road, which Winslet also starred in to rave reviews.
Academy rules state that no actor can receive more than one nomination in a single category. Unlike other awards, the Oscars classed Winslet’s performance in The Reader as a leading role, therefore she could not receive a nomination for her role in Revolutionary Road. An absolute travesty, considering some view her role as April Wheeler, an unhappy housewife, as the performance of her career.
Teaming up once again with Leonardo DiCaprio, Winslet seamlessly delves into this troubled, emotional role. She steals key scenes away from her co-stars, moving the audience and truly showing the commitment she brings to her roles.
Best Adapted Screenplay – Fight Club (1999)
Based on Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel of the same name, Fight Club has become a cult classic. Often praised for its faithfulness to the original novel, the film currently rides high in IMDB.com’s Top 250.
Following the character of The Narrator, the script delves into the twisted life on an insomniac who, along with new friend Tyler Durden, establishes an underground fight club. The film failed to meet studio expectations at the box office, splitting the opinions of critics and audiences worldwide. It was classed as one of the most controversial and talked about films of 1999.
When adapting for the screen, it is often hard to do the original novel justice. There are always criticisms surrounding a script's accuracy to its original counterpart, and nowadays few manage to be considered successful when compared to its original piece. Fight Club is one of the exceptions, considered to be written so well that Palahniuk himself has even admitted the script is better than his own original novel.
Best Picture – The Dark Knight 2008
It is the seventh highest grossing film of all time and gave us one of the most memorable performances in film history. It was nominated for over 150 different awards and won 92, more than any other film in that year. Yet The Dark Knight still failed to receive a Best Picture Oscar nod.
Immense in every area, Christopher Nolan’s superhero masterpiece gave the world the best film of 2008. But that seemed to be the film's main problem, it is a superhero film. The Academy has always shown slight restraint when it comes to giving out Best Picture nominations to films in the fantasy/superhero genre, the only exception being that of the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. The snub caused uproar among critics and fans alike.
In the words of Hugh Jackman in the 81st Oscar ceremony, "How can a billion dollars be unsophisticated?"