Posted by · 11:15 am · January 23rd, 2009

Richard Corliss’ rundown of yesterday’s Oscar nominations, following the familiar “will win/should win/wuz robbed” template, features some typically against-the-grain opinions, including the surprising (to me, at least) that Best Supporting Actress is the strongest of this year’s acting races. (“Three of the nominated ladies are Oscar-worthy,” he writes. And what are Rourke, Penn and Jenkins? Chopped liver?)

But his most contrarian statement of all arrives in his selection of who should have been nominated for Best Director, an overt attempt at baiting “Dark Knight” fans:

Robbed: Jon Favreau, Iron Man
O.K., so The Dark Knight was shut out of the Picture and Director categories. Dommage. But in a terrific year for superhero films, the smartest, cleanest one, Iron Man, was also ignored. Robert Downey Jr., nominated for his blackface parody in Tropic Thunder, created a complex, virtually human action figure in the repentent munitions baron Tony Stark. The special effects buttressed the picture instead of overwhelming it. And Favreau’s direction was lean, clean and suave, up there with old Hollywood adventure films by directors like Howard Hawks and Raoul Walsh — movies that never got awards, but which we watch with undiminished pleasure today.

Right. Anyway, for what it’s worth, Corliss’ rebel streak doesn’t extend to his predictions. Like everyone else, he puts his money on “Slumdog,” Boyle, Winslet, Ledger and Cruz — while in what strikes me as the most up-in-the-air of the major races, he picks Mickey Rourke ahead of Sean Penn. (I agree, but that could all change on Sunday.)

→ 7 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

7 responses so far

  • 1 1-23-2009 at 11:26 am

    Liz said...

    I really liked “Iron Man,” but I thought the direction was the one place where the movie could improve, especially in the final action scene. I thought the showdown between Stark and Stane was really not very interesting. It seemed like a sub-par deleted scene from “Transformers.” Up until then, the movie was great, but it ended on a bad note.

    The movie’s performances and witty script really carried it, but I’m sure Favreau will improve for the sequel.

  • 2 1-23-2009 at 11:57 am

    Jake said...

    Richard Corliss has gone mad. Remember his top ten list? Speed Racer? And JCVD for Best Actor?

  • 3 1-23-2009 at 1:00 pm

    Big Braveheart said...

    This guy is a steaming hot pile of manure.
    Iron Man was good but TDK well better.
    I do like Jon Favreau but Nolan is just an
    amazing director who deserved so much better.
    Tropic Thunder is fluff but Downey was ok
    as Stark but not a serious character as much as
    Bruce Wayne.
    Sequel should improve on original but this Corliss geezer is a flacid penis.

  • 4 1-23-2009 at 1:30 pm

    bigherbs said...

    I liked Iron Man, but it hit too many of the same beats found in Batman Begins. And yes, Obidiah Stane learning to pilot a giant mech suit in 5 minutes was ridiculous.

    Is anyone else getting tired of the “I am ____” line in superhero movies? Downey’s delivery in Iron Man was great, but it’s getting old. What’s next: “I am Thor! I’m Captain America!”

  • 5 1-24-2009 at 2:13 am

    PJ said...

    The special effects buttressed the picture instead of overwhelming it.


  • 6 1-24-2009 at 8:46 am

    Ben M. said...

    Hey, a lot of people said the JCVD performance was supposed to be good, personally I like it when critics go against the grain if that is how they feel.

    And he did have Iron Man on his top ten and not Dark Knight (and to be fair, Iron Man got very good reviews and I know a bunch of people who like it more than Dark Knight) so I don’t think he was just trying to upset the Dark Knight fans.

  • 7 1-24-2009 at 12:00 pm

    Matt said...

    He’s exactly right, Iron Man was the best superhero flick of the year. It was better-implemented, better-acted, less-stereotypically “mob film”, and just better. Get over it fanboys.