Heath Ledger, WALL-E lead Oscar genre wins

No big shockers here: The late Heath Ledger received Best Supporting Actor and WALL-E Best Animated Film. Less predictable was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button winning Best Visual Effects over The Dark Knight and Iron Man. Button also took Art Direction and Makeup, while The Dark Knight nabbed Sound Editing.

Slumdog Millionaire was the night’s biggest winner, with Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, both music awards and several others.

No big surprises in Oscar noms

Per usual, not too much for genre fans to get excited about. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which I suppose could classify as fantasy, sort of, had the most nods this year, including Best Picture and Actor. Heath Ledger is up for Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight, but the movie failed to get any other major nominations. It is up for the usual throw-them-a-bone categories of Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.

Wall-E did pretty good – it failed to get a Best Picture nod as many were hoping for, but it is up for Animated Film (duh,) Original Screenplay, Original Song, and several technical awards.

The Visual Effects category puts Benjamin Button up against The Dark Knight and ILM’s Iron Man.

UPDATE: StarWars.com has a full listing of all ILM and Skywalker Sound Oscar nominations, as well as BAFTA and VES nods.

Drive-by movie news: Avatar movie casting sparks ‘net rage, Scalzi’s best-of, Bat-rumors!

Fans up in arms over casting: M. Night Shyamalan is making a movie version of Nickelodeon’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the first casting choices were announced last week. The problem? Well, Avatar is set in an Asian-inspired world, with a multiethnic cartoon cast, and the live-action choices thus far are entirely caucasian. Naturally, fans are pissed.

(And since y’all would probably stone me if I didn’t include this, let’s not forget Avatar’s primary Star Wars connections: The Clone Wars’ Dave Filoni directed several episodes, while Mark Hamill voiced Fire Lord Ozai, the show’s ultimate antagonist.)

Harrison Ford on Barbara Walters’ Oscar show

Harrison Ford is among the stars that Barbara Walters will talk to on her Oscar Special. Expect lots of questions on Indiana Jones. The Barbara Walters Special will air February 24th at 7pm Eastern, just before the Oscars. (West Coast viewers can catch it after the show.)

UPDATE 02/25: Video is here.

ABC, gearing up for their Crystal Skull trailer debut, also take a look at Indy stars past and present in Indiana Jones: Then and Now.

Oscar nominations!

Yeah, I wrote that movie post at 4am knowing full well that the Academy Award nominations were coming out today. Clearly, I fail.

Anyway, some surprises. The one that knocked me over was Johnny Depp and Viggo Mortensen both up for Best Actor (For Sweeney Todd and Eastern Promises, respectively.) Cate Blanchett is up for both Actress categories for The Golden Age and I’m Not There. In Animated Feature, Ratatouille and Persepolis are going head to head.

As for actual genre releases, The Golden Compass is up for Art Direction, as well as battling ILM’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Transformers for Visual Effects. Transformers also got a Sound Editing nod, while At World’s End is up for Makeup.

Movie news: Oscar poster, WGA, Comic-Con

IMAGE: Oscar poster by Drew and Christian StruzanThe familiar hand of Drew Struzan (and son) is at work on the poster for the 80th annual Academy Awards poster. In other Oscar news, the show may be picketed if an agreement isn’t reached by February 24.