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Violence (sorta) snubbed at Oscars

Ending months of speculation that David Cronenberg's A History of Violence would represent Canada in this year's race for Oscar's Best Picture, the film failed to be nominated in the crucial category when the nominations were announced this morning. Cronenberg, too, was left off the list in the Best Director nominations.

The film managed to pick up a pair of nominations, for William Hurt's supporting performance, and John Olson's deft work adapting the original graphic novel into a feature film screenplay.

The Best Picture miss is going to hurt, though - the film was passed over in favour of nominations for Munich, Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Capote, and Good Night and Good Luck.

George Clooney came off as the big winner in the nominations, scoring hits for writing and directing Good Night and Good Luck, which also claimed a Picture nod. Syriana, which Clooney produced, scored nominations for original screenplay and for Clooney himself as best supporting actor.

And for the first time in a very long time, there were no "loose ends" in the director race - all five directors (Ang Lee, George Clooney, Paul Haggis, Steven Spielberg, and Bennett Miller) were nominated alongside their films in the Best Picture category.

The most baffling surprises include a (welcome) nomination for Batman Begins for cinematography, a Best Actress nod for up-and-coming ingenue Kiera Knightley for Pride & Prejudice, and a ridiculous snub for Revenge of the Sith's visual effects, which were easily the finest of the year, besting even King Kong (which was nominated).

Toronto had a lot to be proud of with Violence's celebrated run this year; it's too bad it had to end with a whimper rather than a bang. Nevertheless, Cronenberg has achieved a lot in the last six months, and his next project should be one of next year's must-sees.


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