"Into the Wild" out in the cold at Oscars

Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:10pm EST
 
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Harvey Weinstein can put away his shotgun. But Sean Penn might want to borrow it.

The movie studio boss had promised to "shoot myself" if Cate Blanchett did not get an Oscar nomination for her supporting role as Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There."

As expected, the Australian actress made the cut when nominations were announced on Tuesday.

But Penn's latest directing turn, "Into the Wild," was a major casualty. The true-life adventure saga scored just two nominations -- for veteran 82-year-old actor Hal Halbrook's supporting role and for editing.

Many pundits had expected it to receive a nod for best director and possibly also for best picture, actor (Emile Hirsch) and supporting actress (Catherine Keener). Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder's haunting tunes were considered a shoo-in for best song, especially after he won a Golden Globe.

The film, based on the book by Jon Krakauer, follows the trek of Christopher McCandless, a college graduate who fled his materialistic life and ended up in Alaska to commune with nature. He died of starvation in the frozen wilderness.

Penn spent a decade persuading McCandless' family to let him make the film. That sort of personal quest usually plays well with Academy voters, said Rolling Stone magazine movie critic Peter Travers.

"It's the best movie he's ever directed," Travers added.   Continued...

 
<p>Director and actor Sean Penn poses at the premiere of "Into the Wild" at Leicester Square during the London film festival October 25, 2007. Penn's latest directing turn, "Into the Wild," scored just two Oscar nominations -- for veteran 82-year-old actor Hal Halbrook's supporting role and for editing. REUTERS/Anthony Harvey</p>