The headline for an article in The Los Angeles Times January31, written by Dean Goodman was, "Oscar makes Johnny Cash movie walk the plank." I thought it was so clever that I'm using an edited version as the title for this post. Many fans are disappointed, and there are those who will put forth reasons WALK THE LINE was slighted for a Best Picture nomination.
One was postulated by Joel Siegel on Good Morning America immediately after the nominations were read. He said something to the effect that he, and some other critics, have noted that the acting is the driving force of the film. By checking my Awards Page, I find at least seven Best Actress awards won by Reese Witherspoon, including a Golden Globe, Critics' Choice, and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award. Now, that's impressive.
The film, on the other hand, has won only one major award as Best Picture, a Golden Globe. The reason it was able to win the Globe is that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that runs the awards has two separate categories, Best Dramatic and Best Musical Film. That is the second, and major, reason it was not nominated for Best Picture by the members of AMPAS®. Musical films have always been forced to play second fiddle in the Oscar® race.
The Academy refuses to add a Best Musical category for the Oscars, which many feel it needs to do. If there had been such a category for the past decades, perhaps new movie musicals would be abundant today. Only recently did AMPAS add the Best Animated Film category, and that took a ten-year fight. The Best Musical category should have been added in the 1960's. It is probably too late for a musical film category.
WALK THE LINE did receive five nominations: Best Performance by an Actor in a leading role (Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash), Best Performance by an actress in the leading role (Reese Witherspoon as June Cash); Costume Design; Film Editing; and Sound Mixing.
All these nominations came from AMPAS members who are members of guilds. They are the ones who make all the so-called "craft" nominations, including the directing and writing awards. Only the Best Picture nomination is voted upon by the entire membership. Of course, the entire membership votes for all final awards.