Well the nominations have been announced and those looking for surprises are happy this morning. The Grouches did get at least one nasty surprise.

Dark Knight Debacle

I was expecting the Academy to screw up and skip over Dark Knight for Best Picture. I thought Christopher Nolan had a better shot at Director. But the huge surprise was no Adapted Screenplay nomination. Four of the five Best Picture nominees were nominated in that category with the fifth slot going to Doubt. That’s a pretty shoddy film to be passed over for.

On the other hand, it got nominated in every technical category it was eligible for besides Score and Costume for a total of 8 nominations (including Supporting Actor Heath Ledger).

The Winslet Conundrum

Kate Winslet was aiming for Lead Actress in Revolutionary Road and Supporting in The Reader despite both roles probably being lead. She won these categories at the Globes. But the Academy puts her in the Lead role for The Reader and nothing for Road.

So we can play the what if game. Rules in the acting categories state an actor cannot: a) be nominated more than once in the same category, nor b) be nominated twice for the same role. If those rules were removed I would not be surprised if Winslet qualified for Lead for both roles AND Supporting for The Reader. When something like this happens the Academy goes with the role that got the most support and that apparently was Lead for The Reader.

Hooray for Little Movies!

My happiest moment came with the announcement of Richard Jenkins for Actor in The Visitor. Melissa Leo also managed an Actress nod for Frozen River when it seemed like her chances were fading. The biggest out of nowhere surprise may be that film’s Original Screenplay nomination.

Leo’s inclusion may have meant Sally Hawkins’s exclusion for Happy-Go-Lucky but that film still managed an Original Screenplay nod. And that interesting category ALSO includes the wonderful In Bruges. Plus WALL-E, which no one would call a little movie. Those interesting nominations pushed out films like Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Burn After Reading, however.

Long shots Darren Aronofsky and the film itself for Best Picture didn’t pan out, but at least Marisa Tomei was able to join co-star Mickey Rourke as an acting nominee for The Wrestler. That’s great, though the film really should have gotten a screenplay nod. And Bruce Springsteen’s exclusion for Song is downright confounding.

Other Surprises

I’m not complaining, but it was widely expected Dev Patel to get a Supporting Actor nomination for Slumdog Millionaire and he did not. Instead Michael Shannon from Revolutionary Road snuck in from way back in the pack to give the film its only major nomination.

Another puzzling exclusion was Waltz with Bashir in the Animated Feature category. The animated, foreign-language documentary was nominated for Foreign Language Film and ineligible for Documentary Feature. Kung Fu Panda and Bolt join WALL-E as Animated Feature nominees. After the near unanimous love for the film its absence is quite surprising.

So Jared got his wish for some surprises but managed to be nearly completely wrong in his predictions.

Some other prediction notes after the jump.

Awards Daily had a “No Guts No Glory” round up yesterday and it’s amazing how many of those picks ended up being right or having a kernel of truth. Editor Sasha Stone’s picks:

The Dark Knight is nominated only for Supporting Actor (after which, semi-notable Oscar blogger jumps out of a fifth story window).
Jonathan Demme is nominated for Rachel Getting Married
Kate Winslet is shut out of both lead and supporting.

And EW’s Dave Karger:

1. The Reader or Gran Torino sneak into Best Picture over The Dark Knight.
2. Richard Jenkins bumps Brad Pitt out of Best Actor.
3. Melissa Leo snags Angelina Jolie’s Best Actress slot.
4. Voters ignore Kate Winslet’s supporting-actress campaign and nominate her for Best Actress for The Reader, leaving Revolutionary Road out of the acting races completely.
5. Dev Patel scores a Best Actor nod instead of landing in the supporting category.
6. The Dark Knight trumps The Reader in the adapted-screenplay race.
7. Doubt scores four acting nods after all, as Amy Adams pushes Taraji P. Henson out of supporting actress.
8. Happy-Go-Lucky’s Mike Leigh displaces Ron Howard or Gus Van Sant in Best Director.
9. Milk takes two supporting-actor slots and leaves Robert Downey, Jr., in the cold.
10. Slumdog Millionaire tops Benjamin Button and scores the most overall nominations.

Two of those are dead-on and another five that are very nearly true, usually just getting wrong who gets overlooked.

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