It's That Time Again: 13 Reactions To The Oscar Nominations
My batting average for nomination predictions was a not-bad .650. Lemme put on my film geek coke bottle glasses...

1. Kudos to the Academy for nominating the year’s actual best picture for Best Picture! Lost In Translation has no good chance of winning any of its four nods except for Best Original Screenplay, although Bill Murray vs. Sean Penn (for Mystic River) could be the year’s trickiest showdown.

2. Notice how the two films with the most nominations (11 for The Return Of The King, 10 for Master and Commander) received absolutely no acting nods? Russell Crowe, your film is a hit, but that tantrum from two years back is gonna haunt you for many years to come.

3. Best Surprise: Multiple nods for City of God. Controversial foreign films that people tend to either totally love or deeply loathe rarely get this sort of recognition. A must-see once it comes out on DVD next month.

4. Nearly as good: I actually like all five Best Original Song nods, especially those from The Triplets of Belleville and A Mighty Wind (ah, if only “Stonehenge” from This Is Spinal Tap could’ve been recognized back in ’84.)

5. Pleasantly Unexpected: Acting nods for Kiesha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) and Samantha Morton and Djimon Hounson (both for In America—but where’s Paddy Considine?) Also, Johnny Depp’s first-ever nom (for Pirates of The Caribbean) nearly makes up for ignoring Jamie Lee Curtis’ hilarious turn in Freaky Friday.

6. Worst Surprise: No love whatsoever for Scarlet Johannson, even with two films and two categories in contention. Oh well, she’s young.

7. Other deserving actors besides Scarlet, Jamie Lee, and Paddy who got the shaft: Peter Sarsgaard (Shattered Glass), Sean Astin and nearly everyone else in The Return Of The King, Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), Sarah Polley (My Life Without Me), the entire cast of The Station Agent, Hope Davis and Paul Giamatti (American Splendor), Jack Black (School of Rock), and last but not least, the best cartoon voice-over performance ever, Ellen DeGeneres (Finding Nemo).

8. No nod for Nicole Kidman is nearly as pleasing as no nod for Crowe. Well, Dogville (or The Stepford Wives!) might put her in the running next year.

9. Deserving films that were snubbed entirely: The Station Agent, Raising Victor Vargas, Shattered Glass, Elephant and Gerry (Harris Savides should’ve received a cinematography nod for at least one of ‘em), All The Real Girls, The Secret Lives of Dentists, Swimming Pool, and last but not least, Kill Bill Volume One, which I enjoyed, but apparently it’s a long, long way from the heady days of Pulp Fiction.

10. This year’s Y Tu Mama Tambien Memorial Award for brilliant film that got one measly Screenplay nod goes to American Splendor.

11. Notice how the three films nominated for both Makeup and Visual Effects have lengthy titles with colons in them? Is that what prevented the Academy from nominating two more films in each category?

12. Nuttiest nomination in a single category goes to Brother Bear for Animated Feature Film. The Triplets of Belleville deserves it, and Finding Nemo was expected, but why Brother Bear? Because it’s friggin Disney?

13. Saving grace: Since it was passed over for Best Picture, I won’t ever have to see The Last Samurai (or ponder the horror of a thankfully snubbed Tom Cruise winning an Oscar for it, comparing the film’s philosophy to his beloved Scientology as he accepts the statuette).