That's the sound of the hype machine crashing to the ground as "Dreamgirls" failed to score in the top category, best picture. It's the first time that the most nominated film--and "Dreamgirls" earned eight total--didn't earn a best picture nomination.
That was just one of a few surprises revealed when the 79th Annual Academy Award nominations were announced early Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills.
The nominations for "Dreamgirls" included the predictable and worthy supporting acting nods for Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy. And three of its nominations came in the best original song category. But besides the film itself, Bill Condon was not recognized for his direction or his adapted screenplay.
Condon has some good company in the snub categories, including Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson and Sacha Baron Cohen, all of whom failed to win acting nominations. Among those who earned surprise acting nominations were Abigail Breslin, who played the pageant hopeful Olive in "Little Miss Sunshine," and Mark Wahlberg for "The Departed."
Here's a look at what voters got right and what deserves a recount. Oh, and by the way, the awards will be handed out during a live ABC telecast on Feb. 25 with Ellen DeGeneres as host.
Mark Wahlberg beat out all the heavy hitters--including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon--to become the only actor from "The Departed" nominated. This could be because Wahlberg provided the only comic relief in a tough movie, or just because Academy voters are still feeling Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations."
Abigail Breslin's sweet performance as Olive put the "Little Miss" in "Little Miss Sunshine," with one especially tearful scene some actresses nearly twice her age couldn't pull off (this means you, Hilary Duff). She was far from guaranteed a nomination, but the Academy likes to shine some light on up-and-coming performers with acting chops well beyond their age.
Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for best actor for "Blood Diamond," not "The Departed." Though voters prefer the actor's South African jewel smuggler to his tough-guy Boston cop, Leo can rest assured: No one called him "cute" in either role.
Ryan Gosling's best actor nomination for "Half Nelson" was somewhat predicted by other awards nominations he's received. But it still is surprising, considering that he's being recognized for such a small, mostly unseen movie the Academy doesn't normally notice. Nice job, Oscar!
"Letters from Iwo Jima" earned a best director nod for Clint Eastwood and a best picture nomination. It may not be the popular best picture choice among audiences, but it's a better movie than "Dreamgirls." And along with "Babel," that makes two movies largely in other languages nominated for the prize. Time to get over your aversion to subtitles, people!
Brad Pitt wasn't recognized for his understated, moving work in "Babel," perhaps because of the multiple impressive performances in a big, ensemble-driven film. Or voters have simply lost track of Pitt in all the Bradgelina hoopla.
In a year with a total of one really good animated movie, that flick, "Flushed Away," isn't up for best animated feature. Instead, we have below-Pixar-standard "Cars," eerily computer-animated "Monster House," and "Happy Feet," which proves that cute, dancing penguins can get away with anything.
Uptight, vulnerable and funny all at once, Emily Blunt's performance as the psycho assistant to Meryl Streep's psycho boss in "The Devil Wears Prada" deserved attention, but she was overlooked. Hopefully, she got to keep her wardrobe from the film.
Sacha Baron Cohen didn't play Borat; he became Borat. But Oscar didn't notice. This wasn't a surprise, as the Oscars typically steer clear of comedy and aren't as happy to push the envelope as the Golden Globes, which awarded Cohen the best actor in a musical or comedy prize. Cohen did get an adapted screenplay nomination.
No love for Michael Sheen in "The Queen"? His portrayal of Tony Blair is worthy of a nomination, and not just because his name rhymes with the movie.
Nearly all of the nominees in the best actress and best supporting actress categories went just as everyone predicted, and Helen Mirren and Jennifer Hudson are locks for "The Queen" and "Dreamgirls," respectively. Where's the suspense?