It has begun! Another Oscar season has kicked off and it looks like there will be a good mix of runaway favorites and neck-and-neck races.
Benjamin Button got the most nominations (13) with Slumdog Millionaire close behind with 10 (two of which are for Best Song). The big shocker was that Revolutionary Road, which was expected to make a big showing, ended up under-represented with only three nominations - none of them for lead acting, directing, writing, or picture. Instead, surprisingly, The Reader made a surprise showing, not only for Kate Winslet (up for Lead Actress, tdespite her campaigning in the Supporting category) but for Picture and Director, among others. Lots of people were rooting for The Dark Knight, which collected an impressive eight nominations, mostly in artistic and technical categories.
Two little independent films snuck in the door: the immigration drama Frozen River (up for two including Best Actress for Melissa Leo) and the excellent film The Visitor, which earned Richard Jenkins a nod for Best Actor.
As for the breakaways, Best Actor looks like Mickey Rourke's game to loose and Heath Ledger is poised to earn the second-ever posthumous acting Oscar. WALL-E is a shoo-in for Animated Feature, and Israel's Waltz With Bashir is poised to walk away with Foreign Language Film.