The Oscar nominations are out. There are some great surprises and some disappointing, yet expected nominations. Here's my take.
Best Supporting Actress
Penelope Cruz - I liked Nine, but she wasn't even the best supporting actress in her cast.
Vera Farmiga - I loved her in Up in the Air.
Maggie Gyllenhaal - I'm thrilled. She was phenomenal, and she's been shut out of other nominations for reasons I can't understand. I think she should win, but I doubt she will.
Anna Kendrick - I loved her in Up in the Air too.
MoNique - A disappointing sure thing. I thought she overacted for most of the film and had only one good scene (and it was fantastic). She'll win.
Left out: Samantha Morton for her phenomenal performance in The Messenger, Marion Cotillard for Nine and Julianne Moore for A Single Man.
Best Supporting Actor
Matt Damon - While I'm not surprised to see him here, and he was good, he didn't have much to do.
Woody Harrelson - I'd love to see him win for The Messenger.
Christopher Plummer- The Last Station doesn't open in Albany until Feb. 26.
Stanley Tucci - I need to see The Lovely Bones, but it's no surprise to see him here.
Christoph Waltz - He's won every other Best Supporting Actor award, and he'll win this one too.
Left out: Peter Sarsgaard for An Education.
Carey Mulligan - I really wish she had a shot to win.
It's either Meryl or Sandra.
Left out: Emily Blunt for Young Victoria.
Jeff Bridges - He'll win, and he was wonderful.
George Clooney - Clooney's best role and performance ever came in the wrong year.
Colin Firth - If I were voting, he'd have my vote. He was beyond brilliant in A Single Man.
Morgan Freeman - Despite a flawless performance as Mandela, the movie was lackluster, and the competition is stiff this year.
Jeremy Renner - The fifth nominee was a bit of a wildcard, and Renner was good, but not up to the caliber of the other four.
Left out: Ben Foster for The Messenger.
No surprises with these nominations. I'm pleased to see Lee Daniels for Precious, but I don't think anyone can beat James Cameron.
Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker - it was good, but if a war movie is going to win, it should be The Messenger.
Inglourious Basterds - I still think it's a bit of a crock to be in the original category, even though Tarantino changed the film he based the script on enough to satisfy the Academy
The Messenger - Hooray!
A Serious Man
I would love to see The Messenger win, but it won't.
Best Adapted Screenplay
In the Loop
Up in the Air
I would love to see Nick Hornby win for An Education, but I think Jason Reitman will win for Up in the Air.
Best Animated Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells - the surprise nominee will open in March
Left out: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Really, it's a two-film race: Fantastic Mr. Fox or Up.
Best Foreign Film
El Secreto do Sus Ojos
The White Ribbon - the almost guaranteed winner
The Milk of Sorrow
Avatar - Ugh.
The Blind Side - Yes, I will finally break down and see this film.
District 9 - a surprise nomination
An Education - Hooray!
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Up - animation broke through
Up in the Air
Left out: The Messenger and Crazy Heart. Avatar has no business in this category, but it's not a surprise.
Honestly, I'm pretty pleased. The best surprise was seeing Maggie Gyllenhaal finally get some appreciation for Crazy Heart. The biggest disappointment for me was The Messenger inexplicably getting shut out of Best Picture.
The Oscars will air March 7.