The 80th Annual Academy Awards nominations came down today, and while there’s serious doubt that the awards ceremony we’ve known and… well, I won’t say loved, but at least appreciated, won’t be the same this year in light of this never-ending WGA strike (I’m firmly on the side of the writers, just for the record – funny how writers are now suddenly the most important aspect of life in the entertainment industry), this past year has been a pretty good one for movies.

I won’t go into a huge post here about my personal favourites, but I’ll just list off a few choices I’m personally rooting for.

Best Picture – No Country For Old Men. This film is, quite possibly, one of the best films I’ve seen in some time. Relentlessly bleak and truly haunting for days after seeing it, No Country is immaculately written, acted and shot. It’s a breathtaking work and it’s hard to deny this film the honour it deserves.

Best Actor – Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises. I have a soft spot for Viggo after LOTR and A History Of Violence, but really, he’s absolutely note-perfect in Eastern Promises. I know it’s pretty hard to deny Daniel-Day Lewis yet another Oscar for his insanely brilliant work in There Will Be Blood, but come on – Viggo’s take on a Russian mobster has to be recognized. He’s been snubbed once too often.

Best Actress – Ellen Page, Juno. Oh Ellen. You were just so on top of your game in Juno it is your performance that holds that masterpiece of a film together. And yes, Julie Christie was excellent in Away From Her (thanks Academy for ignoring Gordon Pinsent and giving George Clooney yet another nomination… seriously, what was that? I like George Clooney but come on, Pinsent deserved at the very least a nomination) but just because it is Julie Christie doesn’t mean she gets a free pass.

Best Supporting Actor – Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men. As much as I would love to give Casey Affleck this award, Bardem’s performance is already the stuff of legend. If he doesn’t win this, it will be a major upset.

Best Supporting Actress – Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There. To witness the virtually perfect performance of Blanchett as Jude Quinn in I’m Not There is to witness the heart and soul of that film. She’s exceptional, bar none. While she’ll be fending off some serious competition from Amy Ryan and Tilda Swinton, I think it has to go to Blanchett here.

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