ART DIRECTION. Why do I keep seeing Finding Neverland everywhere I turn? Did I miss something? All of the other films deserve to be here (that is Long Engagement, Phantom, Aviator, and Lemony Snicket.) Too bad The Incredibles didn't squeeze in here... or Kill Bill: Vol. 2, or even The Terminal. Aviator wins.
CINEMATOGRAPHY. A good list. Caleb Deschanel for The Passion (bad movie, but beautifully shot.) Zhao Xiaoding for House of Flying Daggers, the awesome Bruno Delbonnel for A Very Long Engagement, and John Mathieson for Phantom. I probably would've passed on Robert Richardson for Aviator, but the Academy is crazy for it, so... whatever. Please also note the absence of Tom Stern for Baby. Maybe he should spend his time buying a few more light bulbs. Winner could be Xiaoding, but will probably be Richardson again. Bleh.
COSTUME. Also a fine list. My favorite inclusion is the costuming for Troy, which was excellent even though the film was really bad. Bob Ringwood deserved this nomination, and hasn't been nominated since Empire of the Sun! Geez. Other nominees: Lemony Snicket (excellent), Ray (excellent), Finding Neverland (sick of reading this name, and the costumes were nothing better than what Beavan and Bright were doing in the 1980s), and Aviator (again.) Does Neverland take this one or does Sandy Powell win again?
EDITING. Don't care. Collateral is there at least. Expect Aviator to win.
FX. Don't really care. Hellboy wuz robbed for makeup.
SOUND. A good list.
SCREENPLAYS. Good lists all around, I think. I am very happy to see the inclusion of Motorcycle Diaries and Vera Drake. And I actually haven't seen Before Sunset (gasp!) Once again I could do without all the Neverland nonsense. I would've favored Garden State, personally, as well as The Door in the Floor and The Sea Inside. Smart money would bet on Sideways and Sunshine.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE. I was in shock that House of Flying Daggers wasn't on the list, but then, I didn't really like the film, so I can't complain about that. Les Choristes and Sea Inside were easy picks and are good films. Downfall is about Hitler (of course they nominated it: they're obsessed). I've no idea what the Swedish film is about, but Sweden's films always intrigue me. Yesterday is South Africa's first submission ever and the nomination is a coup for that country. Sea Inside should win this one, but who knows?
ANIMATED FEATURE. Shark Tale?!?!?!? That movie sucked. Whatever. The Incredibles is gonna win anyway, so who cares? It just surprises me because Polar Express got so many other nominations. Hmm.
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE. IS A FUCKING TRAVESTY and no mistake. This is the only category to really piss me off. I can't believe they nominated John Williams AGAIN for ANOTHER Harry Potter movie. I liked the movie and I liked his score (vast improvements on Sorcerer's Stone) don't get me wrong, but does he really need another nomination when you choose to flat out IGNORE important musical contributers like Michael Giacchino's fabulous score for The Incredibles and Alexandre Desplat's gorgeous score for Birth?!?!?! Also ignored: Marcelo Zarvos's beautiful score for The Door in the Floor, Gustavo Santaolalla's intriguing score for Motorcycle Diaries and Alberto Iglesias for Bad Education. WHAT THE FUCK? Instead, we get Finding Neverland AGAIN, The Passion of the Christ, Lemony Snicket (the score is good but by no means amazing) and James Newton Howard's score for The Village?!??!?! This just makes me mad. I don't even care who wins this one, but I guess I'll root for John Debney. Expect Kaczmarak to win.
Then we come to BEST ORIGINAL SONG, where order seems restored. Two of the songs are in foreign languages (!) It's like the people who nominate the songs are actually doing their work and figuring out which songs really are the best. This is almost as good as last year's lineup. This category used to be a category of shame and it's becoming one with actual principles. Hmm. I am sad that Wyclef Jean's song for Hotel Rwanda didn't make it. I love that tune. My favorite of the nominees is "Voir sur Ton Chemin" from Les Choristes. "Believe" from Polar Express, I guess.
That's it for me. I take the good with the bad. Your invitations to the party are in the (e-)mail.