For me the most entertaining part of the annual Oscar schpiel is not seeing which films get awards and what actors earn the most respect; it's scratching my head through the boneheaded decisions that seem to come a) out of nowhere and b) from a bunch of people who really ought to know a little better. Here are my picks for the seven biggest pieces of silliness regarding this year's Oscar nominations:

7. Borat for best adapted screenplay? Whaaaaat? Did we see the same movie? Don't get me wrong: I absolutely LOVED this movie -- I called it "one of the funniest movies ever made" and I stand by that opinion today -- but didn't most of the funniest bits come from moments best described as "off the cuff," "reaction-driven" and "semi-improvised"? I understand that more of the flick was scripted than one might expect, but c'mon. Unless all of Borat's interview subjects were given lines to read, I really don't see how this nomination makes any sense. I love seeing the movie get some respect, but what a silly way to do it.

6. Click gets nominated for best makeup ... but Pirates of the Caribbean 2 does not? What the hell? Did any of the Academy members see this movie? Yeah, I know that most of the more dazzling FX were full-bore CGI, but heck; the makeup used on Naomie Harris was more impressive than anything in freakin' Click! Fat suits and really lame "old man" makeup is all it takes to get an Oscar nom these days? Sheesh. Plus I just don't like living in a world that calls Click an Oscar nominee.

5. Nominating The Devil Wears Prada for Best Costume Design is like nominating Talladega Nights for Best Product Placement. Welcome to the world of Home Shopping Cinema. 4. I understand that probably 91% of all animated films are of the "family friendly" variety, but how is this particular medium supposed to gain any respect if films like A Scanner Darkly can't even get a nomination? I don't even think it's all that excellent of a movie, but surely the Academy could be a little more forward-thinking than handing three meaningless nominations to three more kiddie flicks. Their arbitrary rules that dictate why only three films can get nominated make no freakin' sense at all. And if the voters really think Cars is one of the best animated films of the year, they're just coasting on the fumes from Pixar's past.

3. Philip Glass' Notes on a Scandal overwrought tinkling nets a nomination for Best Score ... and Clint Mansell's phenomenal music for The Fountain goes completely overlooked. Sad.

2. Love the guy to death, but I can't believe the Academy fell for Will Smith's blatant tear-jerking panderism in The Pursuit of Happyness. (Fortunately, the award will go to Peter O'Toole ... and if it doesn't then there's something seriously wrong with this system.)

1. The fact that Children of Men was not nominated for Best Picture is complete and absoloute proof positive that the Academy voters are lazy, clueless or both. Here's a film that is very intelligent, entertaining, creative and audacious, packed with amazing cinematography, special effects, sound design and editing tricks, boasting a handful of truly excellent performances and a screenplay that has something fascinating to say ... yet never stoops to preaching or handing out empty platitudes. People will still be talking about Children of Men in 20 years, but apparently it's not good enough to be considered one of the year's five best films. Oh, but Babel is. Puh-leeze.

Where do you think the Academy went wrong?
categories Awards, Cinematical