I've always found it ironic (and a little irritating) that the Oscar noms are announced during Sundance, forcing people who are already dealing with altitude nosebleeds and sleep deprivation to wake up early to see who's nominated for Hollywood's biggest annual self-congratulatory pat on the back. Fortunately for me, Monika very kindly dragged her own butt out of bed early to liveblog the noms so those of us who are holed up in the snow in Park City could sleep an extra hour.

This is the first year in a long time that I've felt a bit of excitement about the Oscar noms, because I woke up this morning to see that Juno ended up getting four noms -- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (for Ellen Page) and Best Screenplay. I know there are folks out there (some of them even work with me, but I won't name any names ... you know who you are) who totally disagree with me about Juno, but damn, I love that movie, and I'm glad to see the Oscar blue-hairs giving it some love. Whether it will actually win remains to be seen, but I'm happy just with the noms, and Fox Searchlight will certainly be able to milk the noms for all they're worth either way.

Here's the thing about Juno, for the surly nihilists and Diablo Cody/Jason Reitman haters out there: for a lot of people, that film just works. Say what you will about the dialogue being unrealistically snappy, or how it's not realistic that Juno didn't think about birth control (anyone who honestly believes that has forgotten what it's like to be a teenager), or that it's just a quirky little comedy but not that big a deal. Whatever. Juno has struck a chord with audiences. It's box office receipts are phenomenal, especially considering it was made for a few million bucks.

I knew from the energy at that first preview screening at Telluride that this film was going to be big; it out-buzzed every film at that veritable festival, and that is no small feat. I know people, myself included, who have watched it over and over again, and I very rarely watch any film multiple times. It's a very cozy sort of movie, like eating a pan of Stouffer's mac-and-cheese when you're feeling down, only not as likely to pad your ass with extra poundage. So, yay for Juno! Haters, you may now commence with the "I can't believe this movie got four Oscar noms, it's just a comedy" comments. Quick notes on other noms before I fly out the door here:

  • Very happy to see Once getting the love it didn't get from the damn Globes, with a nomination for "Falling Slowly," one of my favorite songs of the year. BUT. Three songs nominated from Enchanted, and only one from Once? Seriously? Somebody really loves them some Disney.
  • No huge surprises with the acting noms, though I'm glad to see Laura Linney in there for The Savages and Ruby Dee for American Gangster. I hadn't heard a lot of speculation on her getting a nom, so that one's a nice surprise.
  • Although I'm rooting for Juno for Best Screenplay, it's also very nice to see Lars and the Real Girl in there for that as well. That film was way underappreciated, and I would rather have seen Ryan Gosling up for Best Actor than Tommy Lee Jones.
  • I'm happy overall with the docs that ended up making the final cut. I really look for No End in Sight to win this one, but I'm glad to see Alex Gibney in there for Taxi to the Dark Side, and Sean Fine and Andrea Nix-Fine for War/Dance.
  • I'm probably going to be pissed about the Best Foreign situation until at least this time next year. Not having Persepolis or 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (much as I personally disliked that film) in the running for this award, to me just negates this category completely this year. Bah. The pigeon-holing of Persepolis into Best Animated is just annoying as hell. A pox on the foreign film committee for royally screwing this one up, and here's hoping the Academy finally gets off its ass and does something to fix that situation. Best Foreign has been a problem for years, and they need to fix it, pronto.