As the dust settles on the 2008 Oscar nominations, I thought it was time for a look back at some of the eyebrow raising choices the Academy has made in its 81 years of handing out shiny prizes. Actually, that's kind of a lie -- I was bored on Saturday night and decided to watch Thunderbolt and Lightfooton Hulu. I have this dorky habit of looking up film trivia on IMDB whenever I've watched a movie -- and there I was amazed to learn that a baby-faced Jeff Bridges had been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1974 for this offbeat film. That knowledge kind of blew me away. He was good, certainly, but Oscar worthy? It must have been a weak year or something.

Er, no. 1974 gave us Chinatown, The Godfather Part II, Murder on the Orient Express, Young FrankensteinandBlazing Saddles, The Great Gatsby, and much, much more. Thus, I'm still perplexed as to why Bridges was nominated. He was up against Fred Astaire for Towering Inferno, and the Godfather II triple punch of Michael V. Gazzo, Lee Strasberg, and Robert DeNiro. DeNiro won, obviously and famously -- so was Bridges just thrown in there to make it look fair? Maybe I'm completely missing something, but I'm blown away that the Academy scoured the choices (particularly the comedic ones -- Madeline Kahn was up for Blazing Saddles, why not Gene Wilder?) and said "Jeff Bridges for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot!"