There are a few good reasons to hate on the Satellite Awards. First of all, we really don't need any more end of the year movie and television honors. Second of all, the Satellites seem to be little more than a knock-off of the Golden Globes, which are already pretty unnecessary. Third, they happen way too early, missing out on seeing and thereby qualifying perhaps the biggest film of the year (Avatar).

But over the years I've come to appreciate the Satellites and their bestowing organization, the International Press Academy, for their constant surprises when it comes to nominating and awarding unlikely films and talent. Just look at some of last year's acting winners: Richard Jenkins; Rosemarie DeWitt; Ricky Gervais; Michael Shannon.

Now check out this year's nominees, which continue to prove that IPA voters like to go at least slightly against the grain. Okay, so there are a lot of predictable titles in the lot, including Up in the Air and Nine, which leads with 11 nominations. Yet there are some films I don't expect to be recognized by the Golden Globes, let alone the Oscars, such as The Maid and The Stoning of Soraya M., both of which feature in the Best Actress (Drama) category.