The town once labeled as "isolated" by Ben Lyons due to its lack of direct social communication with the celebrities they refer to as actors and filmmakers threw their hat into the awards ring this morning. And as a member and Vice President of the group, I could not be prouder. The Chicago Film Critics Association announced the nominees for their 22nd Annual Awards and it was an interesting mix of old favorites and some long lost friends. Old referring to the nominees that have been burning up the lists since the weekend and a few welcome wrinkles to hopefully shake up the monotony a little. Leading the nominees with six is one of the many awards favorites, Jason Reitman's Up In The Air. But hold on just a moment. It has a co-pilot. Also riding a wave of six nominations is Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, which divided critics upon its release between those that loved it and others who forgot all their crabbing about wanting intelligent kid's pictures.

Joining both films in the Best Picture race from Chicago are Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (each with five nominations) and Joel & Ethan Coen's A Serious Man with 4. Just 25 of Chicago's last 45 nominations have received an Oscar nod and even with a traditional 5-pic race, at least three of these choices would be looking like prime fodder. With ten slots to fill, like most critic's groups, these percentages are bound to begin a steady increase. A Serious Man is currently hovering around the bottom of the Oscar list for Best Picture and Where the Wild Things Are is still an underdog at best. Will other groups follow suit to hopefully make the Academy take notice?