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Soapbox: The 2007 Oscar Nominations

Ok, Dreamgirls didn't get nominated for Best Picture, and it really didn't deserve to be. Now, let's move on, shall we?

This year's Academy Award nominations run the gamut from painfully obviously (namely, the Best Actress and Supporting Actress categories) to totally — and thrillingly — up in the air. In fact, I can't remember a recent year when the Best Picture race was this tough to call. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the Academy's open-mindedness, and depending on how the winners shake out, the 2006 Oscars might just renew my faith in this ridiculous awards show.

But first, allow me to get a few things off my chest...

For once, I have an opinion about sound design, and it is apparently wrong

Pan's Labyrinth got a lot of love — including nominations for Best Foreign Film and Art Direction — but it was left out of the sound design and editing categories. Never before have I walked out of a movie and declared: "If that film doesn't win a sound Oscar, there is no god." Of course, I also know nothing about sound design.

The acting Nominations for The Departed are totally spot on.

I love it when the Academy recognizes scene-stealers over veterans, and Mark Wahlberg's performance really made this movie for me. Kudos to the Oscars for choosing Mark over Jack Nicholson being Jack again.

Yeah, maybe Leo deserved a nod for The Departed, but if he's even better in Blood Diamond, then it's silly to nominate him twice — especially when Forest Whitaker is probably going to win anyway.

Why does the Academy hate James Bond so much?

It's handing out technical awards left and right to the dreadful Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, while treating Casino Royale — with its astounding opening chase scene and crumbling Venetian building sequence — like an amateur entry.

For the rest of my rants,

Apparently, only film critics saw United 93.

This movie got so many damn critics' awards I thought it might sneak into the Best Picture race. Instead, the Academy chose to nominate the 9/11 flick in various other categories — including Directing and Editing — where it probably makes a lot more sense.

The Best Actor category pains me.

I can't even express an opinion on this one, because all of these guys pulled off Oscar-worthy acting. It's a shame, because Will Smith and Ryan Gosling both turned out career-defining performances, but neither has a chance against such heavy hitters.

But at least they didn't nominate Maggie Gyllenhaal.

I haven't seen Sherrybaby, and I'm sure Maggie is more passable in it than usual. But for a woman whose "acting" typically consists of smiling goofily and waving her arms around, I think it's wise to let her attempt a few more roles before we let an Oscar nomination go to her big round head.

The Bad News Bears is a breeding ground for greatness.

Not only did the original Bad News Bears feature fine performances by Tatum O'Neal and Walter Matthau, but it also launched the career of Jackie Earle Haley, who played bad-boy Kelly and just earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Little Children, which I still need to see. But seriously, The Bad News Bears is brilliant.

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