I have always had the thought that when the Academy started to turn it's nose up at recognizing blockbuster movies as worthy of nomination is when they started going downhill, both in prestige and television audience numbers. Looking at the list as it stands, I am disappointed The Dark Knight could not get a nomination for Best Picture, simply because of what it has done as far as redefining an entire genre of movie (Superhero) and the overall quality and commercial success of it. Before Dark Knight, Superhero movies were given a pass for believability and quality of acting and script. Post Dark Knight, the same old Spiderman/Incredible Hulk crap WILL NOT be acceptable. The pressure is on now for studios to make not only good Superhero movies, but good movies, period. All of my Marvel friends hate what they have done with the Spiderman franchise as it is, and I laughingly tell them that I don't know how it feels because DC has always invested so much in Batman. These are the fruits of DC's labor. I also hope and pray that the Academy does not lose it's collective mind (any further) by not give the Best Supporting Actor nod to Heath Ledger for his incredible portrayal of the 3rd worst (best) villain of all time (only beaten by Satan and Darth Vader). Posthumous or not, Heath DESERVES the golden statue for immersing himself and bringing something completely new to the table when the vast majority of people at this point had written off the role of the Joker in their mind as never being better portrayed then by Jack Nicholson.
For the first time in years, I have seen a good number of the movies up for the major categories this year. For Best Animated Feature, mail it in, zip it shut, WAll-E is walking away with the prize. Easiest award decision in years. Pixar did it again. They told an absolutely marvelous and socially convicting story with a robot that has a 5 word vocabulary (EVVVVVVVV-A).
I'm jumping around here as far as categories, but I think the definite frontrunners for Original Score has to be Button and Wall-E. Best Original Song, one of the Slumdog Millionaire. Best Film Editing, probably Button or Frost Nixon although Dark Knight was very good as well. Dark Knight for Cinematography, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing (Lol I'm biased). Button easily for best Makeup. Dark Knight or Iron Man for Best Visual Effects, probably Iron Man because of more explosions (whatever makes you happy, Marvel fans). Probably Frost Nixon for Best Adapted Screenplay. And for the big prize, I think Benjamin Button walks away with Best Picture.