Okay, so there were some surprises. I underestimated the Academy's preference for WWII/Nazi-centered films, which partially accounts for The Reader getting nominations for Best Picture and Director. I disliked Stephen Daldry's last film (The Hours) and based on middling reviews, I've been ignoring The Reader, so now I guess I need to go see it.
Everybody figured The Dark Knight would get a Best Picture nomination, and we were all surprised, but I'm also glad that the throngs of rabid nerds who were expecting the Academy to validate their latest fetish object have been denied. That said, I think The Dark Knight is better than any of the three nominated films that I've seen, which means that, unusually, there isn't a single nominated film this year that I'm strongly in favor of, as has been the case in ever year for this last decade.
Otherwise, nominations that made me happy:
Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke for Best Actor (tough call here - but since Penn already has an Oscar, I'm rooting for Rourke).
Melissa Leo for Best Actress - a good performance in a film I figured would be overlooked.
Josh Brolin and Robert Downey Jr. for Supporting Actor - neither will win, but both are terrific performances that the Academy could have easily snubbed.
Penelope Cruz and Marisa Tomei for Supporting Actress - Now that Tomei has gotten her third Oscar nomination, we can probably retire the idea that her My Cousin Vinny win was a mistake.
In Bruges and Happy-Go-Lucky for Best Original Screenplay.
Encounters at the End of the World and Man on Wire for Best Documentary.
Alexandre Desplat for Best Score, and Wally Pfister for Cinematography.
My biggest disappointments: no nominations for Sally Hawkins, Rosemarie DeWitt, or Bruce Springsteen.
As for my predictions, I got 33 right out of 45 predictions (73% right).