It is not January 22nd, it is Oscar first, 2009.
It's the movie month that will last 30 days. Fans may be distracted by minor things like the return of Lost, another awards show, and some football game.
They all know that the most important date is the last day of Oscar, which some mortals see as February 22nd. It's the date we know who is the best movie of all.
So, what have we learned?
Well, Miley Cyrus isn't vying for Oscar gold, but neither are Mariah Carey and Bruce Springsteen.
We know Kate Winslet won't be a double nominee, but will have a tough road to finally breaking her losing streak. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway, for starters. Angeline Jolie? Hmmm.... Still, seeing her finally get the little gold man will make great TV.
We know a movie based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story has won big, along with the story of a very lucky poor guy from Mumbai.
We know Oscar doesn't buy comic books, at least not when it comes to the major awards.
We know that it's possible someone could win gold for one heck of a scene with Meryl Streep.
We know the show will honor two comeback stories, but they may not win.
We know it's a showdown between Nixon, Harvey Milk, an ageless wonder, a wrestler and a visitor.
We also know it's not exactly coincidence that some of the Best Picture nominees will get wide releases tomorrow.
And....we know Wall*E will dominate the Best Animated Movie category.
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire. Just because Benjamin Button got a ton of money compared to the others doesn't mean it's automatic. Besides, who will vote against a story of a guy who emerges from a latrine...the deepest part...to be a millionaire? Dark Horse: Button, because it's just like Forrest Gump
Best Actor: Frank Langella. He's conquered every medium with his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. He'll actually have a close race against Sean Penn. I really doubt Mickey Rourke will pull it off because The Wrestler is a tough movie to see, especially where he has his match with Necro Butcher. Oscar voters are a squeamish lot. That being said, Rourke is my dark horse.
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, but take this with a grain of salt. I missed the chance to see Rachel Getting Married and Anne Hathaway. I didn't see Frozen River, either. From the ones I did see. It looks like a battle between Street and Winslet, and there will be a big movement to give Kate her due. I was actually surprised they put her up for Best Actress, but her portrayal of Hanna is more complex than the unhappy housewife she was in Revolutionary Road. Dark horse is Hathaway, though.
Best Supporting Actor: why so serious? There's no question who will get this. Heath will be smiling with Peter Finch, somewhere out there.
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis. Just see her scene with Streep in Doubt, where Mrs. Muller pleads with Sister Aloysius to let her boy stay in school even if a priest may be, possibly be, molesting him. It will break your heart. Besides, I call the precedent of Beatrice Straight in Network. Dark horse: Penelope Cruz for Vicki Christina Barcelona. She's quite the nutty ex-wife here.
I am also surprised The Reader got so many nominations. The story of a woman who faces war crimes, and the boy who has to face her past, was very good. It really broke my heart how it all played out. I should go back to see it again. I was also surprised Michael Shannon got a Best Supporting Actor nod for Revolutionary Road. Oscar voters must have a lot of guts ignoring the blistering performances by Winsley and Leonardo DiCaprio. Maybe they were too uncomfortable to be rewarded because it is one tough movie to see, but worth it. Maybe they also thought they didn't want what they thought was Mad Men, the movie. Oh, and why three songs this year? They didn't want to reward Bruce Springsteen for "The Wrestler"? It looks like Slumdog Millionaire could get this category, mainly for the closing song.
There's also a lot of criticism over the choices for Best Foreign Film. Some have suggested a Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In, should have made the final cut. The story of a lonely boy and the vampire next door, from what I hear, blows Twilight away. I am going to see this movie Saturday. If I had to choose, it looks like The Class against Waltz with Bashir. The latter movie could have also made Best Animated Feature but there wasn't enough releases to justify five nominees.
So, let the speculation, and the protests for the snubbed, begin.