So Oscar loved Dreamgirls…sorta. The musical snagged 8 nominations which is impressive enough…it is the most for any nominee this year…but 3 of those are all in the same category (Best Original Song for “Listen”, “Love You I Do”, and “Patience”) which will probably split the vote enough to allow Randy Newman (nominated for “Our Town” from Cars) or Melissa Etheridge (getting the nod for “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth) to take that award.
Dreamgirls did pick up expected Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress nominations for Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson respectively.
Dreamgirls failed to join the group of Best Picture nominees which, instead, features Golden Globe winner Babel (which picked 7 nominations including two Best Supporting Actress nods) along with The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine (which also picked up Supporting Actor and Actress nods for wily vet Alan Arkin and young Abigail Breslin), and The Queen.
Four of the Best Director nominees come from those movies: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel), Stephen Frears (The Queen), perennial Oscar hopeful Martin Scorsese (The Departed…a 6th loss would put Marty in a dubious category all his own), and Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima…and the guy who denied Scorsese the last time they were both in this category: Eastwood taking the statuette with Million Dollar Baby while Scorsese and The Aviator went un-rewarded.) Little Miss Sunshine directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris were snubbed in this category in favor of United 93’s Paul Greengrass.
The oft-nominated (this is number 14 with 2 previous wins) Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) is among the Best Actress nominees along with Penelope Cruz (Volver), Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal), Kate Winslett (Little Children), and odds-on favorite Helen Mirren (The Queen).
Front-runner Forrest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) leads a Best Actor field that includes Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond), veteran Peter O’Toole (Venus…his 8th nomination without a win thus far…another dubious record that might lead the often-sentimental Academy to make him a surprise “upset” winner), Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness), and semi-surprise nominee Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson).
Cultural phenomenon Borat had to settle for a Best Adapted Screenplay nod.
In a year when there seemingly dozens of animated movies the category still only features 3 nominees: Cars, Happy Feet, and Monster House.
The Academy Awards will be handed out on February 25th in a ceremony hosted by Ellen Degeneres.