First, here's the always-provocative Nikki Finke's article on this morning's Academy Award nominations: http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/nominations-for-81st-academy-awards-this-am/
My take on two of the most notable omissions from the list:
1. The Academy rightly judged Clint Eastwood's GRAN TORINO as just-average formula filmmaking that marked an end to Clint's run of quality pix from MYSTIC RIVER to (some will argue with me on this) CHANGELING. If Clint had truly wanted a plausible shot at a Best Actor nomination/win, he wouldn't have turned down the lead in Paul Haggis' IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH (Tommy Lee Jones gave a fine performance in the role).
2. I'm a bit annoyed at the Academy's music branch for only giving three nominees for Best Song--one of them a semi-forgettable end-credits Peter Gabriel number from WALL-E and two from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Nothing against SLUMDOG (which now looks like a lock for a Best Picture win), but Bruce Springsteen's low-key end-credits song for THE WRESTLER (which can be heard on his soon-t0-be-released album WORKING ON A DREAM) was too good to ignore. It appears that the Academy wants only upbeat, ennobling fare which can make for big production numbers--unfortunately.
And congratulations to the documentary branch for nominating Werner Herzog's criminally underseen Antarctica documentary feature ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Highly recommended as a DVD rental--get the Blu-Ray version if you can.