The Academy Award nominations have been announced.
It's ironic that the award ceremony dedicated to recognizing creative achievement is so uncreative. We're a long ways away from 1969, when the daring, edgy (and X-rated!) Midnight Cowboy was not only nominated for Best Picture, but won.
Not all the films nominated for major awards are poorly made or executed by any means. But, by and large, they're safe studio movies with stars. Fresh, independent, or experimental movies are typically given a token nomination for screenplay or one of the direction slots (as with David Lynch for Mulholland Drive in 2001 and Paul Greengrass's powerful United 93 this year).
The fact that Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed, both enjoyable but somewhat formulaic movies, got nominations for Best Picture while the haunting, unforgettable Children of Men was snubbed would be a mystery, but knowing the Oscars, it's hardly a surprise.