This is, in my opinion, one of the best lineups I've seen out of the HFPA nominations. I just love the surprises (comments below)! Here are the nominees (with results of my predictions and some comments):
BEST MOTION PICTURE - DRAMA (3/5)
Bobby's the small surprise (it was always a tough contender), but I haven't seen it yet so I can't comment.
BEST ACTRESS - DRAMA (4/5)
Penelope Cruz (Volver)
Judi Dench (Notes on a Scandal)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Sherrybaby)
Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Kate Winslet (Little Children)
Maggie squeaks in due to bad reception of Cate Blanchett's The Good German. Lucky her.
BEST ACTOR - DRAMA (4/5)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamond)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed)
Peter O'Toole (Venus)
Will Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness)
Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland)
Didn't see that one coming! Just a few days after the BFCA gave double noms for DiCaprio, the HFPA does the same. He so deserves it. Can the Academy do the same? Ken Watanabe's chances are slipping fast with this snub.
BEST MOTION PICTURE - COMEDY/MUSICAL (3/5)
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
The Devil Wears Prada
Little Miss Sunshine
Thank You For Smoking
Yey! The Devil Wears Prada!
BEST ACTRESS - COMEDY/MUSICAL (4/5)
Annette Bening (Running With Scissors)
Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine)
Beyonce Knowles (Dreamgirls)
Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada)
Renee Zellweger (Miss Potter)
I loved Toni Collette in Little Miss Sunshine. Kudos to the HFPA for nominating her instead of [slightly] overrated Abigail Breslin!
BEST ACTOR - COMEDY/MUSICAL (4/5)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat)
Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)
Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots)
Will Ferrell (Stranger Than Fiction)
The snub of Jamie Foxx isn't at all a surprise. Should have thought of Ejiofor. Cohen is taking this, for sure.
BEST DIRECTOR (3/5)
Clint Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers)
Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima)
Stephen Frears (The Queen)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel)
Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
All worthy nominees, with Eastwood scoring double for an artistic feat. But where's Bill Condon? How will this affect his Oscar chances?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS (4/5)
Adriana Barraza (Babel)
Cate Blanchett (Notes on a Scandal)
Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada)
Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)
I love the HFPA for nominating Emily Blunt! Hers isn't my favorite supporting turn of the year (so far, it's Kikuchi), but she surely deserves a nod for her scene-stealing turn in Prada. THIS is the lineup that I want to see come Oscar nominations.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (3/5)
Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland)
Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls)
Jack Nicholson (The Departed)
Brad Pitt (Babel)
Mark Wahlberg (The Departed)
Pity that Michael Sheen didn't make it, but I'm so excited to see that Mark Wahlberg did. Just like Emily Blunt in the ladies' category, Wahlberg stole every scene he was in and truly deserves this. Hopefully it translates into an Oscar nom. Thanks, HFPA, for choosing Affleck and Wahlberg over the [extremely] overrated Alan Arkin!
BEST SCREENPLAY (2/5)
Notes on a Scandal
The biggest surprise is probably the exclusion of Little Miss Sunshine, but the Academy has two categories for screenplay, so no one will lose sleep over it.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM (4/5)
Letters from Iwo Jima
The Lives of Others
After snubbing The Passion of the Christ two years ago, the HFPA opts for a bloodier Mel Gibson epic. Pretty expectable lineup, though I had predicted Curse of the Golden Flower (the HFPA loves Chinese martial arts epics) instead of Apocalypto.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE (no predictions)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE (1/5)
The Painted Veil
The Da Vinci Code
Wow, I got 1 out of 5. Biggest surprise is probably the exclusion of the score for Notes on a Scandal.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG (2/5)
"A Father's Way" (The Pursuit of Happyness)
"Never Gonna Break My Faith" (Bobby)
"The Song of the Heart" (Happy Feet)
"Try Not to Remember" (Home of the Brave)
Most notable snub: Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up" (from An Inconvenient Truth).
Post-Golden Globe nominations predictions will be up soon.
On a quick TV noms note: I'm happy that Heroes and its star Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura) are nominated in the Best TV Series - Drama and Best Supporting Actor categories, respectively.