- "Avatar" (Fox)
- "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.)
- "District 9" (Sony)
- "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics)
- "Inglourious Basterds" (the Weinstein Co.-Universal)
- "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire" (Lionsgate)
- "A Serious Man" (Focus Features)
- "Up" (Disney-Pixar)
- "Up in the Air" (Paramount-DreamWorks)
Out of all of these, the only film that seems to be out of place is UP, Pixar's animated movie about an old man who flies to South America on a bunch of balloons. (The movie also received a Best Animated Feature nod.) Visually, the movie was pretty but the story was thin and semi-bizzaro (talking dogs and evil blimp-maniacs). I haven't seen THE BLIND SIDE but from what I've heard, it's a pretty solid film if maybe a little schmaltzy.
There was talk of movies like THE HANGOVER, STAR TREK or even HARRY POTTER making it into this newly expanded category, all of which are fine, entertaining films but not exactly worthy of a Best Picture nod. The ostensible reason for the expansion was to include more commercial films, since lately most Oscar nominees were indie films people outside of NY/LA had barely seen or even heard about. But it appears the Academy voters have not gone too Hollywood in their pursuit of bigger ratings for this years' telecast, set for March 7. My prediction is for "Inglorious Basterds" to take home the big award but, as we know with Oscar, anything is possible.