I haven't written much about the Oscar nominations yet, because of the death of Heath Ledger and other things. But this post at the Carpetbagger about a Juno backlash (and the Carpetbagger is a little late to the party on that if you ask me) has me thinking about the Best Picture race, which I'd say is the most diffcult to predict in recent memory.
Could Juno ride to victory as the heavy dramas split the vote? It's possible, and it certainly has some things in its favor. It's a box office hit, the only one of the films that deals in a direct way with how people actually live, and (as is mentioned in the post's comments thread) has the most significant female presence in the cast. But is it "important" enough? There's an unanswerable question. Will the fact that the screenplay is the heart of the movie - as opposed to Jason Reitman's nominated direction - hurt because of bias against writers in the voting community due to the strike? It makes one wish for exit polling.
The one nominee that really doesn't belong is Michael Clayton, a film that hasn't worn well with me. Clooney is as good as he's ever been, but the film seems to be to be a slightly above-average John Grisham adaptation. The behavior of the corporation is so selectively malevolent - they shadow the Tom Wilkinson character but somehow miss him getting the key document copied and bound - and the Tilda Swinton character so out of her depth that I wasn't as moved as I should have been by her downfall. Clayton's moral arc isn't connected to anything else going on in the film in any satisfying way. Let's hope the strike gets settled and we can all enjoy the suspense.