The nominees have been announced, and while the big stunner may be Dreamgirls' glaring absence from the best picture shortlist, I'm more surprised by Academy darling Jack Nicholson not getting nominated, which I thought was a sure thing.
I usually hate it when I'm wrong, but Nicholson's omission from the supporting actor roster comes as a relief, made more satisfying by Mark Wahlberg's welcome inclusion (his bellicose, ballsy police sergeant had the best cuss-word peppered lines in The Departed).
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Aileesa Lim
Occupation: Business executive
Lives: Manila, Philippines
Favourite film: The Lord of the Rings trilogy; "Please don't make me choose among the three movies."
I'm glad Alan Arkin got the nod I was hoping for, and pleased for Djimon Hounsou, whose nomination was unexpected, but is well-deserved.
However, I can't help but feel sorry that Brad Pitt got edged out.
Adorable Abigail Breslin's nomination for supporting actress is a treat. Her chances of winning are as diminutive as she is, but it's nice to see her precocious talent duly recognised.
I wish Emily Blunt had also been nominated (for The Devil Wears Prada), but I suppose the Academy felt Cate Blanchett pulls more weight.
No shockers in the best actress line-up. Ditto for the best actor contenders.
I'm a tad disappointed they went with Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond over The Departed, but maybe he does have a better shot at winning for the former.
His toughest competition will be Forest Whitaker, although the Academy just might hand the statuette to Peter O'Toole for patiently playing bridesmaid-but-never-the-bride all these decades.
Speaking of elusive Oscars, I still like Martin Scorsese's chances of being named best director, but Clint Eastwood worries me a little.
The last time the two faced off in this category, Dirty Harry emerged victorious.
I'm puzzled as to why Letters from Iwo Jima was left out of the foreign language film category, only to get thrown into the fight for best picture (perhaps to pave the way for Mexican sensation Pan's Labyrinth to win foreign language honours?)
In any case, with Dreamgirls out of the best picture race, Babel appears to be the frontrunner, but its intertwined storylines may be too reminiscent of last year's winner, Crash.
If the Academy is looking for something different, Little Miss Sunshine, this year's breath of fresh air, may just walk away with the crown.