Hey there movie lovers,

So, as some of you might have heard, Oscar nominations were announced this morning. But even if you’re dead set that “Eclipse” should sweep like no movie since “The Lord of the Rings,” just bear us out as we break down some of the nominees.

It wouldn’t be the Oscars if there wasn’t at least one “Where did that come from?” nomination per year. This year, that category is filled by Javier Bardem’s nomination for lead actor in his role in “Biutiful,” a movie with a title that is annoying my spell check. Although Bardem is a solid actor who usually turns in great performances, it’s too bad that he snagged the nomination out from under Ryan Gosling, whose turn in “Blue Valentine” was widely heralded as more than Oscar-worthy.

The rest of the nominations were not totally unexpected – and the man to beat seems to be Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech,” the movie that earned the most overall nominations this year, with a total of 12. The only other nomination of note is James Franco, who will be pulling double duty this Feb. 27 as both co-host and nominee at the show.

Although Franco’s co-host, Anne Hathaway, did get some early Oscar buzz after her turn in the weepy rom-com “Love and Other Drugs” earlier this year, she was not among the nominees, so at least one host won’t be sweating it backstage when the winners are called.

Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams and Annette Bening were all shoe-in nominations, with Bening the early favorite to win after her portrayal as the lesbian mother of two children who meet their biological father . . . the same man who then tempts Bening’s wife into infidelity.

In fact, along those same lines, most of the nominations this year were of the same variety as Bening’s – much heralded and largely expected. (Please, did anyone not think Aaron Sorkin was going to get nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Social Network?”)

As seems to be the case every year, most people are already talking about the snubs. “No Christopher Nolan for Best Director?” “Where is Andrew Garfield?” “But what about Mila Kunis in ‘Black Swan’?”

In fact, this year, the nominations are overshadowed by something else entirely – the hosts. For the second consecutive year, the Academy has decided to go the “two is better than one” route, and, instead of the duo they picked last year, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, both industry veterans two relatively young members of the New Hollywood regime were chosen.

For some…cough cough, myself…seeing how the hosts fair might even be more exciting than waiting to see who takes home that little golden guy next month.

Let’s hear your thoughts!

– Julia Butler, MUSE Staff