81st Academy Awards nominations announced

I know Hollywood is creatively bankrupt and everything, but so the Academy Awards have to be the most transparently bankrupt cog in the machine? I mean, look at this list -- you can virtually smell the acrid residue of Oscar campaigns all over it...

Best motion picture of the year

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production,Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
  • Milk” (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Nominees to be determined
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production,Christian Colson, Producer

Achievement in directing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
  • Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
  • Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
  • Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
  • Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
  • Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Best animated feature film of the year

  • Bolt” (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
  • Kung Fu Panda” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton

Best documentary feature

  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
  • Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
  • The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
  • Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
  • Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Achievement in cinematography

  • Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

Best foreign language film of the year

  • The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production, Germany
  • The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
  • Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
  • Revanche” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
  • Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.),Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
  • O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman andMaya Arulpragasam

Adapted screenplay

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
  • Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original screenplay

  • Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
  • Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
  • In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

The complete list of nominees is available on the Oscar Web site. The awards are handed out on February 22.