The biggest surprises among this year's nominations can be found in the acting categories. Here are some of them:
Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor." Jenkins, best known as a character actor, found the role of a lifetime as a repressed college professor who learned how to drum.
Best supporting actor:
Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road." Shannon was unnerving as an intellectually acute mental patient.
Melissa Leo in “Frozen River." Leo excelled as a single mom living through hard times in upstate New York.
Best supporting actress:
Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Henson portrayed the woman who raised Benjamin Button after he was abandoned on the doorstep of an old-age home. One of the movie's few bright spots.
A WORD ON THE DOCUMENTARY FEATURES:
The five nominess -- "The Betrayal," "Encounters at the End of the World," "The Garden," "Man on Wire," and "Trouble the Water" are all worthy. I was sorry to see that Denver filmmaker Daniel Junge's "They Killed Sister Dorothy," which had been shortlisted for a nomination, didn't make the final cut. If I had to bet right now, I'd put my money on "Trouble the Water."