Another day, another critics-award announcement. This morning’s nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association featured a few surprises, particularly the dominance of Into the Wild, which received seven nods, including Best Picture, two for writer/director Sean Penn, and three for cast members Emile Hirsch (pictured), Hal Halbrook, and Catherine Keener. Other big winners included the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, which was the only other film to be named in the picture, director, and writer categories; and Michael Clayton, the only other contender to rack up three acting nods (for Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson).
Other notable tidbits: Cate Blanchett scored a Best Actress nomination for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, in addition to her supporting-actress nod for I’m Not There; Lars and the Real Girl‘s Ryan Gosling and Eastern Promises‘ Viggo Mortensen beat out the likes of Denzel Washington for Best Actor; and Tommy Lee Jones mystifyingly got stiffed in both acting categories for In the Valley of Elah and No Country.
The BFCA’s Top 10 — American Gangster, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Michael Clayton, No Country, Sweeney Todd, and There Will Be Blood — is especially important considering that in the last five years, that tally has contained all five of the eventual Oscar nominees for Best Picture. (The last movie to score with the Academy after being snubbed by the BFCA? 2001’s Gosford Park.) So American Gangster‘s inclusion provides that film with a critical boost, while Charlie Wilson’s War and 3:10 to Yuma are now officially on life support.