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Dear Santa: Get these long shots nominated!

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On this Christmas day, my wish list includes Oscar nominations for the following five dark horse contenders. Are you listening, Santa? (Or at least, Academy members?)

Best Picture: Brothers

I’m well aware that Jim Sheridan’s latest drama has as many haters as it does fans. But to me it felt real and true from the first frame. It also contains the strongest performance of Natalie Portman’s career and the best kid acting I’ve ever seen.

Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Informant!

At this point, Damon seems like a good bet for a supporting nod for Invictus. And that’s fine. But his more impressive work was as the world’s worst whistle-blower in Steven Soderbergh’s out-there comedy. Bonus points for Damon’s impeccable voice-over work in the film.

Best Actress: Maya Rudolph, Away We Go

Playing a conflicted mom-to-be, Rudolph was as quiet and introspective as she was riotously funny impersonating Whitney or Oprah on Saturday Night Love.

Best Supporting Actor: Alec Baldwin, It’s Complicated

I’m flabbergasted that Baldwin’s scene-stealing performance opposite Meryl Streep isn’t gaining more traction. He’s witty, sympathetic, and nude: What more should Oscar voters want?

Best Supporting Actress: Mariah Carey, Precious

Okay, let the hateful comments begin, but I insist that Carey is a deserving contender for her brief turn as a dowdy social worker. Carey’s costars Gabourey Sidibe and Mo’Nique are well on their way to scoring nominations. Considering their most memorable moments are with Carey, she should get in there too.

My other holiday wish? That you’ll follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar updates throughout the season. What long-shot nominations are you wishing for?

Image credit: Damon: Claudette Barius; Baldwin: Melinda Sue Gordon