By Michael Slezak
Updated December 17, 2007 at 11:46 PM EST

Last week, something strange and unexpected happened to me during a matinee showing of The Golden Monkey Compass: I started thinking about the Oscars. Not because the adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy was particularly brilliant, but because I totally fell under the spell of the creepy daemon of Nicole Kidman’s Mrs. Coulter — a menacing CGI monkey with coppertone fur and a haunting pink face. That scene where Kidman goes all Mommie Dearest by slapping the little guy silly, then tenderly holding him in an apologetic fit, I just can’t get it out of my head. Much like Treebeard in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, I say the golden monkey deserves a golden statuette as the year’s Best CGI Character. Come on, you know you’d enjoy marking this slot on your Oscar ballot more than the “sound editing” and “sound mixing” categories combined. All together now: Mon-key! Mon-key! Mon-key! (Slow clap implied.)