The Fix

The Oscar nominations are in, with a few surprises. Plus: The critics' predictions: Who got it right? Who didn't?

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Morning Briefing:
The Oscar nominations are in: In a year in which the nominations for best movie and best director seemed a sure thing, there were two big upsets and one small one at this morning’s nominations (announced at 5:30 a.m. PST). Defying wide expectations, “Letters From Iwo Jima” was nominated for best film, and “Dreamgirls” was not; Paul Greengrass (“United 93″) got a best-director nom, and Bill Condon (“Dreamgirls”) did not; and Mark Wahlberg was nominated as best supporting actor for “The Departed,” and cast-mate Jack Nicholson was not. Still, “Dreamgirls” got the most nominations — eight — including best supporting actress for Jennifer Hudson and best supporting actor for Eddie Murphy. Otherwise, the nominations turned out largely as predicted (see below), though the New York Times’ Carpetbagger blog for some reason briefly listed Sacha Baron Cohen as a best-actor nominee early this morning, which was very exciting until we double-checked the listings. Find the full list of nominees here. (Carpetbagger, Oscar.com)

Crystal ball roundup: We were curious: How well did the nation’s critics do in predicting who the nominees would be? There was nearly universal (and as it turns out, wrong) common wisdom when it came to the best-picture and best-director picks — surprise predictions and unexpected nominees are highlighted in bold. A score card:

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  Best Picture Best Director Best Actress Best Actor Best Supporting Actress Best Supporting Actor
Entertainment Weekly “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Queen,” “Little Miss Sunshine” Martin Scorsese, Bill Condon, Stephen Frears, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Clint Eastwood Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Judi Dench Forest Whitaker, Peter O’Toole, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling Jennifer Hudson, Cate Blanchett, Adrianna Barraza, Abigail Breslin, Rinko Kikuchi Eddie Murphy, Jackie Earle Haley, Djimon Hounsou, Jack Nicholson, Alan Arkin
The Envelope’s BuzzMeter Eddie Murphy, Jackie Earle Haley, Brad Pitt, Jack Nicholson, Alan Arkin
New York Daily News Forest Whitaker, Peter O’Toole, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen (Same as Entertainment Weekly)
OscarWatch Forest Whitaker, Peter O’Toole, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sacha Baron Cohen Eddie Murphy, Jackie Earle Haley, Djimon Hounsou, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg
The Carpetbagger N/A (Mirren) N/A (Whitaker) N/A N/A (Wahlberg)
The actual nominees “Babel,” “The Departed,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Queen” Martin Scorsese, Paul Greengrass, Stephen Frears, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Clint Eastwood Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Judi Dench Forest Whitaker, Peter O’Toole, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling Jennifer Hudson, Cate Blanchett, Adrianna Barraza, Abigail Breslin, Rinko Kikuchi Eddie Murphy, Jackie Earle Haley, Djimon Hounsou, Mark Wahlberg, Alan Arkin

(Sources: Entertainment Weekly, the Envelope, OscarWatch, Capertbagger, New York Daily News)

Washington in P.R. rehab: Isaiah Washington’s campaign to clean up his public profile in the wake of the whole “calling a colleague ‘faggot’ and then denying it” thing is taking the classic Hollywood form. Step 1: Issue public apology. Step 2: Fire your publicist. Step 3: Meet with leaders of a group representing the segment of the population you’ve offended. Washington completed Step 3 Monday, meeting with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to inquire about addressing “name-calling and how he might use his various platforms to educate people about how painful and wrong it is,” according to the group’s executive director. (BBC News, Star)

Also:
More rumors on the secret-marriage front for Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams: A tipster tells Page Six that Ledger was spotted out in his Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood Monday sporting a wedding ring. (Page Six) … Lawyers for Heather Mills are denying yesterday’s reports that she and Paul McCartney had come to a settlement reportedly worth $63 million in their still-pending divorce: “We would like to state that there has been no offer made whatsoever at any time to our client and therefore no settlement has been agreed.” (Associated Press) … Paris Hilton’s plea deal in her DUI arrest has been finalized: In exchange for pleading no contest to a lesser charge of reckless driving, the 25-year-old heiress received 36 months of probation and must pay a $360 fine and attend an alcohol education program. (People) … Janet Evanovich’s “Plum Lovin’” debuts atop the New York Times fiction bestseller list this week, while Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope” stays at No. 1 on the nonfiction list. (N.Y. Times) … Tomorrow is the court-set deadline for Anna Nicole Smith to submit her baby, Dannielynn, for DNA testing in the paternity dispute with her ex Larry Birkhead, and sources say her lawyers are still fighting to block the order in the Bahamas, where she currently lives. (TMZ)

Money Quote:
Sylvester Stallone on abstaining from sex during the filming of “Rocky Balboa”: “At 60 you don’t have as much energy as you did back when you were 30, so you have to conserve every bit you can … Giving up sex isn’t really that hard to do and it’s well known that it can improve your performance in sports — or on a movie.” (The Scoop)

Turn On:
On Tuesday night, more auditions on “American Idol” (Fox, 8 p.m. EST) and the 9 o’clock hour presents a real choice: Bush’s State of the Union address (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, CNN) or “Veronica Mars” (CW).

On the Talk Shows:
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EST): State of the Union analysis
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST): Ricky Gervais, Forest Whitaker, the Shins
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST): Jon Cryer, Switchfoot
Conan O’Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST): Orlando Bloom, Campbell Brown, Cheap Trick (repeat)
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST): Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr., Kelly Hu, Gary Owen (repeat)
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST): Pat O’Brien, Dominic Purcell, Sunshine Anderson
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST): Terry McAuliffe
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST): Michael Steele

Get more of the Fix here.
To send a hot tip to the Fix, click here.

Scott Lamb is a senior editor at BuzzFeed.com.

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