The Academy has always had its blind spots. Over the years, many films subsequently acknowledged as gilt-edged masterpieces have been completely frozen out of the Oscars. The list of omissions stretches from Howard Hawks' 'The Big Sleep' to Charlie Chaplin's 'Modern Times', from the Marx brothers' 'A Night at the Opera' to Stanley Kubrick's 'Paths of Glory', from Orson Welles's 'Chimes at Midnight' to John Ford's 'The Searchers'. Westerns, comedies and gangster films have been especially unfortunate – and you don't find many horror movies in the mix, either.
There are exceptions but as a rule, the Academy tends to overlook genre fare. Some of its choices in the foreign-language category have been erratic, too. Dutch films such as 'Antonia's Line' and 'Character' have been unlikely winners while Fernando Meirelles' 'City of God' wasn't even given a nomination (although it was resubmitted the following year, when it received four nominations). What are the most glaring omissions this year?
'Public Enemies'. Not Michael Mann's finest but this account of the Dillinger era was surely worthy of at least a nomination in the expanded 10-film list.
Actor In A Leading Role
Michael Stuhlbarg for 'A Serious Man'. You won't find many better depictions of middle-aged angst than Stuhlbarg offers here as the Jewish academic whose life is falling apart around him.
Actor In A Supporting Role
Eric Cantona for 'Looking for Eric'. The ex-Man Utd footballer excelled playing a mythologised version of himself in Ken Loach's film.
Actress In A Leading Role
Charlotte Gainsbourg for 'Antichrist'. Lars von Trier put Gainsbourg through the wringer in his controversial horror film. She brought an unlikely dignity and even vulnerability to her role as the grieving mom turned avenging angel.
Actress In A Supporting Role
Kristen Stewart for 'Adventureland'. Stewart is a fast-rising star thanks to 'Twilight'. She surely deserved some acknowledgement for her affecting performance as the troubled teenager/amusement-park worker who takes Jesse Eisenberg under her wing in Greg Mottola's underrated rites-of- passage comedy-drama.
Michael Haneke for 'The White Ribbon'. Haneke's magisterial Palme d'Or winner is already in the running for the Foreign Language Film award. It surely ought to be up for a Best Director Oscar, too.