Oscar loves political epics...

The 79th Academy Awards nominations have been revealed and, as ever, our favourite golden boy had a few surprises hidden behind his sword.

He lulled us into a false sense of security by handing critics’ favourite Babel seven nominations, before giving bookies' favourite The Queen six nods, and Blood Diamond and The Departed five each.

Little Miss Sunshine and Letters from Iwo Jima were in close pursuit with four, as was Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest with four in the SFX categories. As expected, Pan’s Labyrinth received plenty of nods (six in total) – but not the best director for Guillermo del Toro as so many pundits were predicting.

But that wasn’t the biggest shock – that was reserved for Dreamgirls; long assumed to be the flick Oscar had his eye on, it was relatively snubbed. Despite receiving eight nominations, most were in minor categories, meaning the Best Director and Best Picture nods most people took as a given failed to materialise.

Still, we wouldn’t be surprised if Jennifer Hudson walked away with her Best Supporting Actress trophy. And Dreamgirls will walk away with Best Original Song (it pretty much has to – it’s got three nominations in a five entry category)

Following the trend of recent years, there’ll be plenty of political flicks filling up the clips packages on the night – with Leonardo DiCaprio receiving recognition for his brilliant Blood Diamond performance, battling against the equally impressive Forest Whitaker for his stunning Last King Of Scotland turn in the Best Actor category.

Sadly, there’s no joy for Babel’s poor old Brad Pitt, who proves that it takes more than a mesmerising performance and a bit of talc in your hair to catch fickle Oscar’s eye.

Even more tragically, Sacha Baron Cohen didn’t pick up a Best Actor nod either – but there’s still a chance for Borat to take a trophy back to Kazakhstan, for Adapted Screenplay.

The ceremony takes place on 25 February at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, and, frankly, we can’t wait.

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