The top actors and actresses will all be gathering together to honor the greatest films of 2008 to early 2009 and all movie fanatics will tune in to see if their favorite films of the year will receive recognition or win in a category at the 81st Annual Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22. While there are many movies and categories to name, there were a few films that repeatedly received nominations and media buzz before they were even released; and they smashed the box-office on their opening days. These select few were expected to receive nominations or Oscars way before the nomination list was presented.

Dark Knight was one of the most highly anticipated films due to the death of the legendary Heath Ledger. Dark Knight turned out to be one of the best Batman renditions ever. Many people saw it more than once, and it racked in the big bucks for weeks on end. One of the most famous duels in the Batman tale was between the joker and the caped crusader. Ledger played the role of the joker phenomenally. It was almost like he channeled the persona of an evil, twisted, sinister man, and portrayed it perfectly. Ledger placed himself head first into that role, as did other members of the cast, and left many purely amazed. For the cast and production crew’s work they are nominated in: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Heath Ledger), Art Direction, Cinematography, Make-Up, and Sound Editing.

The most repeated film on the nomination list would have to be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Even though it is two hours and 45 minutes, it deserved every single nomination it received. The story is brilliant and unique, and the cast portrays each character just as one would imagine. The story is of a child born as an 80 year old man who ages backwards. The story presents the question, “Is life understood better if lived backwards or forward?” Out of the 24 categories, this film was nominated in 13 categories including: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Brad Pitt), Best Actress in Supporting Role (Taraji P. Henson), and Best Picture.

Brad Pitt’s leading lady, Angelina Jolie, also has some nominations for herself for her roles in The Changeling, and Wanted. Talk about a talented family-Wanted received praise for its sound effects, so it is nominated in categories dealing with sound production. However, Changeling struck a deeper cord with audiences, because it is nominated in categories such as Best Actress in a Leading Role (Angelina Jolie), Art Direction, and Cinematography.

Slumdog Millionaire is also a reoccurring name on the list. This film definitely has such a great storyline; it is obvious to understand how it received profound recognition. It is the tale of a boy from the slums becomes a contestant on “Who wants to be a Millionaire,” and answers the questions by remembering experiences from his life. It is nominated in huge categories such as Best Picture, and Best Writing (Screenplay). These nominations say a lot about how the movie resonated with audiences. When a movie is written well, and delivers the themes and morals very well, it leaves viewers with “that feeling” when you leave a good movie. They all strive to be a movie, such as Forrest Gump, which is to be designated as a classic and hallmark of cinema.

These films are just a few of the nominations that we will see on television on Feb. 22 at the 81st Annual Oscar Ceremony. America will tune in to see the fashions on the red carpet, and the overall winners that will be announced that night. If you would like to view all of the nominations and categories, you can check it out on the official website, print out a ballot to pick your favorites, and many more things. It is actually a pretty cool website, it is not just boring listings! Just go visit at