Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonWell before the 2009 Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, Oscar-watchers were abuzz over the potential excitement in this year's major categories. Would Slumdog Millionaire's seemingly unstoppable march toward a Best Picture win be derailed by a surge of popular support for The Dark Knight or even - gulp! - WALL•E? Would the season's continued award-splitting between Milk's Sean Penn (recipient of 15 pre-Oscar citations thus far) and The Wrestler's Mickey Rourke (14 and counting) allow Clint Eastwood to sneak in a career-achievement win for Gran Torino? Would Kate Winslet receive her long-overdue trophy for Best Actress in Revolutionary Road, or for Best Supporting Actress in The Reader ... or could the performer, as she did at the Golden Globes, actually walk away with both awards?

The excitement was fun while it lasted, huh?