The Oscar nominations came out this morning, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ended up with the most — 13 in total.
The kaleidoscopic Mumbai romance Slumdog Millionaire had 10, while the lyrical biopic Milk drew eight.
Joining those movies in the Best Picture category: Frost/Nixon and The Reader.
That last nominee was a bit unexpected; lots of people thought The Dark Knight might land in that fifth Best Picture spot.
But NPR's Bob Mondello tells Michele Norris that today's biggest — and maybe best — Oscar surprise is the nomination tally for the tiny independent picture Frozen River. It took two nominations, for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay.
Feb. 22 is the big night; if you're not a big moviegoer, but you'd like to study up on the nominees between now and then, Mondello points out it'll be simpler to cover the waterfront this year than it was last time around.
"The academy, through its choices, has made that really easy this year," Mondello says. "You'll be comfortable in all the major categories if you see just eight movies.
"Four of them are the Best Picture nominees (excluding The Reader, which I don't think has a chance). And if in addition to that you see Doubt, Rachel Getting Married and Frozen River — for Best Actress — and The Wrestler, for Best Actor, I think you will have seen everything you need to see to win your office pool."
The one film Mondello urges NPR audiences not to miss: Slumdog Millionaire.
"I know people are coming to it late," he says, noting that the picture hasn't opened everywhere yet. "But when it does ... It is just this wonderful picture — a fantastical romance."