What happened
The nominees for this year’s Oscars were announced Tuesday, and critics have mixed feelings about the Academy’s choices. It also remains to be seen if Hollywood stars will cross the picket line on Feb. 24 to attend the ceremony, as striking writers have yet to reach a contract agreement with producers.

What the commentators said
“Hollywood is in a bleak mood this year, said Brooks Barnes in The New York Times, “and the Oscar nominees announced Tuesday morning reflected that state of mind.” Most of the “movies that received multiple nominations,” such as There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men, and Atonement, “feature dark themes and unconventional endings that, for the most part, have failed to attract broad audiences.”

I’m more optimistic about this year’s nominations, said Neil Smith in the BBC News. There’s a good amount of “smaller, more gentle fare” like Juno, Away From Her, and I’m Not There,  “notable for having female talent both in front and behind the camera.” And there’s a wide range of films this year, too: “In one corner, you have the epic sweep of British hopeful Atonement and the bloody Grand Guignol of Sweeney Todd.” In the other, “quieter, more delicate stories tackling such difficult subjects as teenage pregnancy, senile dementia,” and “debilitating physical incapacity.”

This year’s Oscar nominations “represent one of the strongest fields in recent years,” said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. “Of all the major nominations, there is not a single film I was not enthusiastic about, except for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. I don’t think there’s ever been a previous year when I could make that statement.” But with that said, “there are some names I would have liked to have seen,” such as “Sean Penn as director” for Into the Wild, and “J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney or Jennifer Garner (Juno) in the supporting categories.”

Well, let’s just hope we get to watch the Oscars this year, said Andrew Pierce in the Telegraph. “With the writer’s strike ongoing, the fate of the ceremony remains undecided.” Look what happened to the Golden Globes: They “were reduced to a 30-minute news conference with none of the stars in attendance.” If the same thing happens to the Oscars—“Hollywood’s most glamorous night”—not only will there be a lot of disappointed movie fans, but it “would be financially disastrous. After the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards are the most-watched broadcast in the U.S.”