Here at Cinematical, we know there's nothing you like more this time of year than reading all about who's nominating whom for what critics' award. The latest nominations to come down the pike are from the Windy City, where the noms are lining up with nothing terribly shocking compared to other critics' groups.

Best Pic noms include Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, The Departed, The Queen, and United 93. In fact, the Chicago critics love Babel so much they nominated Alejandro González Iñárritu's little gem of a film for no fewer than nine awards, including Brad Pitt for Best Actor, Iñárritu for Best Director, Rinko Kikuchi for Best Promising Newcomer, and assorted other goodies.

Notably overlooked by the Chicago critics was one of my own fave films of 2006, Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men (what's up with that, Chicago), which got one measly nom for cinematography. Not that it's undeserving of that -- the film's cinematography is truly spectactular -- but still. Also largely overlooked was Todd Field's Little Children, a film I really loved and would have liked to see garner more attention from moviegoers and critics alike.

United 93 picked up a slew of noms yet again; the question of whether World Trade Center or United 93 would come out on top in the battle between the two 9/11 films is pretty much over at this point. Nothing shocking with the doc noms -- the Chicago folks pretty much chose the same docs everyone else did, giving some love to Jesus Camp, Deliver Us From Evil and An Inconvenient Truth, with nods to Wordplay and Shut Up and Sing tossed in for good measure.

One thing I've been really thrilled to see is Maggie Gyllenhaal's ground-breaking performance in Sherrybaby getting some recognition all over the place. I've been talking since last Sundance about her amazing performance in that film, and I'm glad to know it wasn't just me who thought she rocked that flick from start to finish. Also worth noting is Abigail Breslin getting some more props for Little Miss Sunshine; it's been nice in general to see a well-done comedy like Little Miss Sunshine getting some Best Pic recognition, which may bode well for the film's chances of actually getting recognition by Oscar down the road.

The one thing that struck me, in looking over all the noms and winners from various critics' groups, is that -- in spite of the buckets of crappy films foisted on the movie-going public this year -- yes, Virginia, there were actually a few good films worth watching in 2006 that made the hours spent in dark theaters worthwhile. If I can see films like Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, Children of Men and Pan's Labyrinth, well, it makes having to sit through Deck the Halls almost worthwhile.

You can see the full list of Chicago Movie Critics noms over at Movie City News, where they've also got the best scoreboard of awards and noms from all the various groups, so you can keep track of how your own fave films are doing.