There are a few good reasons to hate on the Satellite Awards. First of all, we really don't need any more end of the year movie and television honors. Second of all, the Satellites seem to be little more than a knock-off of the Golden Globes, which are already pretty unnecessary. Third, they happen way too early, missing out on seeing and thereby qualifying perhaps the biggest film of the year (Avatar).

But over the years I've come to appreciate the Satellites and their bestowing organization, the International Press Academy, for their constant surprises when it comes to nominating and awarding unlikely films and talent. Just look at some of last year's acting winners: Richard Jenkins; Rosemarie DeWitt; Ricky Gervais; Michael Shannon.

Now check out this year's nominees, which continue to prove that IPA voters like to go at least slightly against the grain. Okay, so there are a lot of predictable titles in the lot, including Up in the Air and Nine, which leads with 11 nominations. Yet there are some films I don't expect to be recognized by the Golden Globes, let alone the Oscars, such as The Maid and The Stoning of Soraya M., both of which feature in the Best Actress (Drama) category.


Actually, I'd completely forgotten about the existence of the latter film. It opened rather quietly over the summer and I failed to see it despite hearing good things about Shohreh Aghdashloo's performance. However, now that it has received three Satellite nominations, including Best Picture (Drama), and has been included in the IPA's list of the top ten films of the year, I've been reminded to check it out once it hits DVD in March.

Other nominations I'm excited about include A Serious Man's Michael Stuhlberg for Best Actor (Comedy or Musical), An Education's Alfred Molina for Best Supporting Actor and Terry Gilliam for Original Song ("We Are the Children of the World" from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I also like that the IPA has nominated a documentary, the concert film It Might Get Loud, for Best Cinematography.

Check out the full list of film nominations below:


Best Motion Picture (Drama)
Bright Star
An Education
The Hurt Locker
The Messenger
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
The Stoning of Soraya M.

Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
The Informant!
It's Complicated
Julie & Julia
Nine
A Serious Man
Up in the Air


Best Director
Jane Campion, Bright Star
Neill Blomkamp, District 9
Lone Scherfig, An Education
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Rob Marshall, Nine
Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Best Actress (Drama)
Shohreh Aghdashloo, The Stoning of Soraya M.
Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria
Abbie Cornish, Bright Star
Penelope Cruz, Broken Embraces
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Catalina Saavedra, The Maid

Best Actor (Drama)
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Hugh Dancy, Adam
Johnny Depp, Public Enemies
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Michael Sheen, The Damned United

Best Actress (Comedy Or Musical)
Sandra Bullock, The Proposal
Marion Cotillard, Nine
Zooey Deschanel, (500) Days of Summer
Katherine Heigl, The Ugly Truth
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Best Actor (Comedy Or Musical)
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Bradley Cooper, The Hangover
Matt Damon, The Informant!
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

Best Supporting Actress
Emily Blunt, Sunshine Cleaning
Penelope Cruz, Nine
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Mozhan Marno, The Stoning of Soraya M.
Mo'nique, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Best Supporting Actor
Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
James McAvoy, The Last Station
Alfred Molina, An Education
Timothy Spall, The Damned United
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Original Screenplay
Jane Campion, Bright Star
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Bob Peterson and Pete Docter, Up

Best Adapted Screenplay
Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, District 9
Nick Hornby, An Education
Nora Ephron, Julie & Julia
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Best Motion Picture (Animated or Mixed Media)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Princess and the Frog
Up
Where the Wild Things Are


Best Foreign Language Film
Broken Embraces
I Killed My Mother
The Maid
Red Cliff
The White Ribbon
Winter in Wartime


Best Documentary Feature
The Beaches of Agnes
The Cove
Every Little Step
It Might Get Loud
The September Issue
Valentino: The Last Emperor


Best Art Direction
Terry Gilliam, Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nathan Crowley, Patrick Lumb and William Ladd Skinner, Public Enemies
Eddy Wong, Red Cliff
Chris Kennedy, The Road
Ian Philips and Dan Bishop, A Single Man
Barry Chusid and Elizabeth Wilcox, 2012

Best Cinematography
Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds
Guillermo Navarro and Erich Roland, It Might Get Loud
Dion Beebe, Nine
Dante Spinotti, Public Enemies
Lu Yue and Zhang Yi, Red Cliff
Roger Deakins, A Serious Man

Best Costume Design
Consolata Boyle, Cheri
Monique Prudhomme, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Colleen Atwood, Nine
Tim Yip, Red Cliff
Sandy Powell, The Young Victoria

Best Film Editing
Julian Clarke, District 9
Chris Innis and Bob Murawski, The Hurt Locker
Greg Finton, It Might Get Loud
Claire Simpson and Wyatt Smith, Nine
Angie Lam, Yang Hongyu and Robert A. Ferretti, Red Cliff
David Brenner and Peter S. Elliot, 2012

Best Original Score
Gabriel Yared, Amelia
Marvin Hamlisch, The Informant!
Elliot Goldenthal, Public Enemies
Michael Giacchino, Up
Rolfe Kent, Up in the Air
Carter Burwell and Karen O, Where the Wild Things Are

Best Original Song
The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart (T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham)
We are the Children of the World from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Terry Gilliam)
Cinema Italiano from Nine (Maury Yeston)
I See in Color from Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (Mary J. Blige)
Almost There from The Princess and the Frog (Randy Newman)
Down in New Orleans from The Princess and the Frog (Randy Newman)

Best Sound (Mixing and Editing)
It Might Get Loud
Nine
Red Cliff
Terminator Salvation
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
2012


Best Visual Effects
District 9
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Red Cliff
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
2012


Best Ensemble
Nine

Outstanding New Talent
Gabourey Sidibe

Auteur Award

Roger Corman

Tesla Award (Achievement in Technology)
Roger Deakins

Mary Pickford Award (Outstanding Artistic Contribution)
Michael York

Ten Best Films of 2009
Bright Star
An Education
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Nine
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
A Serious Man
The Stoning of Soraya M.
Up in the Air