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Matt DamonThe Oscar nominations are less than 24 hours away, and by now, most of the races have been decided. (Don't believe us? Check out Jack Mathews' comprehensive Oscar predictions.)

Still, one of the best parts about waking up early to watch the noms is the element of surprise. Every so often, voters will throw us an unexpected curveball -- a Keira Knightley in 2005 or a 'City of God' in 2003 -- to keep us guessing through the final stretch of the race.

Will it happen again this year? We'll find out tomorrow. In the meantime, here are five longshot contenders that would make us very happy, should their names be called in the morning. Matt DamonThe Oscar nominations are less than 24 hours away, and by now, most of the races have been decided. (Don't believe us? Check out Jack Mathews' comprehensive Oscar predictions.)

Still, one of the best parts about waking up early to watch the noms is the element of surprise. Every so often, voters will throw us an unexpected curveball -- a Keira Knightley in 2005 or a 'City of God' in 2003 -- to keep us guessing through the final stretch of the race.

Will it happen again this year? We'll find out tomorrow. In the meantime, here are five longshot contenders that would make us very happy, should their names be called in the morning.

Star Trek'Star Trek' for Best Picture
It was a great year for sci-fi with the one-two-three punch of 'Star Trek,' 'District 9' and that little movie called 'Avatar.' The latter two titles are looking especially strong heading into tomorrow's nominations -- great news, considering the Academy typically snubs the genre (even '2001: A Space Odyssey' missed out 1968). Still, we think it would be remiss of voters to overlook 'Star Trek,' which was arguably the best sci-fi flick of the bunch. And since the Academy is nominating 10 movies for Best Picture this year, it's not like they can't make a little extra room.

Matt Damon The InformantMatt Damon for Best Actor
After a number of painful snubs ('The Talented Mr. Ripley,' among others) this 'Good Will Hunting' star is finally getting Oscar buzz again -- but for the wrong movie (Clint Eastwood's 'Invictus'). We'd much rather see Damon recognized for his hilariously kooky performance in the Steven Soderbergh comedy 'The Informant!' It's a great example of what he can do when he really stretches himself -- quite literally, in this case (he gained 30 pounds for the role).

Tilda Swinton JuliaTilda Swinton for Best Actress
In 'Julia,' Tilda Swinton proves once again that she is the most fearless performer in the business, playing an alcoholic who agrees to steal back her fellow-A.A. member's son. Oscar apparently loves her, too, having awarded her Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for 'Michael Clayton.' So, why can't they do it again? Her reviews were stellar (Roger Ebert called it the "best performance by an actress in 2009"), plus who really saw Helen Mirren in 'The Last Station,' anyway?

Anthony MackieAnthony Mackie for Best Supporting Actor
With PGA and DGA wins under its belt, 'The Hurt Locker' is poised to become one of 2009's top-nominated movies and likely Best Picture winner. Which why we're a little surprised that Anthony Mackie's performance never caught on. He was just as good as star Jeremy Renner, a likely Best Actor nominee, and would make a welcome edition to an otherwise ho-hum Supporting Actor race (We all know that Christoph Waltz is going to win.)

Marion CotillardMarion Cotillard for Best Supporting Actress
On the quality scale, 'Nine' was more 'Rent' than, say, 'Chicago.' But the one element that kept this trainwreck of a musical from completely derailing was Marion Cotillard's luminous performance as Guido's long-suffering wife, Louisa. Despite being surrounded by practically every Oscar winner alive, Cotillard was the only actor who seemed to understand what was required to make a movie musical work (sorry, Daniel Day-Lewis, but sing-speak just won't cut it). Plus, that voice ...



Tell us: Who are you hoping to see nominated tomorrow?