Oscars 2012: Nominations We’re Actually Happy About

Well, we finally know who will be competing for Oscar gold come Feburary 26, and with everyone everywhere talking about this year’s nominees, a lot of people are ticked off.

So much of the post-nomination Oscar conversation gets swallowed up by the angry cries of snubs and shutouts. While we’re just as mad about some of the nominations as you are (No Albert Brooks? No “50/50″? “Extremely Loud”?), there are plenty of nominations that came as pleasant surprises and have us really looking forward to Oscar night.

Here is the list of our favorite nominations.

Gary Oldman for Best Actor
Today is the day many—Gary Oldman included—have waited for. After making a career for himself playing some of the movies’ darkest and most memorable characters, Oldman finally earned an Oscar nomination. The Academy must have realized how foolish they looked for passing the legendary British actor over for decades. Perhaps they were waiting for Oldman to turn the volume down, because his role in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is by far is quietest, but nonetheless powerful.

“The Tree of Life” for Best Picture/Terrence Malick for Best Director
As a rule, the nominees for Best Picture should include at least one film that features dinosaurs. With the exception of Terrence Malick’s epic, this years contenders for the top prize represent the categories safest race in years. George Clooney’s appeal makes even Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” Oscar-friendly. The Picture and Director nominations for the film and Malick were two of the few instances of the Academy defying expectations today, even if in a minor way.

Melissa McCarthy for Best Supporting Actress
A snub from the Golden Globes caused more than a little concern that this summer’s breakout comedy star might get passed up for an Oscar nomination. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for Melissa McCarthy. The actress rallied for an Academy comeback to earn the nomination she missed out on from the Hollywood Foreign Press. Thus making crapping in a sink for “Bridesmaids” totally worth it.

“Man or Muppet” for Best Original Song
When “The Muppets” finally returned to the big screen, it was never a question of whether Bret McKenzie’s songs would be nominated. “How many?” seemed more valid. The Globes passed him up, something we dismissed as odd HFPA politics, and even though the Academy only nominated two songs total, they picked the right one. “Man or Muppet” stole the show, so here’s to hoping we get a live performance on Oscar night.

“Drive” for Best Sound Editing
It isn’t often that we’ll get excited for Best Sound Editing, but when we do, it’s because that’s the only nomination for “Drive.” We may eventually get over the egregious oversight in the Best Supporting Actor category (sorry, Mr. Brooks), but if “Drive” doesn’t take away one award, we might just lose it. Like, elevator scene, lose it.

Which of the Oscar nominations made you the happiest? Let us know in the comments below and one Twitter!