Oscar's Biggest Snubs: A Post-Mortem

This year's Oscar nominations produced an equally noteworthy list of omissions who'll be quietly turned away at the Kodak Theater doors, should a ceremony ever materialize. (Tazering to follow if they get insistent.) Our analysis of the 2008 Snubees:

Angelina Jolie
Category: Best Actress, for A Mighty Heart's Mariane Pearl
Snub-O-Meter: 6 Nose-Thumbings (out of a possible 10)
Why They Deserved It: Jolie's widely heralded turn in the harrowing role of wife to real-life journalist Daniel Pearl had all the earmarks of an Oscar-worthy performance, including an accent and makeup-assisted physical transformation.
What Might Have Happened: Like the general public, voters dismissed Heart with the rest of this year's post-9-11 downer crop.
Unspoken Factor: Persisting Academy fears that she'd blow creepy kisses to her brother from the podium.

Sean Penn
Category: Best Director, Adapted Screenplay, for Into the Wild
Snub-O-Meter: 9 Nose-Thumbings
Why They Deserved It: Following in the path of Academy favorite Clint Eastwood, beloved actor Penn's transformation into a director and screenwriter of quintessentially American dramas seemed complete with Wild.
What Might Have Happened: An overcrowded and particularly outstanding director field, an unlikable protagonist, and an underlying sentiment that the movie really wasn't all that great.
Unspoken Factor: Period epics beat self-righteousness every time.

Judd Apatow
Category: Best Original Screenplay, for Knocked Up
Snub-O-Meter: 3 Nose-Thumbings
Why They Deserved It: His raunch-and-heart formula, of which Knocked Up is the perfect example, has conquered the hearts of critics and the masses alike, ushering in a crop of the most laugh-out-loud funny American comedies since the days of Caddyshack and Stripes.
What Might Have Happened: Academy members still skew old, and fail to find humor in crowning baby heads and freaking out over chairs in a hotel room while on mushrooms.
Unspoken Factor: La Heigl.

American Gangster
Category: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
Snub-O-Meter: 8 Nose-Thumbings
Why They Deserved It: An epic crime drama directed with a sure hand by Hollywood giant Ridley Scott, set in a period not that long ago, but almost impossible to get right: The '70s.
What Might Have Happened: Start with Denzel sleepwalking through a role he never seemed quite sure how to play, and all the "enh"-factor dominoes seemed to tumble accordingly.
Unspoken Factor: Naked chicks filling bags of heroin, however tastefully shot, never really screams, "Oscar!"

Tim Burton
Category: Best Director, for Sweeney Todd
Snub-O-Meter: 10 Nose-Thumbings
Why They Deserved It: One of the most visually imaginative directors of our time, Burton proved he could chew precisely the amount he sought to bite off with his stylish, cohesive adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical masterpiece.
What Might Have Happened: The Academy doesn't get starry-eyed for Sondheim the way Tony voters might. Too much singing. Too much blood. Not enough meat.
Unspoken Factor: Sacha Baron Cohen's stuffed package.