The Kids are All Right
The Station Agent
I would've favored Bening over Portman for the Oscar. I haven't seen Kidman in Rabbit Hole. The academy favors roles which require a lot of body modification (al-a Brody in The Pianist) and Portman certainly did that. Bening's performance rivaled what she did in American Beauty, and probably Julianne Moore should've been nominated, too.
Thomas McCarthy's Station Agent is an understated character study. Each character has their own vulnerabilities; some are just closer to the surface or more visible than others. The movie seems to fit along side Garden State, maybe partly because of the similar New Jersey settings. I want to watch more of the director's work. The Visitor is next on my list, along with more of The Wire.
p.s. If you want to see Herzog's documentary, God's Angry Man, then do it soon. Google says that the video is going to be taken offline.
For Your Consideration
The Cook The Thief His Wife & Her Lover This was a bit one-dimensional (at least on its surface) for a critically acclaimed movie. The vivid separate colors of each room and the street outside hint of some symbolism just beyond my comprehension. The outside street is black or dark blue; it is home to the most vile acts, is home to the constantly circling dogs, and is populated by a fleet of trucks containing rotting meat. Probably, I don't know enough Dante for the allusion to resonate fully; still, a pretty hellish depiction. The Nyman score was terrific and gives the movie an operatic quality; the music was the best part for me. Great camera work and set designs. The "cutaway" technique that allows the camera to transcend walls has been widely copied (probably, done best most recently by Spielberg in Minority Report.) For me, the story is the weak point. We get it...the thief is not a good guy. We are just waiting for how he will get it in the end. Here is Ebert's review for more.