There had been recent talk of TDK getting snubbed in favor of WALL-E, but it didn't get a BP nod. Instead, the "huh?" spot on that list is The Reader, which, aside from a Best Actress nod for Winslet, only got a handful of smaller nominations.
Oddly, though, the dominating film for nominations is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with 13. I say "oddly" because it's masterfully directed and a technical marvel, but it did not review nearly as positively as either Slumdog or Dark Knight (not to mention The Wrestler, which also got snubbed). As it stands, TDK is in 3rd for nominations with 8 (behind Slumdog with 10), but it got none of the big nods except for Best Supporting Actor for Heath Leger. Instead it was largely relegated to technical awards that it will almost certainly lose (deservedly) to Benjamin Button. So, a technical marvel is being honored for being a great film, and a great film is being honored for its tech achievements.
I'm not saying that all things Oscar should correlate absolutely with Metacritic scores, but the availability of critic aggregators makes more and more apparent the distance between what the Academy thinks constitutes a great film and what... well, people who are paid to rate films think constitutes a great film. Going by Rotten Tomatoes, The Reader's paltry 60% barely constitutes a "fresh" film, and Benjamin Button's 72% is pretty soundly in good-but-not-fantastic territory. So while Slumdog (95%), Milk (92%), and Frost/Nixon (91%) all make sense, consider some of the other highly-rated movies that were beaten out by Benjamin Button and The Reader. The Wrestler (98%), WALL-E (96%), The Dark Knight (94%), and Iron Man (93%) all ranked much higher. Even Tropic Thunder (83%) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (88%) rated better. Button and Reader didn't even crack RT's top 100 for the year.
This phenomenon is pretty interesting, I think--the interest of it far outweighs (for me, anyway) the upset of TDK getting snubbed for Best Picture. Indeed, when I made my prediction in August, I thought it was a long-shot--I thought TDK actually getting the nomination would be an upset. Amazing how the world can change in just six months. Look at it now: combine it's extremely positive reviews with it's oh-my-god-how-did-they-do-that box office take, plus the fact that it sort of became the poster boy for a year that featured lots of great comic book films and, that it was cited by many critics as evidence that a movie based on a comic book can still be a great film--does this all add up to an Oscar? Not necessarily, but I think a nomination would have gone a long way towards proving to a younger generation of movie-goers that the Oscars are still... what's the word?... relevant.
Doubly so in an age where there are fifteen awards ceremonies in the month of January. But whatever. I don't think it's going to be a situation like the '06 Emmy's, when the year had been clearly dominated by Gnarls Barkley's Crazy but the Emmy went to some Dixie Chicks song I'd never heard of. But at the same time, the only authority the Oscar's have is that people respect the decisions they make, and the only way to maintain that authority is to continue to make decisions that people respect. Maybe RT can start hosting an awards show.