HE reader Richard Huffman finds it very odd, as I do, that the Academy denied Happy-Go-Lucky‘s Sally Hawkins a Best Actress nomination. You’d think someone who won a Best Actress trophy last month from the Los Angeles and New York film critics as well as a Best Comedy/Muscial actress Golden Globe award would have at least warranted a nomination, for heaven’s sake. But no — not even that.

What happened?

“I’ve only scanned the awards of the last eight years, but every single winner of Best Actress in a Drama, or in a Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes has been guaranteed an Oscar nod until this year,” Hufman says. “Renee Zellwegger won a Musical/Comedy Golden Globe in ’01 for Nurse Betty but didn’t prevail with the Academy; ditto for Madonna in ’97 — Comedy/Musical Golden Globe for her performance in Evita, but zip from the Academy.”

The difference is that Hawkins’s Happy-Go-Lucky performance was (no offense to Zellweger or Madonna) of a much higher calibre. The NYFCC and LAFCA Best Actress awards speak to that; ditto the Silver Bear she won in Berlin, the Best Actress award from the Boston Society of Film Critics and Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical.

The only theory I can figure is that Academy voters mainly vote for primary-color performances in bigger budget mainstream films, but will sometimes, out of the goodness in their hearts, vote for one quirky, oddball, indie-ish performance out of the five. The actress who took this year’s indie nomination was Frozen River‘s Melissa Leo, so that left Hawkins out.

Hawkins should have taken the Angelina Jolie/Changeling slot. I’m sure I’m not the only one who suspects that Jolie (who, don;t mistake, gave a strong and respectable performance in Clint Eastwood‘s period film) was nominated for her marquee value.