Sometimes I think the Academy just nominates people because they like them and want them to show up at to the ceremony and I was thinking about who could be a surprise "because we like them" nominee for this year.
Clint Eastwood! He did the score, randomly, for the John Cusack film Grace is Gone. Eastwood's score has already been nommed by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (of course it has) and the Satellites. We all know the Academy loves Clint, but will the music branch take one for the team and nominate him. I mean, Clint has to show up then, right?
Adrienne Shelley! Okay, so she can't show up to the ceremony, but you know some people wanna celebrate the late writer/director/actress for her final film Waitress. I doubt she'll get a best original screenplay nomination, but how about a best original song nomination? She is eligible for "Baby Don't You Cry" - a lullaby refrain in the film - alongside Andrew Hollinder.
Judd Apatow and John C Reilly! Similarly, I think Apatow will miss out on a best original screenplay nod for his work on Knocked Up, but they could nominate Apatown, Reilley (a nominee once before for Chicago) alongside Jake Kasdan for their original song "Walk Hard" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. You just know they love to get these "frat pack" people up on stage at some point. They do it every year! So at least if they're nominated they have an excuse to be there.