Two grim, bleak films about the dark side of American life led the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards.

Screen image from There Will Be Blood

The award nominations showed that the Academy is fully in tune with the elite culture’s current predilection for gloom and doom.

No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood led the nominations with eight apiece, including Best Picture and Best Director. Both films were helmed by smart, talented, thoughtful filmmakers, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen and Paul Michael Anderson, respectively.

The sad romance Atonement, the anti-business legal thriller Michael Clooney, and the teen pregnancy comedy rounded out the Best Picture contenders.

Actor and actress nominations were drawn from the Best Picture nominees and other weird, gloomy, or politically charged films such as Tommy Lee Jones (for Best Actor for In the Valley of Elah), Julie Christie (for Best Actress for playing an Alzheimer’s victim in Away from Her), Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Viggo Mortensen, Casey Affleck, and Amy Ryan.

Whether any stars will actually attend the ceremony is in doubt at this point, as the Screen Actors Guild is honoring the Writers Guild strike against the movie and television industry. Such an outcome, of course, would probably severely cut the award program’s ratings.

A complete list of nominations for the 80th Academy Awards is available here at the Motion Picture Academy website.