82nd Annual Academy Awards Oscar Nominations

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Oscar Nominations for the 82 Annual Academy Awards were announced today at the crack of dawn. On hand to unveil the news were Anne Hathaway and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, Tom Sherak. For the most part, the nominations went as many predicted with only a few notable surprises.

Science-fiction “Avatar” and the war thriller “The Hurt Locker” lead the pack with nine nominations each. Even though the “Best Picture” field has increased to ten spots, the race is really between these two. Throughout the entire awards season, the two have split most of the awards. In an ironic twist, both pictures are directed by ex-spouses- James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow who were briefly married from 1989-1991. Who’ll come out on top and earn bragging rights?

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BEST ACTOR

  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
  • George Clooney, Up in the Air
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Morgan Freeman, Invictus
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

The five lucky gentlemen nominated here are the exact same five who earned SAG nominees. In all but one of the four acting categories, the SAGs and Oscars are identical. Unless something catastrophic occurs, Jeff Bridges has this in the bag. He’s an actor’s actor who has never won before. The only two I can see usurping him are George Clooney (because everyone loves him in Hollywood) and Jeremy Renner (think Adrien Brody “Pianist” type of upset).

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BEST ACTRESS

  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
  • Helen Mirren, The Last Station
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
  • Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Though these are the same five who scored SAG nominees, a few were expecting Helen Mirren wouldn’t make the cut. Some had predicted Emily Blunt would sneak in with her royal performance in “The Young Victoria”, but clearly the older voters responded well to Mirren’s role in “The Last Station”. Currently Bullock has all the momentum going into the race. She’s won the SAG, Golden Globes and handful of other precursors. This is her “Erin Brockovich”. Though I love Meryl Streep, it’d be a complete upset if she won. I know the Academy has been dying to hand her another statuette for years, but the stars never seem to align for the legend. Last year, “Doubt” was her best shot at taking home another Oscar, had it not been for the much beloved Kate Winslet never winning and always being overlooked for so many years. The only potential spoiler I see in this category is Carey Mulligan.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Matt Damon, Invictus
  • Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
  • Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
  • Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
  • Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but its another repeat of the SAG nominees. Leading up to the Oscars, like the two previous acting categories, one person has been dominating the field. That man would be Christoph Waltz. If anyone was going to spoil Waltz’ parade, my money would be on Stanley Tucci or Woody Harrelson. Two well respected actors who have never won.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Penélope Cruz, Nine
  • Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, Crazy Heart
  • Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
  • Mo’Nique, Precious

Finally we get a bit of a shake-up. The only acting category to deviate from what the SAGs recognized. Who’s in and who’s out? Maggie Gyllenhaal pulled a “robbery” on “Inglourious Basterds” Diane Kruger’s slot. Many had thought Julianne Moore would’ve been the one who snuck in last minute to make the top five. Though Gyllenhaal has no shot of winning, her nomination indicates how much love the Academy has for “Crazy Heart”. This bodes really well for Jeff Bridges’ chances of taking the “Best Actor” statue. Unless a major backlash occurs here, the former “The Parkers” star Mo’Nique has this one wrapped up. Girl, better start prepping that acceptance speech because this race is dunzo.

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BEST DIRECTOR

  • Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • James Cameron, Avatar
  • Lee Daniels, Precious
  • Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
  • Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

In another replication from a guild precursor, the five selected here are the same five who nabbed DGA nominations. With Daniels and Bigelow in the mix, this is the most diverse pool in the history of this category. Bigelow is only the fourth woman nominated, while Daniels is only the second African-American to score a nod. On Oscar night, get ready for Bigelow to become the first woman to win this award- Its her’s to lose.

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BEST PICTURE

  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side
  • District 9
  • An Education
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • Precious
  • A Serious Man
  • Up
  • Up in the Air

Eight of the 10 Producers Guild nominees repeated here. “A Serious Man” and “The Blind Side” made the Oscar cut, displacing “Star Trek” and “Invictus”. With “The Blind Side”‘s surprise inclusion, a Sandra Bullock win seems even more likely. “Up” becomes only the second animated film to score a “Best Picture” nod. While Bigelow will win for “The Hurt Locker”, expect James Cameron’s “Avatar” to take home the grand prize. It’ll be his consolation prize.

With the nominations firmly in tact, let the games officially begin. Get ready to see a lot of campaigning from everyone in the next month. Hopefully we’ll get some mud-slinging to make the race more interesting. Watch it all unfold during the Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin hosted telecast on Sunday March 7, 2010. Hopefully they can equal Hugh Jackman’s excellent hosting skills from last year’s entertaining show.

Here are the remainder of the Oscar nominations announced today.

Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, & Thomas McCarthy, Up

Adapted Screenplay
Neil Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9
Nick Hornby, An Education
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Ianucci, & Tony Roche, In the Loop *big surprise
Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious
Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Foreign Language Film
Ajami (Israel)
El secreto de sus ojos (Argentina)
The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
Un Prophete (France)
The White Ribbon (Germany)

Animated Film
Coraline
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Up

Best Art Direction
Avatar
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
Sherlock Holmes
The Young Victoria

Best Cinematography
Avatar
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The White Ribbon

Best Costume Design
Bright Star
Coco Before Chanel
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Nine
The Young Victoria

Best Documentary
Burma VJ
The Cove
Food, Inc.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
Which Way Home

Best Editing
Avatar
District 9
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious

Best Makeup
Il Divo
Star Trek
The Young Victoria

Best Score
Avatar
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes
Up

Best Song
“Almost There,” The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans,” The Princess and the Frog, Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname,” Paris 36, Reinhardt Wagner & Frank Thomas
“Take It All,” Nine, Maury Weston
“The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart, T-Bone Burnett & Ryan Bingham

Best Sound Editing
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Up

Best Sound Mixing
Avatar
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Star Trek
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Best Visual Effects
Avatar
District 9
Star Trek

Best Documentary Short
China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant
Music by Prudence
Rabbit à la Berlin

Best Animated Short
French Roast
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)
Logorama
A Matter of Loaf and Death

Best Live-Action Short
The Door
Instead of Abracadabra
Kavi
Miracle Fish
The New Tenants

  • Interesting too that Best Director and Best Picture are pitting Cameron and Bigelow against each other….WHY>?

    they used to be married. She was one of many of Cameron’s ex wives. I can only imagine what the dinner table conversation was like… especially since Cameron is such a peach.

    Also …. 2 Avatar sequels are in the works…. Na’vi-tastic !!