Well, colour us blue and call us a Thanator. The nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards have just been announced in LA and, while James Cameron’s Avatar – the biggest film of all time – bagged nine nominations in total, it hasn’t had it all its own way.
Cameron’s epic has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, and picked up a raft of technical nominations, but it was overlooked in most other major categories, including the acting divisions and Best Original Screenplay and, while it remains the favourite to take the main prize, faces some serious competition from The Hurt Locker – directed, of course, by Cameron's ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow – going into the March 7 ceremony.
The Hurt Locker also bagged nine nominations, including Best Actor for Jeremy Renner, but the likes of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (with eight), Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air (six) the surprise Sandra Bullock smash, The Blind Side, and Lee Daniels’ Precious (also six) can’t be discounted in the race for the main prize.
The nominations – announced this year by Anne Hathaway, along with Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president, Tom Sherak – also included, for the first time in decades, ten Best Picture nominees. Beyond the usual suspects, that allowed the Academy leeway to spring some surprises, with the likes of District 9, the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man and Pixar’s Up getting nods they wouldn't have had last year. The full list of Best Picture nominees is Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Inglourious Basterds, Up In The Air, Up, A Serious Man, The Blind Side, District 9 and An Education.
Up’s nomination means it’s the first animated movie to bag a Best Picture nomination since Beauty And The Beast back in 1992. It’s also nominated in the Best Animated Feature category, alongside The Princess And The Frog, Coraline and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Ten into five does not go, however, meaning that five directors had to miss out on nominations in the Best Director category. Cameron, Bigelow – who won the DGA Best Director prize a few days ago and might be seen as the frontrunner – Reitman, Tarantino and Lee Daniels all got the nod.
Best Actress saw few surprises, with Sandra Bullock, for The Blind Side, Carey Mulligan, for An Education, Gabourey Sidibe, for Precious, Helen Mirren for The Last Station and Meryl Streep’s customary nomination for Julie & Julia, all making the list. There was no place for Avatar’s Zoe Saldana.
The Best Actor nominees were Jeff Bridges, for Crazy Heart, George Clooney for Up In The Air, Morgan Freeman for Invictus, Colin Firth for A Single Man and Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker.
The supporting actor/actress categories was pretty predictable, with Christoph Waltz, Christopher Plummer, Woody Harrelson, and Matt Damon filling out the Best Supporting Actor categories, while Mo’nique, Maggie Gyllenhaal, the Up In The Air pair of Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga and Penelope Cruz secured the Best Supporting Actress slots.
And, if there was some concern about Oscar co-hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin not being fully focused on the night, that’s now been dissipated as neither was nominated for It’s Complicated.
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