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Oscar nominations announced: 'Avatar,' 'Hurt Locker' lead with nine each

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Here are the nominees in the 10 major categories for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. Avatar and The Hurt Locker each scored nine nominations. The winners will be announced on March 7. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Academy Award updates between now and the Oscar ceremony.

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. Invictus and Star Trek were replaced by A Serious Man and, in one of the morning’s biggest surprises, The Blind Side, which had received no guild nominations or critics prizes other than for Sandra Bullock’s performance. Clearly all the Sandra love buoyed the film. As expected, The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds (8 nods), Precious (6 nods), and Up in the Air (6 nods) led the pack, while Up becomes only the second animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Star Trek, meanwhile, did score a total of four nominations but just couldn’t muscle into Best Picture. That’s the best news for Avatar, which still may have a hard time beating The Hurt Locker.

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

These are the five SAG nominees, so nothing surprising here. Morgan Freeman was the only possible weak link, but none of the guys on the bubble—Viggo Mortensen, Matt Damon, Ben Foster, Robert Downey Jr.—had enough oomph. How can Jeff Bridges lose? I’d say Jeremy Renner is the only one who can upset him (like Adrien Brody for The Pianist).

Best Actress

Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Helen Mirren, The Last Station

Carey Mulligan, An Education

Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Another repeat of the SAG nominees. The Young Victoria‘s Emily Blunt had a shot at displacing Helen Mirren, but clearly the older voters responded well to The Last Station. The Blind Side‘s Best Picture nomination (compared to no other nods for Julie & Julia) means Bullock has the edge. Who’da thunk it?

Best Supporting Actor

Matt Damon, Invictus

Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Christopher Plummer, The Last Station

Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

A bunch of talented gents were overlooked here: Alec Baldwin, Christian McKay, Alfred Molina, Peter Sarsgaard, and Anthony Mackie, to name just five. As I’ve stated before, this race was over before it ever began.

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

Here we have the only variance from SAG in the individual acting races, as Maggie Gyllenhaal stole Diane Kruger’s slot. And even though Julianne Moore failed to earn a SAG nod for A Single Man, I’m still surprised the Academy didn’t give her a fifth career nomination.

Best Director

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

James Cameron, Avatar

Lee Daniels, Precious

Jason Reitman, Up in the Air

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

The five DGA nominees repeated here, fending off competition from the likes of Neill Blomkamp and Lone Scherfig. But these five films are so far out in front that no one else really had a shot. It’s Bigelow’s to lose.

Best Original Screenplay

Mark Boal, The Hurt Locker

Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman, The Messenger

Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Pete Docter, Bob Peterson & Tom McCarthy, Up

Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

As with Titanic, James Cameron failed to earn a screenplay nomination for Avatar. The Messenger duo stole the fifth slot from the adorable (500) Days of Summer guys. With Hurt Locker and Basterds in the running, this may be the tightest major race of the year.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci & Tony Roche, In the Loop

Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell, District 9

Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious

Nick Hornby, An Education

Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

If there’s a shock here, it’s the inclusion of the little-seen In the Loop over Fantastic Mr. Fox. But the writers branch often goes for a sharp British indie, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

Best Animated Film

Coraline

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Princess and the Frog

The Secret of Kells

Up

Best Foreign Language Film

El Secreto do Sus Ojos (Argentina)

Un Prophete (France)

The White Ribbon (Germany)

Ajami (Israel)

The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)

The rest of the categories are after the jump.

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 Yeston

“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

Image credit: Avatar: WETA; Renner: Jonathan Olley; Oscar: A.M.P.A.S.

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