Hollywood woke up bright and early today to toast the best projects of 2011 at this morning’s 84th Academy Awards nominations ceremony. It was well worth the early rise for some stars, who are taking the time this morning to open up about their nominations in their respective categories. Read below to see what some of this year’s Oscars nominees are saying about the honor and their competition.

Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady (Best Actress): “I am honored to be in company with such beautiful artists, and touched deeply by my fellow actors for their generosity in giving me this acknowledgment.”

Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn (Best Actress): “I am so grateful to be acknowledged by the Academy for my work, which was made possible by the support of our director Simon Curtis and the camaraderie of a terrific ensemble of actors – a special congratulations to Kenneth Branagh – and the fearless Harvey Weinstein. This role has been the challenge and privilege of a lifetime. I would like to think that the recognition our film has received by the Academy is a testament to Marilyn’s legacy.”

Demián Bichir, A Better Life (Best Actor): “I’m overwhelmed for having my name among those incredible actors. This could have never happened if Chris Weitz had not been the head of this film. He is my brother and I thank him deeply. Hopefully more and more people will jump into iTunes and Netflix to see our film. That will be the biggest reward we could get. I dedicate this nomination to those eleven million human beings who make our lives easier and better in the US.”

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist (Best Supporting Actress): “I’m overjoyed and filled with happiness. I can’t believe that a year ago I was learning how to tap dance and today I am nominated for an Academy Award. It was a thrill to work on a project as ambitious as The Artist and I am happy to share this moment with our visionary director, Michel Hazanavicius.”

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn (Best Supporting Actor): “It was a rare honour to play Sir Laurence Olivier. To be recognised by the Academy for doing so is overwhelming. I’m absolutely thrilled.”

Jonah Hill, Moneyball (Best Supporting Actor): “I am so humbled, appreciative and in shock about this incredible honor. I’d like to thank the Academy, Sony Pictures , the cast and crew of Moneyball, Brad Pitt, and, most of all, our brilliant director Bennett Miller.”

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist (Best Director): “I am so honored for this nomination. Filming The Artist in Los Angeles was a dream come true, and to receive this recognition today is far beyond what I ever imagined. I couldn’t have done this film without the incredible cast of actors and outstanding crew whose heart and souls were poured into this project.”

Alexander Payne, The Descendants (Best Director): “There’s no denying that Oscar nominations for one’s film are exciting, if only for the joy they give to everyone who worked so hard on the film. I’m particularly happy for the recognition of my long-time editor Kevin Tent. He really deserves it.”

Martin Scorsese, Hugo (Best Director): “I am deeply honored to have been nominated by the Academy for my work on Hugo. Every picture is a challenge, and this one – where I was working with 3D, HD and Sacha Baron Cohen for the first time – was no exception. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve been recognized by the people in your industry. I congratulate my fellow nominees. It’s an impressive list, and I’m in excellent company.”

Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, The Descendants (Best Picture): “We are deeply moved by this nomination and honored to be included in the company of such fine films and filmmakers. Our story of a family was made with the help of exceptional artists and craftsmen who became friends. We share this honor with them and the people of Hawaii.”

Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Best Picture): “I’m deeply honored that the Academy recognized Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close as well as Max von Sydow. The entire team behind our film felt the enormous responsibility in taking on this project, and it is deeply humbling to have the Academy recognize it in this way.”

Kathleen Kennedy, War Horse (Best Picture): “We are thrilled for the nominations War Horse has received and most of all thankful to have been working under the leadership of Steven Spielberg whose moral clarity, vision and sensitive handling of the Great War might serve in some small way to raise awareness of war’s pointlessness.”

Thomas Langmann, The Artist (Best Picture): “I am very humbled by this morning’s nominations. This must be how my father felt back in 1965 when he received his first Oscar nomination. The Artist was a labor of love from writer/director Michel Hazanavicius to pay homage to Hollywood, and to see all the love that the Academy has given it this morning is overwhelming.”

Dede Gardner, The Tree of Life (Best Picture): “We are all incredibly grateful to the Academy for this recognition and in particular for the recognition given to Terry. Often times movies live in a very small bubble for a long time before they reach the world. This is especially true about The Tree of Life and so makes today all the more gratifying.”

Bill Pohlad, The Tree of Life (Best Picture): “I must say I am pleasantly shocked and incredibly grateful to the Academy for this honor. We are all so proud of The Tree of Life, but we knew too it was a very challenging film that pushed the envelope. The nominations this morning are thrilling endorsements of the film, Terry’s vision, the incredible work of Chivo, and the great contributions of everyone involved. Many thanks to the Academy!”

Steven Spielberg, War Horse (Best Picture) and The Help (Best Picture): “I am thrilled with our multiple nominations for The Help and War Horse. It is the first time that I have experienced two Best Picture nominations in the same year. One is a high honor. Two is humbling but very exciting. It is a tribute to all those who joined with Stacey Snider and our DreamWorks Studios team to develop and make these two films with stories that we passionately felt we had to make.”

Scott Rudin, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Best Picture), Moneyball (Best Picture), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: “What a great morning! I’m completely thrilled for all of our colleagues on Extremely Loud, Moneyball, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This recognition of our work is extraordinarily rewarding for all of us.”

Chris Miller, Puss In Boots (Best Animated Feature): “Am I still dreaming? What an absolute honor to be nominated. Thank you to the Academy on behalf of the entire cast, crew, cat and boots! This is beyond a thrill… and I’m pretty sure I’m awake.”

Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Kung Fu Panda 2 (Best Animated Feature): “The year of the dragon is off to a great start! Today’s nomination is a huge boost of encouragement for the hundreds of dedicated cast and crew that have created such a beautiful film. I am deeply proud of what we have achieved together and honored by the Academy with this recognition.”

Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, The Descendants (Best Adapted Screenplay): “First of all, thank you to the Academy. This has been an incredible journey. We have long admired Alexander Payne, so the experience of working alongside him has been a reward in and of itself. We couldn’t be more proud of The Descendants and everyone, from cast to crew, who made it what it is. Also a special thank you to Kaui Hart Hemmings. This nomination wouldn’t exist without her beautiful novel.”

Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy (Best Adapted Screenplay): “I’m stunned and thrilled to hear about the nomination. I wish more than anything in the world that my wife Bridget O’Connor — who wrote this adaptation with me could be here to enjoy this moment. She would be so happy and so proud. I’m going to go and meet my daughter now and tell her how clever her mother was!”

Joseph Cedar, Footnote (Best Foreign Language Film): “We are all happy and relieved to be included in the five nominees for Best Foreign Feature in a year that seemed especially strong in this category.”

Philippe Falardeau, Monsieur Lazhar (Best Foreign Language Film): “What is happening to the film is galaxies away from what I had initially hoped for. I say this, of course, in a good way. I rejoice in the fact that such an intimate film can find its way alongside Hollywood productions, proof that there is not only one path to artistic and public recognition. I am thrilled and I want to share this moment with all the members of Monsieur Lazhar’s team, wherever they are right now. This is also their nomination. I also have a special thought at this moment for my family.”

Joe Berlinger, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (Best Documentary): “The real prize has been helping secure the release of three innocent men from prison, but being recognized by the Academy is a thrilling conclusion to this eighteen-year journey.”

Wim Wenders, PINA (Best Documentary): “It’s fantastic to be nominated for Best Documentary for the second time after Buena Vista Social Club, especially as it is the first time for a 3D film to be given that honor. All the dancers and collaborators of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, together with the crew and the production company Neue Road Movies, are extremely honored. With our journey into the magical kingdom of the great German choreographer Pina Bausch we wanted to raise a monument to this pioneer of modern dance. The worldwide success of PINA and now this Oscar nomination are a fantastic reward and recognition of our common work.”

Ludovic Bource, The Artist (Best Original Score): “I am humbled and over-joyed to learn of my Oscar nomination. Last week I came to Hollywood for the first time in my life, which in of itself, was a dream come true. I started playing the accordion when I was 8 years old, I wish I could go back in time at tell myself about today, the dream continues!”

Enrico Casarosa, La Luna (Best Animated Short Film): “La Luna is a deeply personal story for me, and to have it recognized by the Academy is an honor both profound and exhilarating. I know this also means so much to the crew, who believed in this whimsical idea and brought it to life with amazing talent and expertise. On behalf of all of them, I’d like to thank the Academy. This must certainly be how it feels to be over the moon!”

Robert Gould, The Artist (Best Art Direction): “I am honored to be nominated for a academy award for such a beautiful film that is love letter to Hollywood. Since I was born in Hollywood and second generation in the film business I went to work each day filled with enthusiasm. I am proud to contribute to something that shows gratitude to the business that has given my family and myself so much gratification.”

Anne Seibel, Midnight in Paris (Best Art Direction): “The magical effect of romantic Paris has captured the attention of the Americans, I feel that I’ve been in a dream that started when Woody gave me the chance to enter his world and create an empire of enchantment for him which led me to this nomination and has been embraced by the world.”

Kevin Tent, The Descendants (Best Film Editing): “I am thrilled beyond words. To be nominated by my peers, whose films and work I admire is a great honor. To collaborate with Alexander is a true joy. Our cast was amazing, the script great, the film looked beautiful. To be a part of such a project was an amazing experience and now honored by the Academy puts it all over the top.”

Joe Letteri, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Best Visual Effects): “It’s been exciting for us to see audiences connect with Caesar and it’s fantastic to receive this recognition from the academy.”

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