Page last updated at 10:37 GMT, Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Oscars 2010: Avatar and Hurt Locker lead nominations

The Hurt Locker and Avatar
A total of 10 films will be up for this year's best picture Oscar

Science-fiction film Avatar and war movie The Hurt Locker lead the way at this year's Academy Awards with nine nominations each.

The battle will see Avatar's James Cameron go head-to-head with his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, who made The Hurt Locker, in the best director category.

Other films featured in the best film category include Up in the Air, The Blind Side, Precious and District 9.

British nominees include Colin Firth, Dame Helen Mirren and Carey Mulligan.

NOMINATIONS TALLY
Sandra Bullock
9 - Avatar, The Hurt Locker
8 - Inglourious Basterds
6 - Precious, Up In the Air
5 - Up
4 - District 9, Nine, Star Trek
3 - An Education, Crazy Heart, The Princess and the Frog, The Young Victoria

British writer Nick Hornby, who brought An Education to the big screen, has also been nominated for an award in the best adapted screenplay category.

Hornby is well known for a string of books which have been adapted and made into movies, including Fever Pitch, High Fidelity and About A Boy.

Writers Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche are all nominated in the adapted screenplay category for In The Loop, based on comedy show The Thick of It.

Another British hopeful is Nick Park, for Wallace and Gromit caper A Matter Of Loaf And Death.

Highest grossing

For the first time since 1944, the Oscars feature 10 best picture contenders instead of the usual five.

Reaction from Oscar nominees

The list also includes animated movie Up, A Serious Man, Inglourious Basterds and An Education.

Firth is up for his first Oscar for his role as a gay academic mourning the death of his partner in fashion designer Tom Ford's debut feature film A Single Man.

"I thought I was managing my expectations, but on hearing the news I discovered new and unfamiliar vocal tones. Perhaps I should do another musical," said the Mamma Mia star.

The star will go up against George Clooney (Up in the Air), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Morgan Freeman (Invictus).

Freeman said: "This is my fifth nomination and I'm more proud of that than all the rest of it, I think. Getting nominated, to me, that's the plateau.

2010 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES
George Clooney
Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up In The Air

"After you're nominated, it's like a crap shoot, it's like throwing dice."

In the best actress category, Sandra Bullock also picked up her first nomination for The Blind Side, along with Mulligan for An Education and Gabourey Sidibe for Precious.

Sidibe, who has been nominated for her first leading role, said: "As soon as I heard, I jumped up and down and for some reason I kept screaming, 'I'm gonna get a car, I'm gonna get a car.' I don't know why."

They will battle it out with Academy Award winners Dame Helen Mirren, for The Last Station and Meryl Streep, for her role in Julie & Julia.

There are also nods for Penelope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air) and Mo'Nique (Precious) in the best supporting actress category.

Critical acclaim

And Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones) and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds) will battle it out to win the prize for best supporting actor.

Avatar's producer on Oscar nominations

Avatar, which was recently named the highest grossing film of all time, won two Golden Globes recently.

Cameron is no stranger to winning as he walked away with three Oscars in 1998 for Titanic, which included best picture, director and film editing.

The Hurt Locker, a tense movie about an elite bomb disposal team, has won widespread critical acclaim and triumphed at the Directors Guild of America awards.

Bigelow, whose films include Point Break and K19: The Widowmaker, is only the fourth woman ever to be nominated for directing, and the first since Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation in 2003.

No woman director has ever won the Oscars top prize.

However, The Hurt Locker has already emerged as the favourite to win the top best picture prize during the ceremony on 7 March.

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway announced some of the nominations

"This is a great honour and a wonderful compliment to everyone who worked on the film," said Bigelow of her film's nine nominations.

"To get recognised by the various branches of the Academy is truly heart-warming."

Best actor contender Renner echoed her sentiments, calling his nomination "more exhilarating than I could have ever imagined".

It was, he continued, "a blazing stamp in the passport of an artist that can never be taken away and will always be cherished."

'Really proud'

Lee Daniels, who made Precious, became only the second black film-maker nominated for best director, after John Singleton for 1991's Boyz N the Hood.

Quentin Tarantino, whose Inglourious Basterds is up for eight awards, walked away with a best screenplay award in 1995, but missed out on best director.

The movie's producer Lawrence Bender told BBC Radio 5 live that he was "really proud" of the movie and that he had yet not spoken to Tarantino, but had left a message at his home.

Up's inclusion for best film makes it only the second animated movie to feature in the main category, following Disney's Beauty and the Beast in 1992.

It also features in the animated film shortlist, alongside Coraline, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Princess and the Frog and The Secret of Kells.



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