Anne Hathaway devoted her Tuesday morning (Feb. 2) to announcing the nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, which saw “Up in the Air” getting an early lead in the major film categories.
The Jason Reitman-directed film nabbed six nods during the morning telecast, including best actor for George Clooney, best supporting actresses for Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, best adapted screenplay, best director and best film.
Overall, however, “Avatar” and “The Hurt Locker” boasted the most nominations with nine apiece. James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster earned nods for best picture and director, art direction, cinematography, film editing, original score, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects.
“The Hurt Locker’s” bounty encompassed nominations for best picture and director, lead actor, cinematography, film editing, original score, sound editing, sound mixing and original screenplay.
With the best picture field opened up to 10 films, there were definitely a few surprises. The expected “Avatar,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” and “Up in the Air” were present. A few pleasant exclamations were made when “The Blind Side,” “An Education,” “Up,” “A Serious Man” and especially “District 9” were added to the list.
The best actress race saw the reunion of awards season rivals Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side” and Meryl Streep for “Julie & Julia.” They were joined by Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) and Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”).
On the men’s side, it was heartening to see Jeremy Renner get recognition for his turn in “The Hurt Locker.” We’ve already mentioned Clooney, and the rest of the field was filled with Colin Firth for “A Single Man,” Morgna Freeman for “Invictus” and Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart.”
Supporting actress nominations went to the “Up in the Air” ladies, Penelope Cruz for her sexy turn in “Nine,” Mo’Nique for “Precious” and a surprise but well-deserved addition, Maggie Gyllenhaal for “Crazy Heart.”
Supporting actor nods went to Matt Damon for “Invictus,” Woody Harrelson for “The Messenger,” Christopher Plummer for “The Last Station,” a creepy Stanley Tucci for “The Lovely Bones” and Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds.”
The best director category yielded the expected names we’ve been seeing during the awards season: James Cameron for “Avatar,” Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker,” Tarantino for “Basterds,” Lee Daniels for “Push” and the aforementioned Jason Reitman. Bigelow is notably only the fourth woman to ever be nominated in the best director category after Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) and Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties.”) Bigelow has a good chance of succeeding where they did not if her DGA award is a good predictor.
In the animated film category, Pixar’s sentimental “Up” will take on the family friendly “Princess and the Frog,” the irreverent “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” the creepy “Coraline” and the lesser known “The Secret of the Kells.”
The 82nd Academy Awards will be telecast on ABC from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, March 7.