AVATAR, to no one’s surprise, snagged nine Oscar nominations this morning, tied with THE HURT LOCKER for most. The two films are the leading contenders and sets up an exciting “Battle of the Exes” between directors James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow, who were once married.

Pixar’s UP became only the second animated feature ever to be nominated for Best Picture (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST got the nod in 1991) but it comes in the year of the “Expanded Best Picture” nods — the Academy decided to have 10 Best Pictures nominees instead of the usual 5, leading to things like UP and DISTRICT 9 getting kudos they would never have received in the old system–not that UP didn’t richly deserve the honor.

The Best Animated feature nominees include CORALINE, FANTASTIC MR. FOX, THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, UP, and a surprise — THE SECRET OF KELLS, an Irish-Belgian animated film with the voices of Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally that won’t be out in the US until spring.

Complete list of noms in the jump, including a shameful nomination for TRANSFORMERS:

Nominees for the 82nd annual Academy Awards

Best picture

“The Blind Side”
“District 9”
“An Education”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
“A Serious Man”
“Up in the Air”

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

Best actress

Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Best supporting actor

Matt Damon, “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best supporting actress

Penelope Cruz, “Nine”
Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Best director

James Cameron, “Avatar”
Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
Lee Daniels, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”
Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”

Best animated feature

“Fantastic Mr Fox”
“The Princess and the Frog”
“The Secret of Kells”

Best foreign language film

“Ajami” (Israel)
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (Argentina)
“The Milk of Sorrow” (Peru)
“The Prophet” (France)
“The White Ribbon” (Germany)

Best screenplay (original)

“The Hurt Locker,” written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds,” written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger,” written by Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man,” written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
“Up,” screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter; story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Best screenplay (adapted)

“District 9,” written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
“An Education,” screenplay by Nick Hornby
“In the Loop,” screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
“Up in the Air,” screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Best music (original score)

“Avatar” James Horner
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
“The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
“Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
“Up” Michael Giacchino

Best music (original song)

“Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog,” music and lyrics by Randy Newman
“Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog,” music and lyrics by Randy Newman
“Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36,” music by Reinhardt Wagner and lyrics by Frank Thomas
“Take It All” from “Nine,” music and lyrics by Maury Yeston
“The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart,” music and lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best art direction

“Avatar” art direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; set decoration: Kim Sinclair
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” art direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; set decoration: Caroline Smith
“Nine” art direction: John Myhre; set decoration: Gordon Sim
“Sherlock Holmes” art direction: Sarah Greenwood; set decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Young Victoria” art direction: Patrice Vermette; set decoration: Maggie Gray

Best cinematography

“Avatar” Mauro Fiore
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Best costume design

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson
“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
“Nine” Colleen Atwood
“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Best documentary (feature)

“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
“The Cove” Nominees to be determined
“Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Best documentary (short subject)

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
“Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
“Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Best film editing

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
“District 9” Julian Clarke
“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Best makeup

“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Best short film (animated)

“French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Best short film (live action)

“The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
“Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
“Kavi” Gregg Helvey
“Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
“The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Best sound editing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Best sound mixing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Best visual effects

“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
“District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton


  1. Anime fans are already a bit miffed that PONYO, tho’ eligible for the Animated Feature category this year, didn’t get a nod. But I’m not familiar enough with the field of eligible films to deem it more deserving than any of the other nominees.

  2. 1) Transformers (sound mixing) isn’t the surprise… The big to-do is: Will the Murphy Curse affect Sandra Bullock’s chances of winning an Oscar? Remember, Eddie Murphy supposedly ruined his Best Supporting Actor chances because he had been nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award the same year. History repeats itself, as Sandra Bullock is also nominated for a Worst Actress GR for “All About Steve”.

    Golden Raspberry noms here (including Worst of the Decade!):

    2) Up has almost no chance of winning Best Picture. Just like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won Best Foreign Film but not BP, Up will win it’s “small pond” category of Best Animated Feature but not BP. There was earlier controversy over “The Princess and the Frog” being ruled ineligible for Best Score.

    3) Animation fans should keep their eyes peeled for special “guild” screenings of “The Secret of Kells”. I suspect BAF voitng is open to the entire Academy membership, so there might be showings offered to the public as well. (Animated short subjects usually have a one-time screening as well, and sometimes a commercial release. Oscars.org has the shortlist.) Otherwise, since it was already released in Europe, regional DVDs can be purchased.

    4) Wow. Pixar’s short “Partly Cloudy” did not leave the Shorts shortlist. Not surprised… it wasn’t that great, but is this the first Pixar theatrical short not to be nominated?

    I’ll wait for Heidi’s Animated Shorts list… but Logorama looks cool.

  3. I fully expect Avatar to win Best Picture, but The Hurt Locker is so much better than Avatar that it is laughable they are both nominated in the same category. Avatar is important for its use of technology, but it’s a pretty lame movie without the tech.

  4. I’d really like to see Inglorious Basterds and Tarantino win but I doubt that is gonna happen. I liked Avatar and all, but come on, there have been way, way better sci-fi/fantasy movies over the years that did not get nominated.

  5. It’s great to see that KELLS was nominated. From what I’ve seen so far in previews, the visuals for this film are incredible.

    In the case of PONYO, would it even count for this year’s awards contention, since it’s original Japanese release was more than a year ago?

  6. Well Bullock is playing a real person, and over the past decade at least one actor has won for playing a real person, so she has that going for her.

  7. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS was definitely a better film than AVATAR, as were a few other films, but it seems more than likely that AVATAR will win Best Picture, especially after the recent Golden Globes win. It’s the TITANIC Best Picture win all over again, where topping the all-time box office charts guarantees an Oscar regardless of actual quality.

  8. The Golden Globes are voted on by 89 members, many of them freelance journalists. They have a horrible track record of selecting Oscar winners, let alone Oscar NOMINEES.

    As for biopic actors… if the movie takes liberty with the facts (like Born on the Fourth of July), then it could hurt its chances of winning an Oscar. Although it is interesting… Blind Side vs. Precious…

    Of course, one must not overlook Meryl Streep, who is playing a real person, and who has 14 nominations and 2 wins so far…

  9. Avatar is an enjoyable movie, but as films go, merely passable. The shot it has at winning however is the fact it put a LOT of asses in the seats of movie theaters and has legs. Low percentage drop offs from week to week. Sure the 3-D and iMax inflate the totals, but people are still going.

    Happy to see Inglorious, An Education, Hurt Locker, and a Serious Man get nods. Districts 9 was decent except for the second act. And Up in the Air while a good movie, did not strike me as Oscar worthy.

  10. “In the case of PONYO, would it even count for this year’s awards contention, since it’s original Japanese release was more than a year ago?”

    PONYO was listed as among the 20 films deemed eligbile for this year’s Animated Feature Oscar (see: http://www.bit.ly/a1lqs ) so it would appear that PONYO not getting nominated was it not making the grade, not that it wasn’t eligible.

    It does appear that competition was pretty stiff this year. Unless I’m mistaken, there were more films eligible this year than ever before in the history of the award. And this is only the second time where there are 5 nominees for the award. (Oscar rules hold that when there are fewer than a certain number of eligible animated features, there will be no more than 3 nominees.)

    Hooray animation, I guess!

  11. Hurt Locker was the best movie I saw last year, hands down. I’d love to see it win across the board, but I’ve long since given up hope for the Academy caring what I think.

  12. Bigelow just took the Directors Guild award so I’m calling The Hurt Locker the front runner. Anti-Avatarism has started to build in Hollywood circles. History is made if Bigelow wins, a lot of cringing in the audience if Cameron does. I’m sorry Star Trek didn’t make the cut, but it’s nice to see District 9 there. Bridges for actor, although Clooney and Firth were also excellent. The Best Actress nominee from Precious broke my heart, so she gets my sentimental vote, although I know she won’t win. Monique a shoo-in. Can’t wait. Hope it runs six hours.

  13. I wonder what the list would look like if they hadn’t bumped it up to ten. :/ I thought both “Up” & “District 9” were entertaining, but Best Picture? Really?

    Avatar should win every technical award out there, but if it wins for Best Picture I’m gonna spit. Not as hard as I spat when horrible Crash beat lovely Brokeback Mountain, though. I’m baffled at all these people telling me what a great story Avatar has. Pretty? Oh hell yes! Not the end-all be-all of original tales, though.

  14. I’m cheering for Neil Gaiman and Coraline all the way. Neil must have a crystal ball. He’s in town just in time for the nominees to be announced, doing a lecture @ UCLA Thursday night and I imagine he’ll stick around for the Annies on Saturday night which is taking place at the same venue.



  15. Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to call. Sometimes a movie is an unstoppable force, such as Titanic and Slumdog Millionaire. Other times, it is truly deserving, such as The Return of the King and No Country For Old Men. Sometimes, I scratch my head, such as when Chicago and Crash won. This year I think there have been some very, very good films, but nothing great. I really liked Precious, and I really liked Up In The Air, but neither are up there with the like of No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood.

  16. HEY! Animation fans!
    Oscar-nominated Animated Feature Symposium $5! Tickets go on sale tomorrow!
    “The Animated Feature Symposium celebrates the work of the 2009 Oscar nominees in the Animated Feature Film category. The nominees (schedules permitting) will discuss their creative process and the development of their films, and present clips illustrating their techniques. This year’s symposium will be nearly twice as lively as last year’s inaugural event, as there are five nominated films in this category instead of just three.”

  17. I know “Nine’s” script was bad, but the performances were good enough for BP in my mind with a 10-wide field. District 9 is certainly not oscar worthy. And while I loved Penelope Cruz in Nine, I thought Marion Cotillard did the best job in that movie

  18. “including a shameful nomination for TRANSFORMERS”

    Yeah, because a movie having a crappy story totally means that the technical crew shouldn’t be recognized for doing quality work in their field. Too bad they didn’t run the nominations by you first so you could have told them which ones didn’t meet your holy approval.

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