"And the Oscar goes to..."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 82nd Awards – otherwise known as Oscars -- this morning. For the first time since 1943, there are more than five movies nominated for Best Picture.

  • Avatar – James Cameron’s science fiction epic about people from Earth colonizing another planet. The movie that’s wowing audiences around the world. It’s nominated for nine Oscars: Art Direction, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Original Score, Best Picture, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects.
  • The Blind Side – Based on the true story of Michael Oher, All American football player and first round draft pick for NFL, and the family who adopted him and changed his life. Stars Sandra Bullock who is nominated for Best Actress – her first nomination.
  • District 9 – Science fiction again! Amazing to have two movies nominated for Best Picture in the same year. This thriller is about aliens settling on Earth – and the effect they have on the people here. Also up for Film Editing, Best Picture, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay.
  • An Education – Set in the 1960s, it’s the story of a teenage girl and how her life is transformed when she meets an older, more worldly man. British actress Carey Mulligan is nominated for Best Actress. The movie is also nominated for Adapted Screenplay.
  • The Hurt Locker – The story of an American army bomb squad in war torn Iraq. Like Avatar, this movie is up for nine Oscars: Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Original Score, Best Picture, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay.
  • Inglourious Basterds – Quentin Tarantino’s movie set in World War II is about a band of Jewish-American guerilla soldiers. It is up for Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Best Picture, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay.
  • Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire – Drama about a horribly abused teenage girl whose life is turned around by her teacher and a social worker. Gabourey Sidibe is nominated for Best Actress in her first film and Mo’Nique is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the abusive mother. The movie is also up for Directing, Film Editing, Adapted Screenplay.
  • A Serious Man – This year’s Coen Brothers entry. A dark comedy about a physics professor trying to find his way after his wife leaves him for another man. Also up for Original Screenplay.
  • Up – An animated comedy featuring the voice of Edward Asner as Carl Fredricksen, an elderly man who longs for adventure and finds it by sailing his house away to South America. But he doesn’t count on a young stowaway sharing the journey. Best Animated Feature Film, Original Score, Sound Editing, Original Screenplay.
  • Up in the Air – George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man whose profession involves firing people in various companies. Accustomed to traveling the country by plane to do his job and loving the freedom that gives him, Bingham is forced to consider that he could end up alone one day. Clooney is nominated for Best Actor. Two of his co-stars, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, are both up for Best Supporting Actress. Other nominations are for Directing and Adapted Screenplay.

Motion pictures nominated in other categories include Julie & Julia (Best Actress, Meryl Streep), Coraline (Best Animated Feature Film), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Cinematography), Star Trek (Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects), and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Sound Mixing).

The Oscars will be presented on ABC on March 7. The hosts will be Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Baldwin himself was a nominee a few years ago in the Supporting Actor category for The Cooler. A complete list of this year’s nominations is available here at the Academy website.

What are your favorites for the awards this year?