Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards

On Tuesday the nominations were announced for the 82nd annual Academy Awards, which seek to honour the best films released during 2009. This year's awards ceremony takes place in Los Angeles on Sunday, 7 March, and the show will be hosted by the team of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

What is significant about this year's Oscars is that for the first time 10 films are competing for the Best Picture Award. This doubling of nominees however can be explained as an attempt by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to generate more public interest in the show by including a greater number of audience favourite films. You see traditionally the Academy is considered to have quite highbrow tastes, lavishing praise on pedigreed dramas and indie film festival faves. This left little room in the various categories for popular "genre" films that even the critics admitted were excellent. Case in point: 2008's The Dark Knight.

With a greater number of films now vying for Best Picture, these audience pleasing blockbusters (which I believe still have little chance of winning Best Picture) are no longer are confined to "consolation" technical categories, like Best Sound Editing and Visual Effects.

Anyway, given how crowd pleasing and popularist the results were at this year's Golden Globes (an awards show which is seen as an accurate indicator of the eventual Oscar winners), it'll be interesting to see what dominates at this year's Academy Awards. It could in fact quite easily be Avatar, although personally I consider it to be too flawed a movie to be a worthy winner of Best Picture. Sure Avatar was an outstanding cinematic experience, but as a film it was only solid; not excellent.

The only other comment I have about this year's Oscars is that South Africans have a few things to be excited about. Although District 9 and Invictus are not traditional South African made and funded films - in reality they're both international productions set in the Rainbow Nation - they have still landed some prime nominations, and placed the spotlight on SA.

Clint Eastwood's inspiring 1995 Rugby World Cup drama Invictus has scored 2 nominations: Morgan Freeman (Best Actor), and Matt Damon (Best Supporting Actor).

Meanwhile, sci-fi Apartheid allegory District 9 has secured 4 nominations, including Best Picture. The movie is also up for Film Editing, Visual Effects and Writing (Adapted Screenplay) Oscars.

As a sidenote, I'm now really excited to see The Hurt Locker (finally released locally on 19 March) and An Education (out now), and I'm exceptionally happy that Pixar's CGI-animated film Up scored a Best Picture nomination. I think it has zero chance of winning but it's great to see a truly deserving animated film acknowledged in the most important Oscar category.

The complete list of nominations for this year's Academy Awards is as follows:

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”

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

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
“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

Writing (Original Screenplay)
“The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
“Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
“The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
“A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
“Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

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

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

Animated Feature Film
“Coraline” Henry Selick
“Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
“The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
“The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
“Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
“Sherlock Holmes”
"The Young Victoria”

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“The White Ribbon”

Costume Design
“Bright Star”
“Coco before Chanel”
“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”
“The Young Victoria”

Documentary (Feature)
“Burma VJ”
“The Cove”
“Food, Inc.”
“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”
“Which Way Home”

Documentary (Short Subject)
“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province”
“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”
“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”
“Music by Prudence”
“Rabbit à la Berlin”

Film Editing
“District 9”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Foreign Language Film
“Ajami” Israel
“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
"The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
“Un Prophète” France
“The White Ribbon” Germany

“Il Divo”
“Star Trek”
“The Young Victoria”

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

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

Short Film (Animated)
“French Roast”
“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty”
“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)”
"A Matter of Loaf and Death”

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Door”
“Instead of Abracadabra”
“Miracle Fish”
“The New Tenants”

Sound Editing
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Star Trek”

Sound Mixing
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Star Trek”
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”

Visual Effects
“District 9”
“Star Trek”


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