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It was predicted that Avatar was going to be the big cheese in this year's Academy Award nominations, and that's exactly what has happened. James Cameron's multi-million-dollar epic earned nine Oscar nods when nominations were announced last night, including one for the highly coveted Best Picture award.
In an interesting twist, however – something that could have been taken out of a film itself – Cameron is set to go up against his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, whose film also earned nine nominations for her work on The Hurt Locker. The former couple was married between 1989 and 1991. Both have been nominated for Best Director Oscars.
But while Cameron's science fiction production has the big budget, and box-office power – it is still the UAE's number one film, weeks after its release, and recently became the top grossing film in the world ever – the momentum is in fact behind Bigelow and her low budget war movie, which won the top award from the Director's Guild of America (DGA) on the weekend. Bigelow became the first woman to ever take home the top award at the DGAs, which has been around for 62 years.
However, it should be pointed out that Cameron won Best Director at the 2010 Golden Globes.
As for the rest of the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards, which were announced by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and Oscar-nominated actress Anne Hathaway, there were no major surprises.
Nominations for best actor in a film went to Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, George Clooney for Up in the Air, Colin Firth in A Single Man, Morgan Freeman for Invictus and Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker.
Best actress nominees were Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, Helen Mirren in The Last Station, Carey Mulligan for An Education, Gabourey Sidibe in Precious and Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia.
There were no real major additions to what critics predicted. Perhaps the most exciting announcement was Pixar's Up being included in both the Best Picture and Best Animated Film categories. There's no doubt the fantastic film deserves them, and perhaps the Academy is beginning to become more accepting of animations being recognised more as feature films in their own right.
Apart from Up, Avatar and The Hurt Locker, the remaining titles that make up the rest of the Best Picture nominees are The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, Inglourious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, A Serious Man, and Up in the Air.
It will be interesting to see who finally walks away with the prestigious golden statues. There are favourites, such as Sandra Bullock, for example, who has already picked up three major acting awards since the start of the year – a Golden Globe, Critics' Choice and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award. However, that doesn't mean the actress is guaranteed the Oscar, if past ceremonies are anything to go by. Previous actors who had the same momentum going into the Academy Awards: Julie Christie, Renee Zellweger and Russell Crowe, who all won SAG and Globe awards, lost out on the Oscar in the end.
The Oscars will air live on Monday, March 8, at 6am UAE time.
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