Oscar Nominations Led By ‘Avatar,’ ‘Hurt Locker’

The two Oscar faves have nine nominations apiece, followed by 'Inglourious Basterds' and 'Precious.'

Days after winning its seventh-straight weekend at the box office , “Avatar” nabbed nine nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, tying “The Hurt Locker” for most Oscar nods in 2010. “Inglourious Basterds” garnered eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, while “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” and “Up in the Air” collected six and “Up” secured five.

For the first time since 1943, when “Casablanca” triumphed, the Oscars have selected 10 nominees in the Best Picture category , rather than the usual five. Despite the increased number, there were few surprises. Joining Cameron’s big blue-alien epic are “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Up in the Air,” “Precious, “District 9,” “An Education,” “A Serious Man,” “Up” and “The Blind Side.”

In the Best Actor category, Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”), who won the Golden Globe for best lead dramatic actor, was nominated, as were George Clooney (“Up in the Air”), Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”) and Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”).

Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia”) and Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”), who both won Golden Globes in January, anchor the Best Actress category, joined by Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”), Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) and Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”).

Following her recent Directors Guild win, Kathryn Bigelow was tapped in the Best Director category, alongside ex-husband Cameron (“Avatar”), Jason Reitman (“Up in the Air”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”).

Ever since his best actor win at the Cannes Film Festival, “Inglourious Basterds” star Christoph Waltz has been the favorite to take home Best Supporting Actor. After winning a Globe, he leads the Oscar field that also includes Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Woody Harrelson (“The Messenger”), Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”) and Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”).

For the Best Supporting Actress category, favorite Mo’Nique (“Precious”) will compete against Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”), Maggie Gyllenhaal (“Crazy Heart”), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) and Penélope Cruz (“Nine”).

Best Original Screenplay nods went to Mark Boal (“The Hurt Locker”), Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds”), Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman (“The Messenger”), Joel and Ethan Cohen (“A Serious Man”), and Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (“Up”). Best Adapted Screenplay recognition went to Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (“District 9″); Nick Hornby (“An Education”); Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche (“In the Loop”); Geoffrey Fletcher (“Precious”); and Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner (“Up in the Air”).

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