Nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and "Hugo" dominated the proceedings with a whopping 11 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director for Martin Scorsese.
"Hugo" was joined at the top by "The Artist," which score ten nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Michael Hazanavicius and Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress for stars Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo.
"The Descendants" had a good morning as well, with five nods including Best Picture, Best Director for Alexander Payne and Best Actor for George Clooney.
This year's Best Picture race includes "War Horse," "Moneyball," "Tree of Life," "Midnight in Paris," "The Help" and "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." Even with a possible ten nominees in the Best Picture category, several movies with strong support from fans and critics were left off the list: "Bridesmaids," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" failed to land nods.
With nine Best Picture nominees and only five slots for Best Director, it was inevitable that somebody would be left out; Michel Hazanavicius, Alexander Payne and Martin Scorsese earned nominations for their Best Picture-nominated films, with Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris") and Terrence Malick ("Tree of Life") rounding out the field. Possible nominees Steven Spielberg and David Fincher, however, came up empty.
Things were less complicated in the acting categories, particularly Best Actress, where the power trio of Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady"), Glenn Close ("Albert Nobbs") and Viola Davis ("The Help") all earned nominations, as did presumptive Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress frontrunners Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") and Octavia Spencer ("The Help"). And the year of Jessica Chastain continued, as the emerging star, who appeared in six films in 2011, earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for "The Help."
There were some pleasant surprises in the acting categories, however, as fan favorite and critical darling Melissa McCarthy received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for "Bridesmaids," with fellow comedian Jonah Hill also receiving an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in "Moneyball." And relative unknown Demian Bichir landed a Best Actor nomination for his role in the indie drama "A Better Life."
Brad Pitt ("Moneyball") and Gary Oldman ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") rounded out the Best Actor field, with Leonardo DiCaprio ("J. Edgar") ending up the odd man out, while Michelle Williams ("My Week with Mairlyn") and Rooney Mara ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") took the last two Best Actress slots.
In a bit of a stunner, Pixar failed to earn a Best Animated Feature Film nomination for "Cars 2," which was passed over in favor of crowd pleasing kiddie fare like "Puss in Boots" and "Kung Fu Panda 2" as well as Johnny Depp's "Rango" and foreign entries "A Cat in Paris" and "Chico & Rita."
The full list of nominees was announced by "The Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence and Academy President Tom Sherak. The Academy Awards will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, February 26 at 8 p.m.