The Blind Side
The Hurt Locker
Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire
A Serious Man
Up in the Air
The extended list seems to have benefited fringier entertainments, of which we may say the Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man is the fringiest. It may be that Up, only the second cartoon feature ever nominated for Best Picture, would have been confined to the Best Animated Feature category in a five-horse race.
Best Director nominees, of which there are still only five, include recent DGA winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Lee Daniels (Precious), and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air). The Academy rarely bucks the DGA here, and no one is looking forward to another king-of-the-world speech by Cameron, but his movie has made $77 trillion dollars and as far as they’re concerned, maybe he is the king.
Best Actor nominees are Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). Bridges has won several critics awards and is considered the favorite.
Best Actress nominees are Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia). Bullock is favored in a neglected-star-goes-sentimental way.
Best Supporting Actor: Matt Damon (Invictus), Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Christopher Plummer (The Last Station), Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds). Waltz has won everything, too, but voters may enjoy giving old pro Plummer an award (plus he plays Tolstoy!).
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz (Nine), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo’Nique (Precious). Mo’Nique has been scooping them up; we’re just sorry we won’t get to see Mariah Carey’s acceptance speech.
Full list here. “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart (written by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett) is probably the favorite for Best Song, now that “Dove of Peace” from Bruno and “The Word is Love” from Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! have been winnowed out of the pre-nominees.