“AVATAR” AND “THE HURT LOCKER” LEAD ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS WITH 9 EACH

The 2009 Academy Award nominations were announced this morning in Hollywood by Academy President Tom Sherak and 2008 Oscar-nominated actress Anne Hathaway.

The mega hit Avatar received nine nominations, matching that of The Hurt Locker. Perhaps for the first time in the Oscar’s history, ex husband and wife James Cameron and Catherine Bigelow are going head to head in the best director competition.

The Cohen Brothers disturbing sixties family drama, A Serious Man received a best a-serious-manpicture nomination despite performing somewhat poorly at the box office. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the nominations of fan favorite, The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock who was also nominated as Best Actress. Invictus was snubbed for best picture and best director but received recognition for it’s two star, Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, who each got acting nominations.

The unwatchable musical Nine was saved from complete humiliation with the nomination of Penélope Cruz as Best Supporting Actress.

Missing from the list all together is the movie The Hangover that many said would be the first raunchy comedy to get a nod. Seems the Academy’s aging voters didn’t see it that way. Also absent from the best film list is the beautifully shot and well acted film, A Single Man, that saw it’s star Colin Firth receive recognition as a Best Actor nominee.

500 Days of Summer was also 500_days_of_summerignored, with the somewhat over-rated Up in the Air carrying the ball in the romantic dramedy catagory.

Another surprise was the nomination of the little seen The Messenger as Best Film and and  it’s star, Woody Harrelson nominated as Best Supporting Actor. Most will agree that Christoph Waltz has a lock in that catagory for his brilliant turn as a a memorable Nazi villain in Quentin Tarantino’s compelling war thriller,inglourious_basterds_xl_03-film-a Inglourious Basterds. Waltz, an veteran Austrian actor hardly known outside Europe until last year, won the Golden Globes and SAG best actor awards last month.

The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at Kodak Theatre in Hollywood Los Angeles.

Complete List of Oscar Nominations 2010:

Best Picture

“Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

“The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined

“District 9″ Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers

“An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers

“The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined

“Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers

“A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers

“Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer

“Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Directing

“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

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

“Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith

“Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim

“Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

“The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography

“Avatar” Mauro Fiore

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel

“The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd

“Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson

“The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design

“Bright Star” Janet Patterson

“Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier

“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme

“Nine” Colleen Atwood

“The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Documentary (Feature)

“Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller

“The Cove” Nominees to be determined

“Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

“The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith

“Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)

“China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill

“The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher

“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

“Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett

“Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing

“Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron

“District 9″ Julian Clarke

“The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis

“Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke

“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film

“Ajami” Israel

“El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina

“The Milk of Sorrow” Peru

“Un Prophète” France

“The White Ribbon” Germany

Makeup

“Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

“Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow

“The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

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” Fabrice O. Joubert

“Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell

“The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia

“Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin

“A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)

“The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn

“Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström

“Kavi” Gregg Helvey

“Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey

“The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson

“Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman

“Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin

“Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing

“Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson

“The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett

“Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano

“Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects

“Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

“District 9″ Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken

“Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

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

Enough about “Nine”

The film “Nine” has bombed at the box office. With a budget of $80 million, plus about $30 million in marketing, the musical has brought in just under $6 million dollars since its release on December 18th.

Despite the fact that penelope_cruz-1Americans are staying away from this dud, the morning chat shows continue to plug the film. Only this morning, NBC’s Today Show had Penelope Cruz talking about her role in “Nine.”

What kind of pact do these talk shows make with film distributors? Why do they keep promoting films that clearly hold little interest for the film-going public? How much do talk shows get paid to plug films? Are the raves and gushy interviews supposed to instill confidence in the network’s journalistic integrity?

“Nine” has confirmed that the star system as we know it is all but over. All that talent in “Nine” couldn’t bring audiences into theaters, while films like “The Hangover” with no stars earn a total of $459,422,869 to date worldwide.

It’s time stop trying to get blood from a stone. “Nine” is no more that a three and a half.  Lets move on and clear the airwaves. There are plenty of worthy films and actors to talk about.