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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 2, 2010 at 7:10 AM

“Avatar,” “The Hurt Locker” lead Oscars

Well, good morning, fellow Oscar watchers. Kind of dark out, isn’t it? So, to no one’s particular surprise, audience favorite “Avatar” and critics’ darling “The Hurt Locker” led the Academy Award nominations this morning, with nine nominations each. But here’s what’s making me think “The Hurt Locker” has an edge: No screenplay nomination for “Avatar,” and to find a best picture winner without a screenplay nod, you have to go all the way back to . . . . James Cameron’s “Titanic.” Hmm. I may have to rethink this theory. (Before that: 1965’s “The Sound of Music.” That’s today’s Oscar trivia, folks. Tip your waiter. Sorry, it’ s early.)
Anyway, there were remarkably few shockers in the acting nominations, though I was pleasantly surprised to see Maggie Gyllenhaal’s lovely, low-key performance in “Crazy Heart” recognized in the supporting actress category (though I would have swapped Penelope Cruz — whose performance in “Nine” is fine but nothing unexpected — for Julianne Moore’s haunting turn in “A Single Man”). Among the first-timers were a few big names — Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side,” Colin Firth for “A Single Man” (can you believe he’s never been nominated before?), Christopher Plummer (ditto) — and some new faces: Jeremy Renner, Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick. And, of course, all the usual suspects: Meryl Streep (16th nomination; a record), Morgan Freeman (5th), George Clooney (3rd, for acting), Helen Mirren (4th), Jeff Bridges (5th).
Elsewhere: I’m astonished, as is anyone else who saw the movie, that “Cheri” didn’t get a costume nomination, and disappointed that “Bright Star” and “(500) Days of Summer” didn’t at least get a screenplay nod. And, finally, my own personal Oscar statistic: Number of Oscar nominees that I personally have shaken hands with: Six.
More later. What surprised you most in the nominations this morning?

Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker,” which received nine nominations this morning. (Photo courtesy Summit Entertainment)

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