To the nines
Sci-fi sensation Avatar and war-on-terror thriller The Hurt Locker lead Oscars with nine nominations each.
Air; the 1960s drama A Serious Man, and the teen tales An Education and Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire.
Acting nominees include the four stars who have dominated early awards shows: lead players Sandra Bullock for the football drama The Blind Side and Jeff Bridges for the country-music tale Crazy Heart and supporting performers Mo’Nique for Precious and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds.
The best-picture and director categories shape up as a showdown between ex-spouses who directed films that have dominated earlier Hollywood honours.
Cameron’s Avatar won best drama and director at the Golden Globes, while Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker beat out Cameron at the Directors Guild of America Awards, whose recipient usually goes on to earn the best-director Oscar.
No woman has ever won the directing Oscar, and until Bigelow, no woman had ever won the Directors Guild honour.
Montreal-born director Jason Reitman is also nominated for best director for Up in the Air.