Oscar Showdowns, Snubs & Surprises

There were few surprises Tuesday morning when the 82nd Annual Academy Award nominations were announced, as James Cameron’s “Avatar” continued its awards season dominance with nine nods. But Cameron’s ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, also had a lot to celebrate with her powerful Iraq drama, “The Hurt Locker,” also scoring nine nominations.

The Oscar night showdown is expected to be between these ex-spouses, who have both been honored for their work this awards season. Cameron’s “Avatar” nabbed best drama and director at the Golden Globes (not to mention $2 billion and counting at the worldwide box office) and Bigelow beat out Cameron at the Directors Guild of America Awards and took home the top prize at Producers Guild of America Awards.

A woman has yet to win top directing honors at the Oscars and Bigelow was the first woman to take home the top prize at the DGA Awards – which is usually a strong indicator of who will take home the Oscar for directing.

Only six times since the DGA awards began in 1948 has the Best Director winner not gone on to claim Oscar glory.

Meanwhile, Lee Daniels, who directed “Precious,” is only the second African-American director to receive an Oscar nomination, after John Singleton was the first in 1992 for “Boyz N the Hood.”

Also, Oscar fave Clint Eastwood did not earn a nomination in the directing category for “Invictus,” which earned acting nominations for its stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.

The only major acting surprise nomination was Maggie Gyllenhaal, who earned a nod for “Crazy Heart.” It’s her first nomination this awards season.

The expanded Best Picture category – which includes 10 nominations this year – helped Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side” grab a nomination in Oscar’s biggest category.

“Crazy Heart,” which earned acting nods for Gyllenhaal and Jeff Bridges, also didn’t receive a nomination for Best Picture.

Many sci-fi and comedy fans had hoped the expanded list would include J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” or the wildly successful and raunchy “The Hangover,” but both movies were left out.

The crew of the Enterprise might not be competing for top Oscar honors, but the South African alien epic, “District 9,” directed by Neill Blomkamp, was a nice Best Picture nomination surprise Tuesday morning.

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will host the 82nd Annual Academy Awards on March 7 on ABC.

To see the entire list of Oscar nominees, CLICK HERE!

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