The 82nd Academy Awards will see a battle of the exes with James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster 'Avatar' and his former-wife Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq war drama 'Hurt Locker' fighting it out for top honours after receiving nine nominations each. The red carpet had been rolled out as organizers make last minute checks for the Hollywood extravaganza, which gets under way at 5 pm local time on March 7.
Both the films have been nominated in the 'Best Picture' category with Cameron and Bigelow being pitted against each other in the Best Director category.
While, Cameron's 3D sci-fi juggernaut, which has taken more than USD 2 billion at the box office, won the Best Film trophy at the Golden Globes, 'Hurt Locker' sweeped the BAFTAs and Directors Guild Awards. Despite being hit by controversies, industry paper The Hollywood Reporter on Friday predicted wins for Bigelow in both Best Picture and Director categories.
One of the producers of the film has been banned from attending the ceremony over illegal campaigning and the film is also facing a lawsuit from a serviceman alleging he was the inspiration for the movie.
If 'Hurt Locker' wins, it will be the lowest-grossing best picture winner in Oscars history with earnings of around USD 15 million. And if Bigelow is named Best Director she would be first female to win the award, foe which only four women have ever been nominated.
Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds' which won the Best Cast award at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards came is also in the fray with 7 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. The 'Best Film' category has been expanded this time with 10 nominees, instead of the usual five.
Also nominated for best-picture are sci-fi thriller 'District 9', the animated comedy 'Up'; the World War II saga 'Inglourious Basterds'; the American football drama 'The Blind Side'; the recession tale 'Up in The Air'; the 1960s drama 'A Serious Man'; the growing up drama 'An Education' and gritty Harlem tale 'Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire'.
The Best Director category has shaped up as a showdown between the ex-spouses Cameron and Bigelow but the 'Titanic' helmer has said that "it'll be cool" to loose to his former partner.
Other nominees in the category include Lee Daniels for 'Precious', Jason Reitman for 'Up in the Air' and Quentin Tarantino for 'Inglourious Basterds'.
The Best Actress category includes favourites Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) as well as debutante Gabourey Sidibe (Precious..) along with Helen Mirren for 'The Last Station' and Carey Mulligan for 'An Education'.
The nominees in the Best Actor category are Jeff Bridges for 'Crazy Heart', George Clooney for 'Up in the Air'; Colin Firth for a 'A Single Man'; Morgan Freeman for 'Invictus' and Jeremy Renner for 'The Hurt Locker'.
The Best Supporting Actor category include Matt Damon, for 'Invictus'; Woody Harrelson for 'The Messenger'; Christopher Plummer for 'The Last Station'; Stanley Tucci for 'The Lovely Bones' and Christoph Waltz for 'Inglourious Basterds'.
The nominees for Best Supporting Actress include last year's winner Penelope Cruz for 'Nine'; Vera Farmiga for 'Up in the Air'; Maggie Gyllenhaal for 'Crazy Heart'; Anna Kendrick for 'Up in the Air' and Mo'Nique for 'Precious...'.
The nominees were announced by actress Anne Hathaway in a ceremony in Beverly Hills. The ceremony will take place on March 7, hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. PTI