There were very few surprises with the 2010 Oscar nominations (there rarely are this late in awards season) which were announced in the wee hours of this morning, Australia Day significantly enough. As expected, Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech) and Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) were nominated in the Supporting Actor and Lead Actress categories respectively, while the pleasant surprise was Jacki Weaver's inclusion in the Supporting Actress field, for her role in Animal Kingdom.
She'll face tough competition though, most notably from The Fighter women, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, as well as Hailee Steinfeld who, while the lead in True Grit, finds herself in Supporting and a likely winner.
Much the same can be said of her film, the Coens' True Grit which, with 10 nominations (including Best Picture and Director), is second only to The King's Speech (also up for Picture and Director) with 12. The critical favourite, The Social Network, scored 8 nominations but history shows that often the film with the most nods wins BP. We have a race on our hands, people!
Still, it's unlikely TSN's David Fincher will lose the Director Oscar whatever happens. Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter) round out that field with Hooper and the Coens; the notable omission: Christopher Nolan for Inception. That film also scored 8 noms, including Best Picture but once again (following The Dark Knight snub of 2008), the Academy has shown no love for Nolan.
The surprises in the acting categories were few but mostly pleasant. Weaver, as already stated; John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) and Jeremy Renner (The Town), both for Supporting Actor, the latter no doubt a result of residual good will for last year's The Hurt Locker. Sadly, Sam Rockwell (Conviction) and Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) missed out. But Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right) made it, as did the likely winner Christian Bale (The Fighter).
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) was the recipient of that highly sought after fifth spot in the Lead Actress race; SAG nominee Hilary Swank (Conviction) didn't make it, nor, sadly, did Lesley Manville who gave one of the best performances of 2010 in Mike Leigh's Another Year. Along with Williams and Kidman are Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), and the two favourites, Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) and Natalie Portman (Black Swan).
In the Best Actor field, veteran Robert Duvall (Get Low) missed out, as did Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine). But Jeff Bridges (True Grit) made it in for the second year running, while Javier Bardem was the big surprise, scoring a nod for the Spanish-language film, Biutiful. Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and James Franco (127 Hours) were also nominated but the overwhelming favourite to take out the Best Actor Oscar remains Colin Firth (The King's Speech).