By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were revealed this morning, with nine films making it into the fluid Best Picture race.
Jennifer Lawrence and Academy President Tom Sherak revealed that “The Artist,” “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Midnight In Paris,” “Moneyball,” “The Tree of Life” and “War Horse” will compete for Oscar’s top prize when Billy Crystal hosts this year’s ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
In honor of the nine Best Picture nominees, here are the nine biggest surprises from this morning’s nominees:
1. “Hugo” earned more nominations than “The Artist”
That doesn’t mean Michel Hazanavicius’ film isn’t the frontrunner, as it earned nominations in the top categories including Picture, Director, Actor (Jean Dujardin) and Supporting Actress (Berenice Bejo, who had to hear her name butchered by Sherak). But Marty Scorsese’s film topped all contenders with 11 nominations, and that means something.
2. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” represents
A late entry into the Oscar race, Stephen Daldry’s heartwrenching drama about a special needs boy (Thomas Horn) overcoming the loss of his father in the 9/11 terrorist attacks connected with enough Academy members to earn a Best Picture nomination, as well as a nod for the mighty Max Von Sydow. It also triggered the largest number of cry-baby Tweets from detractors, which are always fun to read.
3. Stephen Daldry’s Director streak is snapped
With nine Best Picture nominees and only five Best Director slots, some filmmakers had to be left out. Steven Spielberg (“War Horse”), Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”), Tate Taylor (“The Help”) and Daldry all saw their films earn Picture nods, but they missed the Director cut. For Daldry, it is the first time he has released a movie and has not been nominated.
4. Nick Nolte makes the cut!
Thankfully enough voters saw Gavin O’Connor’s grossly underrated “Warrior” to recognize Nolte’s tremendous performance.
5. Gary Oldman makes the cut!
Earning his first (FIRST!!) Oscar nomination. That, alone, is shocking. At least the Academy’s starting to wake up to this “newcomer.” (Side note: Thrilled that Demián Bichir scored a nom for “A Better Life.”)
6. Melissa McCarthy made the cut, as well!
So the “Bridesmaids” train didn’t carry the mega-comedy all the way to Best Picture, but it did churn up nominations for this year’s “It” girl, McCarthy, and a Screenplay nod for Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig.
7. Albert [...]