Ex-couple face off in race for Hollywood film Oscars

Ex-couple James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow have dominated the Oscar nominations with their respective movies Avatar and The Hurt Locker.Two Wellington-based productions from Weta are among the 10 nominations for best picture, the first time the number for Oscar contention have been increased from the usual five.Avatar is up against Sir Peter Jackson's production District 9, both of which used Weta's New Zealand-made special effects.

Ex-couple James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow have dominated the Oscar nominations with their respective movies Avatar and The Hurt Locker.

Two Wellington-based productions from Weta are among the 10 nominations for best picture, the first time the number for Oscar contention have been increased from the usual five.

Avatar is up against Sir Peter Jackson’s production District 9, both of which used Weta’s New Zealand-made special effects.

Box office sensation Avatar, which has become the biggest grossing film (in unadjusted dollars) of all time, has nine nominations, including best director for Cameron.

Bigelow, Cameron’s former wife, also has nine nominations, including best picture and best director, for her Iraq war thriller, which has yet to be released in New Zealand.

(The two, who are in their 50s, were divorced in 1991 after beingmarried for a couple of years. Cameron, 55, has since remariied – twice.)

The seven other best film nominations are animated comedy Up, the World War II saga Inglourious Basterds, the American football drama The Blind Side (unreleased here), the recession tale Up in the Air, the 1960s drama A Serious Man, and the teen tales An Education and Precious, which is about to open in New Zealand.

The best actress nominees are Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side, Helen Mirren in The Last Station, Carey Mulligan in An Education, Gabourey Sidibe in Precious and Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia.

This is Streep’s 16th acting nomination and her 13th for lead actress, breaking the previous record of 12 held by Katharine Hepburn.

The best actor nominees are Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, George Clooney in Up in the Air, Colin Firth in A Single Man, Morgan Freeman in Invictus and Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker.

The other best director nominees are Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Lee Daniels (Precious) and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air).

The best foreign language nominees are Ajami (Israel), El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina), The Milk of Sorrow (Peru), Un Prophète (France) and The White Ribbon (Germany).

The Academy Award ceremony will be held in Hollywood on March 7 (March 8, NZ time).