Oscar Nominations Honor Kathryn Bigelow, Mo'Nique, Bullock, Sidibe And StreepS

The Oscar nominations, announced this morning, are only going to fuel the James Cameron-Kathryn Bigelow rivalry meme beyond the directing and best picture categories: Avatar and The Hurt Locker tied with nine nominations. Sorry, The Hangover.

The nominations essentially aligned with expectations set by previous awards and buzz: younger actresses Gabourey Sidibe (Precious) and Carey Mulligan (An Education) were both nominated for best actress but will probably be overshadowed by the Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia)-Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) faceoff. (Helen Mirren was also nominated, but is a considered less likely win).

The Blind Side also made it into the newly enlarged Best Picture category, as did The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Up In The Air, Precious, A Serious Man, District 9, Up, and An Education.

The Hurt Locker is clearly shaping up to be the underdog favorite, and its nominations in nearly all the major categories also included an acting nod for Jeremy Renner. Kathryn Bigelow is the fourth woman to be nominated for Best Director, and would be the first woman to win.

"I love when people do something that no one else agrees with and they do it in their own way and they ruffle feathers and they do it out of love and in the end they persevere," Bullock said of Bigelow on Today.

The Inglourious Basterds scored eight nominations, including for favored supporting actor Christoph Waltz, and Precious six, including for Lee Daniels' direction, Sidibe, and, of course, Mo'Nique's performance.

"I am sharing this moment with Hattie McDaniel," Mo'Nique told Today.

Up In The Air also got six nominations, including its supporting actresses, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, competing in the same category.

Jane Campion's Bright Star continued to be ignored by the major awards, but did get a costume design nomination.

Nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards [Oscars.org]