‘Hugo,’ ‘The Artist,’ Clooney Lead Oscar Nominees
Buzzed about silent black-and-white film "The Artist" and Hawaii-set dramedy "The Descendants," starring George Clooney, both snagged multiple Oscar nominations on Tuesday, but it was Martin Scorsese's kids adventure "Hugo" that led the pack with 11 nominations. All three movies landed best picture nods.
"The Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence, herself nominated for a best actress Oscar last year, helped announce the top nominees for this year's 84th annual Academy Awards.
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A non-traditional movie about the transition from silent film to talkies in 1920s Hollywood, "The Artist" also landed a best actor nomination for its French lead Jean Dujardin and a best director nod for Michel Hazanavicius. Clooney, disheveled as a vulnerable dad in "The Descendants," claimed a best actor nomination as well, with filmmaker Alexander Payne following suit for best director. Both films revved up the Oscar race with best film and fest actor Golden Globes in drama and musical/comedy categories.
Other Oscar competition for best picture includes Woody Allen's literary comedy "Midnight in Paris," civil rights era '60s maid ensemble "The Help," Steven Spielberg's World War I fable "War Horse," Terrence Malick's experimental "Tree of Life," baseball tome "Moneyball" and post Sept. 11 drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."
Dujardin and Clooney face off in the best actor category against Brad Pitt in "Moneyball," Gary Oldman as an espionage vet in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and Demian Bichir as an East Los Angeles father in "A Better Life." Suave up-and-comer Ryan Gosling was left out for his roles in "Drive" and "The Ides of March," as was Leonardi DiCaprio for his title role in "J. Edgar."
The best actress category comes down to a head-to-head between frontrunners Meryl Streep and Michelle Williams, both nominees.
Streep's tight-lipped, nuanced take on Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" goes up against normally demure Michelle Williams channeling the sexy swagger of Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn." Both women snagged Golden Globe awards for their roles.
Other best actress nominees include Glenn Close as a gender-bending butler in "Albert Nobbs," Viola Davis as a mistreated maid in "The Help" and Rooney Mara as popular rebel Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."