The Oscar nominations were announced early Tuesday morning at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills by last year’s Best Supporting Actress-winner Mo’Nique (for Precious) along with Academy President Tom Sherak. The King’s Speech, the inspirational bio-pic about King George VI’s struggle to cure his stutter, has emerged as the early favorite in the annual awards sweepstakes, landing nominations in a dozen categories, including Best Picture, Actor (Colin Firth), Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Director (Tom Hooper) and Original Screenplay (David Seidler).

This development should come as no surprise to anyone who recalls how fond the Anglophilic Academy has been of British costume dramas over the years, especially productions revolving around the Royal Family. For example, in 2007 Helen Mirren won for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, while Dame Judi Dench won in 1999 for playing Queen Elizabeth I. Judging by such a persistent exhibition of deference, one might think that America had never declared its independence from England.

In any case, The Coen Brothers’ True Grit (10) garnered the second most Oscar nominations, followed by The Social Network (8) and Inception (8), and The Fighter (7). As for surprises, Javier Bardem (Biutiful) ostensibly bumped out Ryan Gosling and Robert Duvall in the Best Actor category, a pair who had benefitted from buzz for their work in Blue Valentine and Get Low, respectively. Also snubbed was Paul Giamatti who just won a Golden Globe for Barney’s Version.

As for Best Actress, Halle Berry had been rumored to be in line for a nod for Frankie and Alice, and that conspicuous omission prompted Mo’Nique to remark right after coming offstage that she was, “truly disappointed” because she had “really wanted to say Halle Berry’s name.” She went on to say she had been blown away by Berry, before saluting her for, “a great performance, sister.”

Julianne Moore was ignored in the Supporting Actress category although her co-stars Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo were recognized for The Kids Are All Right. And Christopher Nolan (Inception) was overlooked for Best Director, despite the fact that the movie was nominated for Best Picture.

Finally, the much-ballyhooed Waiting for Superman was left out of the Best Documentary category, perhaps because of a backlash against the public school education expose’s fervent anti-union stance. The 83rd Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Sunday, February 27th at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and will be co-hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway.


Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”
James Franco in “127 Hours”
Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

Actress in a Leading Role

Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”
Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Animated Feature Film

“How to Train Your Dragon” Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
“The Illusionist” Sylvain Chomet
“Toy Story 3” Lee Unkrich

Art Direction

“Alice in Wonderland” ?Production Design: Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” ?Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
“Inception” ?Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Larry Dias and Doug Mowat
“The King’s Speech” ?Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Judy Farr
“True Grit” ?Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh


“Black Swan” Matthew Libatique
“Inception” Wally Pfister
“The King’s Speech” Danny Cohen
“The Social Network” Jeff Cronenweth
“True Grit” Roger Deakins

Costume Design

“Alice in Wonderland” Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love” Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King’s Speech” Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest” Sandy Powell
“True Grit” Mary Zophres


“Black Swan” Darren Aronofsky
“The Fighter” David O. Russell
“The King’s Speech” Tom Hooper
“The Social Network” David Fincher
“True Grit” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Documentary (Feature)

“Exit through the Gift Shop” Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
“Gasland” Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
“Inside Job” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
“Restrepo” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
“Waste Land” Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Documentary (Short Subject)

“Killing in the Name” Nominees to be determined
“Poster Girl” Nominees to be determined
“Strangers No More” Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up” Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang” Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

Film Editing

“Black Swan” Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter” Pamela Martin
“The King’s Speech” Tariq Anwar
“127 Hours” Jon Harris
“The Social Network” Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Foreign Language Film

“Biutiful” Mexico
“Dogtooth” Greece
“In a Better World” Denmark
“Incendies” Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)” Algeria


“Barney’s Version” Adrien Morot
“The Way Back” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman” Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)

“How to Train Your Dragon” John Powell
“Inception” Hans Zimmer
“The King’s Speech” Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours” A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network” Trent Reznor a

Kam Williams

Special to the AFRO