HOLLYWOOD, CA (RNN) - Martin Scorsese's 3-D flick Hugo led the pack as nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday.
The film, which chronicles a young orphan who lives in a train station in Paris in the 1930s, is itself a tribute to the craft of cinema. Scorsese received a nomination for best director.
In spite of Hugo's 11 nominations, however, The Artist remains the frontrunner to walk away with a best picture Oscar because the splashy Scorsese picture lacks support from the Screen Actors Guild, whose members make up the bulk of the Academy's voting bloc.
Hugo did not earn a nomination for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture at the 14th annual SAG Awards. And, as Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger has pointed out, there has not been a film in the last 15 years that has gone on to win a golden statuette without first earning this nomination.
Black-and-white picture The Artist, which chronicles a silent film actor's fall from grace as sound is added to motion pictures, itself scored a hefty 10 nominations.
Much like the films going head-to-head for Oscar gold, the nominations ceremony itself was full of drama.
In the best actor category, Demian Bichir and Gary Oldman rode support from SAG and British Academy of Film and Television Arts nominations to hear their names called out by Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and actress Jennifer Lawrence. The pair edged out assumed nominee Leonardo DiCaprio for his portrayal of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Meryl Streep extended her lead as the most-nominated actor in academy history. The actress earned her 17th Oscar nomination Tuesday for her tour de force turn as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Audible gasps were heard on screen as Melissa McCarthy secured a nomination for best supporting actress. The breakout star of Bridesmaids will compete with personal friend Octavia Spencer, who was nominated for The Help, the empowering tale of a writer who documents the racism a group of maids face in 1960's Jackson MS.
And in the best supporting actor field, Max Von Sydow squeezed into the field for his performance as a mute man in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The film, which has largely been ignored in the crowded field of pre-season awards was given a nod of approval by the academy, also scoring a best picture nomination.
In total, nine films were nominated for best picture. Pundits has predicted a smaller number of nominees due to a complicated scoring system in which films must receive 5 percent of nominators' No. 1 votes in order to make the list.
The following is a list of nominees in major categories:
Best Picture The Artist The Descendents The Help Hugo Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Midnight in Paris Moneyball The Tree of Life War Horse
Best Director Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist Alexander Payne, The Descendants Martin Scorsese, Hugo Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Best Actor Demian Bichir, A Better Life George Clooney, The Descendants Jean Dujardin, The Artist Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Best Actress Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs Viola Davis, The Help Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Best supporting actor Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn Jonah Hill, Moneyball Nick Nolte, Warrior Christopher Plummer, Beginners Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Best supporting actress Berenice Bejo, The Artist Jessica Chastain, The Help Melissa McArthy, Bridesmaids Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs Octavia Spencer, The Help