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Scorsese's 'Hugo' leads Oscars with 11 nominations

By David Germain

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 24 2012 9:22 a.m. MST

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Martin Scorsese's Paris adventure "Hugo" leads the Academy Awards with 11 nominations, among them best picture and the latest director honor for the Oscar-winning filmmaker.

Also nominated for best picture Tuesday: the silent film "The Artist"; the family drama "The Descendants"; the Sept. 11 tale "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"; the Deep South drama "The Help"; the romantic fantasy "Midnight in Paris"; the sports tale "Moneyball"; the family chronicle "The Tree of Life"; and the World War I epic "War Horse."

The nominations set up a best-picture showdown between the top films at the Golden Globes: best musical or comedy recipient "The Artist" and best drama winner "The Descendants."

"The Artist" ran second with 10 nominations, among them writing and directing nominations for French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, a best-actor honor for Jean Dujardin and a supporting-actress nod for Berenice Bejo.

"I can't believe that a year ago I was learning how to tap dance and today I am nominated for an Academy Award," said Bejo, who is the romantic partner of Hazanavicius and in "The Artist" plays a rising big-screen star of the sound era.

The film could become the first silent movie to win best picture since year one at the Oscars, when "Wings" took top honors for 1927-28.

Because of a rule change requiring films to receive a certain number of first-place votes, the best-picture field has only nine nominees rather than the 10 that were in the running the last two years.

Scorsese, who won the directing prize at the Globes for "Hugo," picked up his seventh Oscar nomination in the category. After decades of being overlooked for Hollywood's top filmmaking award, Scorsese finally won the directing Oscar for 2006's "The Departed," which also was named best picture.

Among the nominations for "Hugo" are adapted screenplay, cinematography, musical score and visual effects.

Dujardin, the Globe winner for best actor in a musical or comedy as a silent-era star whose career goes kaput with the arrival of talking pictures, will be up against Globe dramatic actor recipient George Clooney for "The Descendants," in which the Oscar-winning superstar plays a dad trying to hold his Hawaiian family together after a boating accident puts his wife in a coma.

Other best-actor contenders are: Demian Bichir as an immigrant father in "A Better Life"; Gary Oldman as British spymaster George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"; and Brad Pitt as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball."

Pitt was preparing breakfast for his and Oscar winner Angelina Jolie's six children when he learned of his latest nomination, his third. He decided to make pancakes — and anything else the kids were craving.

"Whatever they want," Pitt said. "I don't care how sugared up they get for school."

Globe winners Meryl Streep (best dramatic actress as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady") and Michelle Williams (best musical or comedy actress as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn") scored Oscar nominations for best actress.

Two-time Oscar winner Streep padded her record as the most-nominated actress, raising her total to 17 nominations, five more than Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson, who are tied for second-place.

Streep went two-for-four on her first nominations, winning supporting actress for 1979's "Kramer vs. Kramer" and best actress for 1982's "Sophie's Choice." But she has lost her last 12 times, and the Globe win for her spot-on personification of Thatcher looks like her best chance yet to break that losing streak.

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