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Mirren, Firth, Mulligan up for 2010 Oscars

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 02 February 2010

Colin Firth, Carey Mulligan and Helen Mirren will fly the flag for Britain at the Oscars - but the big battle is between James Cameron's Avatar and the war film The Hurt Locker.

The Academy Awards Oscar statue - could Helen Mirren, Colin Firth and Carey Mulligan win this year? (Credit: Getty)

Science-fiction adventure Avatar, which is also the Bafta frontrunner, and war movie The Hurt Locker earned nine Oscar nominations each, including best movie, to lead the field in the competition for the world's highest film honours.

The battle is made even more interesting when you consider the two directors going head-to-head, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow, used to be married.

Other films among the 10 nominees for best motion picture are Up in the Air, The Blind Side, and District 9, Up, A Serious Man, Inglourious Basterds and An Education.

Precious, which is based on the novel Push by Sapphire, completes the field.

Set in 1980s Harlem, the film charts the life of an overweight 16-year-old African-American girl. She is offered the chance of a new life at an alternative school, away from her abusive family.

Speaking to Stephanie West, director Lee Daniels said he is still trying not to "get sucked into the vortex" of awards season.

He said: "I'm so honoured to just be at the party.

"I was thinking, in a month, it's all over - so I have to really savour this time... I'm feeling good."

He added: "How can I compete with Avatar? Avatar is like 400 gazillion dollars! We are what we are.

"I think there are different types of cinema. All of us bring a different voice to the table."

For the first time since 1944 there will be 10 films competing for this year's best picture Oscar - double the usual five. And the British movie An Education has made it into the expanded category.

Previous winner Dame Helen gets a go at a second gong for her performance as writer Leo Tolstoy's wife in The Last Station.

Colin Firth is up for his first Oscar for his role as a gay academic mourning the death of his partner in fashion designer Tom Ford's debut feature film A Single Man.

Newcomer Carey Mulligan, 24, is up for best actress for her role in An Education, based on the memoirs of journalist Lynn Barber.

Nominations for best actor went to Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, George Clooney for Up in the Air, Colin Firth in A Single Man Morgan Freeman for Invictus and Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker.

Best actress nominees were Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side, Helen Mirren in The Last Station, Carey Mulligan for An Education, Gabourey Sidibe in Precious and Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia.

For a full list of the nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards click here: Oscar nominations 2010.

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